Marketing has often been defined in terms of satisfying customers’ needs and wants; however, marketing critics argue that marketing can be unethical by creating needs and wants that did not exist before. Marketing can encourage customers to spend money on goods and services they really do not need or want. Take a position on the following ethical dilemma: Do you think marketing merely reflects the needs and wants of consumers, or that marketing creates unnecessary customers’ needs and wants?
Marketing is “delivering genuine benefits in the offerings of goods, services, and ideas marketed to customers” (Kerin, Hartley, & Rudelius, 2011, p. 69). Inherent in true marketing is a fair exchange between buyer and seller that benefits both as well as society as a whole. The idea that marketing creates unnecessary needs and wants and is detrimental to society is completely opposite to its true nature.
Society must change the attitude that bad things happen because of other’s actions. Because a company advertises a product in such an effective manner that it creates a desire to own their product does not make the company bad. Members of the public that choose to purchase a product do so willingly and in a free market entirely without coercion. Those that blame marketers and companies for using effective advertising techniques are simply attempting to shift blame away from their own weakness.
Companies that advertise products that are harmful, such as cigarettes, are typically forced to include the dangers associated with their products. Statements warning of cancer and heart disease are included in marketing and packaging of tobacco and yet when people who use those products get sick they blame the tobacco companies for their deceptive advertising.
Marketing is good. Marketing is what drives the free economy. Marketing does not create wants or needs in consumers; it only seeks to channel them to the advertised products.
Kerin, R. A., Hartley, S. W., & Rudelius, W. (2011). Marketing(10th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.