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Few days back my MKT460 ( Strategic Marketing) course instructor informed us that we have to do some debate on different marketing topics. He divided whole class into 6/7 groups. two person remained without group and my group had six members. Then what my faculty did was hard for me. He shifted me with another member form my group to those 2 people and formed a new group. As both group had an equal member of 4, he selected us as debate participants for first debate. He also selected the topic for us. And the topic was “Marketing creates all consumer needs and demands”. My new group was selected to talk for the topic. For the debate purpose I prepared my speech. And today we have done the debate.

While analyzing the topic, I found out that Along with providing solutions to or responding to the consumers’ need and demand, marketing often creates need and demand. I found some points and included those points in my speech. Though I had to skip  some points while presenting my speech due to time shortage. I think it will be a good idea to share what I found and what I think about “Can marketing create needs and demands?”

“According to the definition, Marketing does the job of satisfying consumers’ need. There is no confusion about it. But can marketing create needs and demands. Before answering this question first let’s see what need and want actually means. Needs are the basic human requirement for things that makes life easy and smooth and these needs become wants when they are directed to specific objects that might satisfy the need. When want is backed by purchasing power, it’s called demand.

Now come to the question “can marketing create need or it just satisfies consumers’ needs?” Yes, while providing solutions, marketing can create needs. Marketing creates needs with different marketing tools like advertisement and promotion. For example, there is a new chip in market which enables to do telepathic conversation. Now this technology has no need or demand at present. But if inventor does huge advertisement and in those advertisements he let people know about this chip and tells people that they can make do telepathic conversation with people anywhere in the world and at free of cost. This way people will feel that they need the technology and they should have it. Thus marketing created need.

Again marketing can create need without promotional or advertising activities. Let’s say you went to T-shirt store to T-shirt for your friend. While looking at the T-shirt you found a very stylish T-shirt. But instead of buying it for your friend, you bought it for yourself. Of let just say you bought another copy of the T-shirt for yourself. Look, at the beginning you didn’t had the need for a T-shirt but you ended up buying one. That’s because marketing created a need into you.

Marketers by their efforts influences opinion leaders’, increases peer pressure and group thinking. By showing examples of what others may have that they do not, marketing creates need. An individual’s freedom to choose is substantially weakened by constant and consistent exposure to a range of needs and wants of others. For example, all of your friends are planning to buy Nokia’s latest handset. When you hang-out with your friends and see them using latest model handset, you will feel for that handset. And like this, Marketing creates need.

By hiring surrogates buyers, Marketers also creates need. Those opinion leaders and surrogates buyers create a negative impression among people that they will face problem if they don’t use marketers’ product or service. For example, if your dentist says that your teeth are yellow and you need to make your teeth white. Pepsodent will remove those yellow plucks and give you white teeth. Therefore you should use only pepsodent.  Hearing your dentist, you feel that you need to make your teeth white and therefore start using pepsodent.

People can say that marketing only provides solution to new need and better solution to existing needs. But better solution for a need can create another new need. New need is just to have the better solution. How? Let’s say you have a MP3 to listen music. Apple brought I-pod which is a better solution to listen music. Now you want an I-pod to listen music to have better experience in listening music. This is the solution for existing need. But at the same time they have created a new need. And that is the need for better experience or better service. Therefore marketing created a need before satisfying the need.

So It’s clear that Marketing can create needs or demands. They do it along with responding to the needs of the consumers’.”

Does marketing creates need or responds to the need? it is the very old marketing argument. I think marketing does this both.  In order to survive  in the competition or keeping business alive, marketers has to follow both strategies. Marketing satisfies need when consumers’ know what they need. But when there is no need is present or consumers’ don’t have the idea about what they need, marketing creates need.

Redwan

First published on : June 20, 2010.

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