Introduction To Marketing:
“With specific reference to a set of headline topics and concepts presented during the course, outline and discuss the pros and cons of some conventional theorising about marketing and consumer research, both with respect to practical applicability and ethics. Back up your argument carefully through argumentation and examples of your own making. Help ensure that your essay is interesting and significant by prefacing it with a substantive summary that encapsulates your critical contribution.”
Kotlerian view of what is marketing:
Surprisingly marketing is a relatively new subject and science, the concept of marketing changes the focus from the seller to the buyer. Kotlerian posited a fairly basic view that marketing is largely a rational form of mutually-beneficial exchange. Kotler defined marketing as a “social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and values with others”. Kotlerian argued that understanding and meeting the needs of potential customers. By defining the target market the organization can serve their needs better by adjusting the four P’s efficiently and effectively. While Kotler recognized that marketing should not be confused with selling he forwarded a responsive view on “what is marketing”
Kotler views marketing as a largely rational form of mutually-beneficial exchange, in which a consumer chooses to engage with for rational reasons. In Kotlers eyes consumer’s purchase’s decisions are made with a view to solve a problem. Kotler views every product as three different parts;
- 1. The core product is what the customer is really buying – eg drills? cars?
- 2. The actual product is the (literal) physical manifestation: physical product, brand name, packaging, features, ergonomic design & styling
- 3. The augmented product includes ancillaries such as: delivery, installation, credit, after-sales, warranty (also instruction, training
Kotlerian view of segmentation:
According to Kotler segmentation also gives you competitive advantage as you can concentrate your resources on the segment of your choosing.
While Kotlerian views have much merit and contain a considerable degree of beneficial information. However while marketers must respond to consumers desires they can also be shaped. Currently there are a number of campaigns which arguably go far beyond Kotler’s basic view such as 48 go conquer, and Vodafone’s “power to you”.
While both campaigns are for major telecommunications company’s there are very different and similar in various ways. Both ads have characteristics which reveal the non-rational element in this supposedly ‘fair exchange.’ The 48 go conquer are highly sexualized and while the company claims that their ads target the 18-22 year old market it is very clear that it targets younger individuals. The 48 go conquer campaign sexualizes the benefits of owning a mobile phone and posits that if you take up their offer you as a young teen will be almost automatically facilitate you to have increased frivolous sexual activity. 48 are not offering a mobile network they are offering a fantasy, a fantasy that tells young people that their network is almost like a dating matching service. This fantasy is not only exploitative towards a self conscious vulnerable market it also adds pressure on young girls to become sexually active. This advertising campaign, like many others goes far beyond Kotler’s traditional view of marketing. Vodafone users a rather more rounded and in my own opinion a far more sophisticated campaign than that of 48.
Vodafone’s campaign slogan is “power to you” with a subheading “our network your playground.” Vodafone’s campaign centers on empowering the individual consumer. While 48 is aggressively offering its network as to facilitate sexual gratification, Vodafone offers its network as a playground with some limited sexual overtones. As Vodafone is a multi-national corporation they have put a considerable amount of effort into localizing their campaign via the inclusion of uniquely Irish characters and imagery. Emotion in advertising enhances attention, attraction, and is processed more thoroughly by the consumer and may be remembered better.
As a result of the above comparison between the telecommunications industry’s current advertising we can see that Kotler basic theory is adverse with sophisticated practice, you are then in a position to comment about what sophisticated marketing practice often really involves in a theoretical/conceptual sense.
Ethical issues are prevalent in marketing and while it is difficult to form ethical judgments about the short and long term effects of such approaches both at the level of the individual and society.
Marketing often depends upon creating a perceived need for the products it sells when those products are not truly needed, or in respect to products people generally do want, marketing must then enhance the perceived need of the product.
Unfortunately marketing typically does this by implying that a peson’s self esteem, or status in the socio-sexual arenas will be improved by purchasing only the particular brand of a given product that a particular marketing firm is advertising. However this is a dodgy game because often the touted product is in no way superior to its competitors which is where the manipulation of the consumer’s perceptions comes into play. And since the product often can not be successfully advertised on its own merit, the point that most advertising firms rely upon to sell products is the ego and self esteem and socio-sexual status of the consumer. Advertising has been relying on this pitch to the ego for a very long time and successfully sells many useless or harmful products in this manner.
The fault with this pitch to the ego is that advertising creates social myths that imply that without the products they are selling the consumer is worth less in their own esteem and status in society. The deliberate undermining of our egos and esteem is crucial to the marketing ploys, so marketing has a vested interest in maintaining the belief among consumers that they are inferior and insecure and worth less in order to then establish in their minds a firm link to a false sense of superiority, security and enhanced socio-sexual status with the products being advertised.
This causes enormous anxiety and dysfunctional beliefs and attitudes among consumers as well as skewing their values to believe that something other than themselves and their good deeds and works can be the basis for their esteem and security. This is terribly harmful because it turns consumers into weak and delusional people who cannot adequately function on their own without buying into the false marketing precepts that are alleged by marketing to restore their sense of wellbeing and personal virtue.
This is how materialism has come to be such a powerful force in our societies and cultures. And while it is true that many people do not buy into all of these schemes to undermine their self worth, the majority buy into some of them and all of us are aflficted. Also, the mechanisms to undermine consumers’ self worth become acculturated and passed on to each new generation thereby coming to be accepted without challenge which establishes a firmer foothold for these insidious self-destructive perceptual dynamics in the psyches of consumers.
Marketing is therefor extraordinarily harmful and the so-called economic benefits of marketing do not contribute anything of merit to justify this terrible erosion of our intrinisic sense of well being for the purpose of making it is easier for marketers to sell their products.
An additional harm is that marketing drives consumers to buy worthless products or to replace valuable products more frequently than is required to drive up sales. This increases waste and consumption of resources on a scale that threatens our environment and increases the scarcity of resources which in turn drives inflation by raising the base price of raw materials.
To compensate for the steady rise in costs industry looks to labor and thus jobs are threatened, underpaid or relocated overseas into cheaper labor markets. This steady errosion of consumers’ economic security through the loss or devaluation of their jobs further drives their insecurity and serves marketing, so marketing causes direct harm to consumers both in terms of their psyches and their economic potentials.