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Topic: Strategy

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Do Marketers Create Artificial Demand?

Posted by Anonymous on 50 Points
Is the goal of the marketer to serve existing needs and wants and think from the consumers point of view

OR

Is the marketers goal to 'create' artificial demand to entice the customer to want something he does not really need?

  • Posted by Inbox_Interactive on Accepted
    As with most things in life, the answer is, "It depends."

    There are some products that people just generally "need" (let's not split hairs about whether people really "need" products such as clothes, gasoline, or groceries, okay?). In these cases, marketers aren't really creating the demand, they are just trying to get their share of the pie.

    There are other products that people just generally "want." An example of this might be giant-screen televisions, especially in Boston and St. Louis right now. Marketers probably spend more time trying to convince people to buy THEIR 60" plasma television as opposed to the concept that someone should buy such a set in the first place. Similar to the first group, the pie already more or less exists; they just want their cut.

    Finally, you have products that people don't even know they want, in which case the demand is created out of thin air. People didn't KNOW they wanted or needed a Palm Pilot until the demand was created. People didn't KNOW they wanted or needed TiVO until the demand was created.

    I guess when you think about it, pretty much ALL marketing starts out as demand creation followed by demand servicing. People don't know they want it until they know it exists, then their want turns into need.

    And so on...

    Hope this helps.

    Paul
  • Posted by mgoodman on Accepted
    I guess anyone can call him/herself a marketer, so I obviously can't speak for all marketers. That said, marketing is all about satisfying consumer needs -- not selling stuff that people don't need or want. Maybe there are salesmen/women out there who think it's their job to sell stuff to people (regardless of their needs), but that's not what marketing is all about.

    Marketing is identifying what people are going to need, then coming up with a way to satisfy that need, communicating to the target audience, and ensuring that the product/service is available for people to buy -- and making a profit in the process.

    That's it. Nothing more or less. And it all starts with identifying a real consumer need. (People NEED a way to geet the maximum enjoyment out of their evenings at home, and wide-screen plasma TVs are a way to address that need.)
  • Posted by mgoodman on Member
    P.S. I don't think that marketers "creaste demand." They just find new ways to satisfy existing needs or identifying emerging needs that won't be satisfied without some creative homework.

    The TiVo example is one that I would submit is just a new way to satisfy an old need. People needed a way to time-shift their television viewing, and (old) videotape was too inconvenient, had too many limitations, etc. TiVo identified that need and found a way to satisfy it.

    Palm Pilot was another product that satisfied an existing need -- a need to be organized, connected, etc. It simply utilized emerging technology to satisfy the old need in a new way.

    Even underarm deodorant satisfied a need -- a need to not have an offensive odor in social situations. You could argue that the odor wasn't offensive for hundreds of years prior to the introduction of the first deodorant, but people certainly responded to the benefit promise in a way that suggests THEY thought there was a need!
  • Posted by Blaine Wilkerson on Member
    Both.
  • Posted on Member
    BOTH
  • Posted by SteveTheMarketer on Accepted
    I lean more towards (A) serving consumer’s needs and wants. The term “artificial” suggested short-term sales verses long-term customers. Any type of artificial market will probably not hold up over time. To me, marketing is about positioning strategy and the branding processes.

    I would add that pricing can be thought of as a powerful “artificial demand” strategy. For example, consumer demand may be high for Toyota or Honda sedans, but very deep discounts on overstocked Buick sedans will create demand and shrink inventories.

    That being said, it’s both really and depends on the unique circumstances of the marketer and market. I’m just hung up on the word “artificial” – it seems demand is demand unless it’s fraud.

    Hope this helps,

    - Steve

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