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Topic: Student Questions
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This question has been answered, and points have been awarded.
Does Marketing Shape Consumer Needs And Wants?
Posted by Anonymous on
10/19/2006 at 12:48 PM ET
A lot of discussions about Marketing creating needs or not...I have an assignment on whether Marketing shapes consumer needs and wants. Hoping you could all help me out and let me know your opinion.
10/20/2006 at 4:43 PM
"If we had listened to customers, we would have made them a faster horse" (Henry Ford)
"Who cares what customers think -- we haven't told them what to think" (Andy Grove)
Yes, marketing shapes customer wants and needs. By framing the context, you uncover what is 'missing' and what can solve the 'problem'.
At Iomega, we developed a world where you could organize your stuff -- your hard drive had endless space on it, but now you could 'organize' it on discs.
At Plantronics, we told you that 'life takes both hands' and that using a headset was better than holding a phone to the side of your head. Sure, handsets work just fine, but think of all the things you could be doing while you talk -- life doesn't wait just because you're on the phone.
What does your product or service do, in real terms? How does your customer's life change as a result? If you went forward in time a year and spoke to your new customer at a cocktail party and asked them how their life had changed over the past year, what would they tell you?
How is your product or service uniquely different from your competition? What do you do that they don't -- what tangible or intangible benefits do you provide? If you wrote the description of your product, how could you do it so that your competition couldn't follow you? How could you draw them out over the thin ice of your unique brand positioning?
Answer these questions and you'll get there -- marketing needs to frame customer context; this is what creates wants and needs. Good luck --
10/27/2006 at 5:09 PM
Marketing certainly does not create consumer needs. It fulfills them. I'm not sure about "shaping" needs, because I'm not sure what "shape" means in this context.
Shape is probably a metaphor when used this way. Needs are not inherently round or square or triangular, so it's pretty hard to "shape" them literally.
If by "shape" you mean adjust or adapt, then marketing probably does help to shape consumer needs. Women have a need to look attractive, and in Western cultures that often means thin, blonde, good complexion, etc. The need to look attractive wasn't created by marketing, but the "shape" of that need was undoubtedly affected by marketing.
Hope this helps.
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