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Marketing Basics - Kotler Philip

The impact of marketing on society at large

The American marketing system is accused of condoning the spread of such "evils" of American society as excessive commercialism, artificial desires, a lack of socially necessary goods, cultural erosion, and the excessive political influence of business.

Excessive Mercantilism . Critics argue that the American business system encourages excessive interest in materialism. People are judged not by what they are, but by what they own. A person is not considered prosperous if he does not have a house in the suburbs, two cars, the most fashionable clothes and the latest household appliances.

However, something may be starting to change. Some Americans are beginning to lose their passion for purchasing. They spend more time relaxing, playing games, learning to do less. This movement is under the motto “A little is great” and “The less, the more.” More attention is paid to the establishment and development of close human relations and simple human joys, rather than the "pursuit of things."

ARTIFICIAL DESIRE . The addiction to things is not looked at as a person’s natural mood, but as the aspiration created by Madison Avenue. The business hires Madison Avenue to stimulate people's passion for goods. Madison Avenue uses the media to create examples of a good life based on materialism. Demonstrative consumption by some causes envy in others. To earn the necessary money, people begin to work harder. Their purchases contribute to both output growth and the growth of production capacity in American industry. In turn, industrial America is increasingly using the services of Madison Avenue to stimulate the desire to acquire everything that its industry produces. Therefore, people begin to look at them as a certain link that links production and consumption and which can be manipulated. Needs begin to be determined by what is being produced at the moment.

In this summary, business opportunities for creating or stimulating needs are probably exaggerated. Under normal social conditions, people are faced with a number of life styles that contradict one another and choose one of them for themselves. In addition, people have natural defensive reactions against the impact of the media on them - selectivity of attention, perception, distortion and memory. The media are most effective when they appeal to existing needs, rather than trying to create new ones. Moreover, people are looking for information regarding larger purchases, and therefore do not rely on single sources of information. Even with small acquisitions, which may be made under the influence of advertising, repeat purchases will take place only if the operational properties of the product meet the consumer's expectations. Finally, a high failure rate of new products on the market contradicts the assertion that firms are able to control demand.

If you look a little deeper, not only the market leaders, but also the family, people of the same circle, religion, our ethnic origin and level of education influence our needs and value ideas. If Americans are too mercantile, it is only because the value system that they adhere to has developed during the fundamental processes of the formation of society, which in their significance are much deeper than the effects of the media business system.

LACK OF SOCIALLY NECESSARY GOODS . Businesses are accused of over-stimulating demand for goods for individual consumption (for example, cars) to the detriment of public goods (the roads on which these cars drive). Distribution of personal goods requires the availability of an appropriate volume of public services, which are usually not enough. According to economist John Kenneth Galbraith:

“The growth in car consumption requires the supply of streets, freeways, traffic control services and parking lots conducive to its development. Police and road patrol services and hospital services are also needed. Despite the complete obviousness of the need to maintain a balance in this area, the level of our use of cars produced by private enterprises, at times is far ahead of the level of supply of public services associated with them. And as a result, terrifying traffic congestion, bloody massacre of an impressive scale and chronic urban colony continuing from year to year ”12.

This is how Galbraith sees individual consumption, leading to "social imbalance" and "social costs", which, it seems, are not configured to pay either producers or consumers. It is necessary to find some way to restore the social balance between individual goods and public goods. Manufacturers could be required to cover all the social costs associated with their activities. With this approach, they could take all these costs into account in the prices of their goods. And if the consumer considers that the individual consumption product is not worth the asking price for him, the company will disappear, and the freed resources will find such an application that would provide coverage for both individual and social costs.

EROSION OF CULTURE . Critics argue that the marketing system carries with it erosion of culture. The human senses are constantly attacked by advertising. Serious programs are interrupted by advertising inserts, printed materials are lost among advertising strips, wonderful landscapes are disfigured by billboards. Advertising intrusions continuously introduce thoughts of sex, power, prestige into the human mind.

Entrepreneurs respond to these allegations of raising commercial hype as follows. Firstly, they expect that their advertising messages reach, first of all, the target audience. In connection with the use of mass communication channels, some ads unwittingly reach people who are not interested in a particular product and therefore experience feelings of boredom or annoyance from advertising. Well, those who buy magazines addressed to their interests, such as Vogue or Fortune, rarely complain about the ads, because they advertise goods that interest the buyer. Secondly, ads provide freedom to commercial radio and television in their role as a means of disseminating information and inhibit the growth of prices for magazines and newspapers. The majority of the population considers the inclusion of commercials in the program a very modest fee for all this.

Excessive political influence of business . Another line of criticism boils down to the fact that business has too much political power. There are "oil", "cigarette" and "automobile" senators who defend the interests of specific industries to the detriment of the interests of the public. Businesses are accused of having too much power over the media, restricting their freedom of independent and objective coverage of events. One critic says, “How Life, Post, and Readers Digest can afford to tell the whole truth about the scandalously low nutritional value of most packaged foods ... if these publications are subsidized by advertisers like General Foods , Kellogg, Nabisko, and General Mills? The answer is they cannot and do not do it. ”13

American industry really defends and promotes its interests. She has the right to representation in Congress and the media, although her influence there may become excessive. Fortunately, many of the most expansive business interests that were considered untouchable were tamed to reflect public interests. In 1911, Standard Oil was closed, and after the disclosure of Upton Sinclair, the meat processing industry was punished. Ralph Nader was the inspiration for legislation that required car manufacturers to add more safety features to their cars, and by order of the U.S. Chief Medical Officer, tobacco companies were obliged to put a warning on their health on their cigarette packaging. The media are boldly publishing editorial materials designed to interest different market segments. Excessive business power brings counter-forces to restrain and neutralize its expansive interests.