Is marketing moral?

Is marketing moral?

Do you know that with a little time, money and skill, I will be able to tell you a story that could influence you and make you make a choice that you do not suspect. Maybe I’ll make you buy something you wouldn’t have bought or vote for someone you might not have considered? And do you know how? By implementing an effective marketing strategy. Does it make marketing diabolical? Often to answer this question, I am asked if marketing responds to existing needs of consumers or if it creates them?

How is that important? That they exist or that he creates them, if he answers them what can be the problem? And then after all isn’t it just a matter of degree – some needs are manifest, the consumer is fully aware of them, others are latent and can be reinforced by marketing, and still others may be entirely new .

It’s the job of marketers to figure out what consumers want

Steve Jobs scoffed at the idea of ​​market research, and Henry Ford reportedly said that if he had asked consumers what they wanted, they “would have asked for a faster horse.” So it’s the job of marketers to figure out what consumers want, even if they don’t know it themselves.

The real test of whether marketers were right to bet on a particular product is simple: are consumers willing to pay for it? If they are willing to trade their hard-earned cash to buy it for themselves, why should we ask whether or not they were aware of the need before being exposed to the marketing.

So should the question be a moral one: can we create any product as long as people are willing to pay for it? Should we continue to sell cigarettes, alcohol or cars?

The morality of marketing lies not in the strategies of influence but rather in the objectives of these strategies

Marketing is a set of techniques aimed at influencing consumer behavior. Only, does the morality of this influence depend on the brand that creates the product or on the one that consumes it?

For example, I understand that we can be outraged when marketing pushes children to start smoking, obese people to eat junk food or addicts to gamble.

To go against these injunctions, we use marketing to raise awareness of the need to quit smoking, to eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day or to consider gambling as a game and only play what we are ready to lose. In each of these cases, marketing has a positive influence.

The morality of marketing does not lie in the strategies of influence but rather in the objectives of these strategies.

The more restrictions, the more it shows that marketing is powerful

Society makes judgments about appropriate and inappropriate goals for marketing. These judgments are reflected in the laws of many countries that ban tobacco and alcohol advertising on television, limit advertising to children and impose constraints on the marketing of games of chance.

And it is not just laws that grant or withdraw permission to act. It is also the mores and norms of each society. And these change over time. If you go back to the archives of cigarette or washing machine sellers, you will quickly understand that their ads would be absolutely incompatible with today’s society.

As a marketer, I’m comforted. I tell myself that the more restrictions there are, the more it shows that marketing is powerful. As a client, I tell myself that the more I know about the techniques, the more I can get out of it, and that’s exactly why I’m making these videos.

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