“Goals of Marketing System”
Our marketing system consists of the collective marketing activities of tens of thousands of profit and nonprofit organizations at home and around the globe. This marketing system.affects everyone—buyers, sellers, and many public groups with common characteristics. The goals of these groups may conflict. Buyers want good-quality products at reasonable prices in convenient locations. They want wide brand and feature assortments; helpful, pleasant, and honest salespeople; and strong warranties backed by good follow-up service. The marketing system can greatly affect buyer satisfaction.
Sellers face many challenging decisions when preparing an offer for the market. What consumer groups should be targeted? What do target consumers need, and how should products be designed and priced to give the greatest value? What wholesalers and retailers should be used? And what advertising, personal selling, and sales promotion would help sell the product? The market demands a lot. Sellers must apply modern marketing thinking in order to develop an offer that attracts and satisfies customers.
Legislators, public interest groups and other publics have a strong interest in the marketing activities of business. Do manufacturers make safe and reliable products? Do they describe their products accurately in ads and packaging? Is competition working in the market to provide a reasonable range of quality and price choice? Are manufacturing and packaging activities hurting the environment? The marketing system has a major impact on the quality of life, and various groups of citizens want to make the system work as well as possible. They act as watchdogs of consumer interests and favor consumer education, information, and protection.
The marketing system affects so many people in so many ways that it inevitably stirs controversy. Some people intensely dislike modern marketing activity, charging it with ruining the environment, bombarding the public with senseless ads, creating unnecessary wants, teaching greed to youngsters, and committing several other sins. Consider the following:
For the past 6,000 years the field of marketing has been thought of as made up of fast- buck artists, con-men, wheeler-dealers, and shoddy-goods distributors. Too many of us have been “taken” by the touts of con-men and all of us at times have been prodded into buying all sorts of “things” we really did not need, and which we found later on we did not even want.
Others vigorously defend marketing:
Aggressive marketing policies and practices have been largely responsible for the high material standard of living in America. Today through mass, low-cost marketing we enjoy products which once were considered luxuries, and which still are so classified in many foreign countries.
What should a society seek from its marketing system? Four goals have been suggested: maximize consumption, maximize consumer satisfaction, maximize choke, and maximize quality of life.
Many business executives believe that marketing’s job should be to stimulate maximum consumption, which in turn will create maximum production, employment, and wealth. This view has been promoted by slogans such as “Who says you can’t have it all?” (Michelob); or “The costliest perfume in the world” (Joy); or “Greed is good” (from the movie Wall Street). The assumption is that the more people spend, buy, and consume, the happier they are. “More is better” is the war cry. Yet, some people doubt that increased material goods mean more happiness. They see too many affluent people leading unhappy lives. Their philosophy is “less is more” and “small is beautiful.”
Maximize Consumer Satisfaction
Another view holds that the goal of the marketing system is to maximize consumer satisfaction, not simply the quantity of consumption. Buying a new car or owning more clothes counts only if this adds to the buyer’s satisfaction.
Unfortunately, consumer satisfaction is difficult to measure. First, nobody has discovered how to measure the total satisfaction created by a particular product or marketing activity. Second, the satisfaction that some individual consumers get from the “goods” of a product or service must be offset by the “bads,” such as pollution and environmental damage. Third, the satisfaction that some people get from consuming certain goods, such as status goods, depends on the fact that few other people have these goods. Thus, evaluating the marketing system in terms of how much satisfaction it delivers is difficult.
Some marketers believe that the goal of a marketing system should be to maximize product variety and consumer choice. This system would enable consumers to find goods that satisfy their tastes exactly. Consumers would be able to realize their lifestyles fully and, therefore, could maximize their overall satisfaction.
Unfortunately, maximizing consumer choke comes at a cost. First, the price of goods and services rises because producing great variety increases production and inventory costs. In turn, higher prices reduce consumers’ real income and consumption. Second, the increase in product variety will require greater consumer search and effort: Consumers have to spend more time learning about and evaluating the different products. Third, the existence of more products will not necessarily increase the consumer’s real choice. For example, hundreds of brands of beer are sold in the United States, but most of them taste about the same. Thus, when a product category contains many brands with few differences, consumers face a choice that is really no choice at all. Finally, not all consumers welcome great product variety. For some consumers, too much choice leads to confusion and frustration.
Maximize Life Quality
Many people believe that the goal of a marketing system should be to improve the quality of life. This includes not only the quality, quantity, availability, and cost of goods, but also the quality of the physical and cultural environments. Advocates of this view would judge marketing systems not only by the amount of direct consumer satisfaction, but also by the impact of marketing on the quality of the environment. Most people would agree that quality of life is a worthwhile goal for the marketing system. But they might also agree that “quality” is hard to measure and that it means different things to different people.