Many people have portrayed marketing as the evil of all evils in today’s consumerism-driven age but marketing consultant and published author Samer Hajjar is determined to change this view. And after sharing with us the three major millennial marketing trends to look out for this year, he spoke to us about the functions that make marketing an essential staple of our modern-day world in an attempt to debunk common myths about marketing.
“So, you want to manipulate people, encourage them to buy what they don’t need and lie to them,” a relative of Hajjar said to him when he first told her about his decision to major in marketing. But this perspective did not exactly come as a shock to him. “For many consumers and intellectuals (Ellul, Tchakhotine, Packard, Etiemble…), marketing is just about manipulating, deceiving and lying,” he noted. “But I have always believed that marketing provides huge benefits for society.”
Firms essentially resort to marketing to increase sales as higher sales often translate into expansion, job creation, better tax revenues and ultimately economic growth. “Marketers develop goods using research results and a general understanding of what consumers desire and need,” Hajjar explained. “Without the product development function in marketing, there would be a mismatch between supply and demand.”
Marketers also examine prices to create competitive offers that would cover the firm’s expenses and yield some profit for investors. “The distribution function makes it possible for the consumer to buy goods from all over the world in one store,” Hajjar noted. “In addition to that, the promotional functions in marketing such as advertisements, events, and personal selling give consumers information about the product and persuasive reasons to buy it, thereby helping them acquire the needed information about a certain product.”
On another note, companies can resort to social marketing, which translates as the application of marketing functions along with other concepts and tools to achieve specific behavioral objectives, to serve the greater good of society. “Social marketing can promote health consciousness in people and environmental initiatives for instance,” Hajjar told GYV. “The best benefit of social marketing is that anyone in the society can take advantage of it.”
In light of the aforementioned functions, it is the responsibility of businesses to perform marketing activities responsibly and ethically according to Hajjar. “It is also the responsibility of citizens to stop rewarding firms that engage in irresponsible forms of marketing,” he concluded.
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