Criticisms of Marketing: Part 1

While marketing is viewed as offering significant benefits to organizations and to society, the fact that marketing is a business function operating in close contact with the public opens this functional area to extensive criticism. Among the issues cited by those who criticize marketing are:

Marketing Encourages People to Purchase What They Do Not Need

Possibly the criticism most frequently made about marketing is that marketers are only concerned with getting customers to buy whether they want the product or not. The root of this argument stems from the belief that marketers are only out to satisfy their own needs and really do not care about the needs of their customers.

As we will discuss, while many marketers are guilty of manipulating customers into making unwanted purchases, the vast majority understand that undertaking such tactics will not lead to loyal customers and, consequently, is unlikely to lead to long-term success.

Marketers Embellish Product Claims

Marketers are often criticized for exaggerating the benefits offered by their products. This is especially the case with the part of marketing that engages in customer communication, such as advertising and salespeople. The most serious problems arise when product claims are seen as misleading customers into believing a product can offer a certain level of value that, in fact, it cannot.

But sometimes there is a fine line between what a rational person should accept as a “reasonable exaggeration” and what is considered downright misleading. Fortunately, many countries offer customers some level of protection from misleading claims since such business practices may subject the marketer to legal action. Of course, using such tactics is also likely to lead to marketing failure as customers will not be satisfied with their experience and will not return.