Create or Satisfy Needs
Prof. Mizanur Rahman, PhD, MBA
9 November 2013
EMB 520, Fall 2013
North South University
Does Marketing Create or Satisfy Needs
We understand ???Needs??? are the basic human requirements and sometimes also referred to as the ???states of felt deprivation???. That means if needs are not fulfilled it may cause a negative outcome like dysfunction or even death. In fact both human beings and their ???Needs??? came hand-in-hand, 4-5billion years ago on this earth. However, the Intellectual Needs as stated by Karl Marx in 1844 or more recently the Maslow??™s hierarchy proposed by Abraham Maslow in 1943 further synthesized the term ???Need???.
So taking all the theories of ???Need??? into consideration, we can argue that it is the marketers who actually conducted further research and sought customers??™ insights and divided Needs into five different categories. They are: 1) stated needs, 2) real needs, 3) unstated need, 4) Delight needs, and 5) Secret needs. Having said that, we tend to believe that with the advent of newer technologies, besides satisfying basic needs, marketer also create needs.
If you will remember two recent stories of China, it will be easier to accept our proposition. One person sold his/her kidney and another one sold his/her new born baby to get a latest version of iPhone. So who do you think created this need for which people are ready to die As far as we general people are concerned, we have need of electronic gadgets. We all need a mobile phone to get instance access and have faster communication. Understandably marketers combined our needs for all gadgets and created a need for a smart phone by putting everything together e.g. a phone, a post office (texting), bank, an organizer, map, camera, TV, Radio, games, music and many more.
Recently, hundreds of people in Narayangonj attacked United Commercial Bank for a ticket of third one day international (ODI) cricket match between Bangladesh Vs. New Zealand. Isn??™t it the marketing companies who have converted normal game of cricket in T20, ODI and created the huge need in a nation where people were satisfied enjoying domestic club football matches only 25-30 years back.
When most people are happy reading the main headline or skimming through the first few pages of the popular national dailies like The Ittefaq, The Prothom Alo or The Daily Star why are we reading 20-24 pages everyday spending our valuable time We are spending Taka 10 for this, where as only the cost of newsprint paper is more than Taka 15. Again it??™s the marketing ??“ which comes into the play and creating our needs for their benefit, i.e., earning huge amount of money by printing attractive advertisements and forcing us to see that.
In Bangladesh during early 70s to mid 90s we were pleased to have a new 700-800cc Subaru or Nissan Datsun car, now we feel extremely uncomfortable if it is below 1500cc without an air cooling system. Scarcity of public transport and insecurity of sending children to school unattended created the need of buying used cars.
It is generally believed that ???Needs??? and ???Wants??? are shaped by culture and individual??™s choice. In Bangladesh, some people consider their stomach empty and or say they did not take anything for lunch or dinner after having a full plate of Chicken Biriani or a big Burger. Many people cannot stand inorganic vegetables, hybrid fish, powdered milk and broiler chicken. While our newer generation can skip small fish, rice-lentil and love to have Chinese Noodles, Italian Pasta-Pizza, American Coke, Hamburger or Hotdog. Although some people will argue but we can clearly see that in course of time our needs and wants are shifted through market research, segmentation, targeting, positioning and carefully designed marketing efforts of some big international corporate houses. These companies spend millions of dollars in Research and Development besides their marketing spending to re-define peoples need and offer new products in the market. Yearly sales of Coca-Cola may give a clearer picture. Coca-Cola is available in more than 200 countries with 500 brands with revenue of US $ 48b in 2012 (Ref: Coca-Cola Company, From 8K Current Report, Feb 2013). It is worth mentioning reserve of a nation like Bangladesh is US $ 17b. To satisfy our thirst, do we really need 500 different brands or it is the giant beverage company who is pushing us to go for more brands by creating new needs.
Although some people find it hard to accept but there is enough evidence to support that the view that besides satisfying needs marketing can create need as well.