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Is Marketing Inherently Evil?

JifpnutWe sometimes joke about how good marketing can ‘trick’ people to do things against their intended will.

One of my favorite examples is the marketing of Jif peanut butter… ‘Choosy Mother’s Chose Jiff’… which of course means that if you don’t choose Jif, you must be a bad mother/father. Conversely that mother or father who buys Jif must be a pretty darn good parent!

Hey, that’s great marketing, and great evilness!

Standard complaints about marketing include that it …

  • - Victimizes customers by altering their self-selection, i.e. buying that more expensive car.
  • - Adds to consumerism by inspiring unnecessary or extra purchases, i.e. bottled water.
  • - Harms competitors by causing purchases not based on real product value, i.e. VHS vs. Betamax

These arguments may be valid but ignore the fact that marketing is also inherently good because it …

  • - Changes peoples’ minds on important issue, i.e. Ugandan Warlord Kony 2012.
  • - Creates jobs for products and services, i.e. just about anything.
  • - Inspires deeper understanding of what consumers want, i.e. Toms Shoes

Evil is in the eye of the beholder. And if you’re a marketer, you’ll likely side with the idea that great marketing simply helps make the world go round, and is a necessary evil!

Why not use it to your advantage?

About Doug Bruhnke

Growth Nation is a global full-service marketing and business growth firm that creates more leads, stronger brands and higher revenue for clients in technology, manufacturing, healthcare and professional services. Our growth process has created over $1 billion of new revenue.

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