Marketing encourages people to buy what they do not need. There is a belief that marketers are only out to satisfy their own needs and really do not care about the need of their customers. While many marketers are guilty of manipulating customers into making unwanted purchases, the vast majority understand that undertaking suck tactics will not lead to loyal customers and, consequently, is unlikely to lead to long term success.
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. Again, using such tactics is likely to lead to marketing failure as customers will not be satisfied and will likely not return.
Marketing Discriminates in Customer Selection. This method, called target marketing, often drives most marketing decisions, including product development and price setting. But some argue that target marketing leads marketers to focus their efforts primarily on customers who have the financial means to make more expensive purchases. They contend that doing so intentionally discriminates against others, especially lower income customers who cannot afford to purchase higher priced products. This group ends ups being targeted with lower quality (and in some cases less safe) products or for some groups, no product options.
Marketing Contributes to Environmental Waste. In recent years one of the loudest complaints against marketing concerns its impact on the environment. Those critical of marketing’s effect on the environment point to such issues as the use of excessive, non-biodegradable packaging; the continual development of resource consuming products; the proliferation of unsightly and wasteful methods of promotions.
Marketing Encroaches on Customers’ Right to Privacy. The issue of customer privacy is likely to become one of the most contentious issues marketers face in the coming years. If this continues marketers may soon face greater legal limits on how they conduct business.