I’m sure you’ve heard of the old adage, “More money, more problems” or “Money is the root of all evil”. Well, have no fear because marketing is here to exorcise your demons… I mean money.
Based on the above axioms, I could define marketing as the business practice of supposedly soliciting evil or other monetary entities from a person. Depending on the business beliefs of the exorcist (company), this may be done by causing the entity to swear an oath (contract), performing an elaborate ritual (organizational processes), or simply by commanding it to depart in the name of a higher power (donations).
Are marketing efforts truly ridding us of evil?
Clearly, I’ve been thinking a lot about what exactly marketing is and its prime function. Marketing is essentially a communication tool used by businesses to reach consumers and its purpose is to bring about behavioral change in the consumer so that exchange can be made. Your money for this product or service. However, money is not always involved at the point of exchange. What if I spend time listening to a wise woman? Am I exchanging money for a service or time in exchange for vital knowledge?
You may say, “Well, time is money”, another truism of many businessmen and businesswomen. But, how can you put a price on time? The answer is relative opportunity cost. It cost me a full stomach and 2 episodes of my favorite television show to spend time writing this blog. I could’ve made dinner for myself and watched an hour worth of Family Guy instead.
Some may say consumer behavior is the root of marketing yet, what is the root of consumer behavior? Is it time or money? Convenience or simplicity? A combination of factors? In fact, maybe it is this thing we call opportunity cost or the opportunity to not do something worse, to save ourselves from something more “evil”.
I chose to address this topic as a consumer of business knowledge and marketing insight. I chose not to eat and watch television for an hour because I felt as though the benefits of knowledge and understanding, in order to eventually have the opportunity to obtain a MBA degree, far outweighed the satisfaction of a full stomach and an hour of comedy. But why? Why did I choose one from the other? It seems to me that most people make these seemingly simplistic everyday decisions just like they would in an actual purchasing situation; the key is personal development and growth. Now, what exactly defines personal development and growth for one person may be completely different for the next person but the fact still remains that we want to place ourselves in a better position relative to where we are now. Ultimately, we want value in our lives.
Often, money is a quick fix in getting people in a better position or feeling as though they have better value. Others just want enlightenment and couldn’t care less about money because insight has more value to them. Volunteers are compensated with fulfilment and gratification in that they did something good or valuable.
I truly believe consumer behavior is shifting in a way that is more value driven. With constant technological advances, quicker shipping times, and the advent of customization, consumers are beginning to expect more from businesses. What is value to us? A bed is valuable to someone who doesn’t have one but not to someone who has three, right? No. Value is something genuine and reliable. A bed that will last forever and stay comfortable is better than three beds that are no good to your neck and back.
Companies and organizations must realize what consumer behavior is and how it reacts to value. Companies must appeal to the customer who wants value and in that sense must create value within themselves. Businesses must have value within their processes, people, and throughout its organization in order to appeal to costumers looking for value. After developing a respected, valued culture within the company, marketing plans should then stay consistent with those established company values.
In many cases, money is unfortunately a required input for business and money may be the root of all evil but it is a necessary evil we must use resourcefully to bring true good and value to our consumer markets in whatever category that may be. Marketing is not the businesslike exorcism of money from an individual but in actuality it is a practical effort to recognize what consumers and people alike value.