Eben Pagan on Why Marketing Gets a Bad Rap
Professional marketing is not about hawking a bunch of stuff people don’t need, it’s about understanding the needs of a large group of other people, and then creating a product or service that meets those needs very, very well.
Once someone learns how marketing works and the power of it, if they’re not kind of ethically developed and if they haven’t considered ethical implications in life, and so forth, they’re likely to go out and just use it to sell a lot of stuff. A lot of marketing crosses over that line. A lot of people have seen that kind of marketing, or they’ve fallen prey to it, and then they just hate all marketing. It becomes generalized.
Another reason marketing gets a bad rap, is because people don’t like people who are direct and that ask people to take action. They just don’t like the emotional pressure, so they demonize marketers. In other words, a lot of it is legitimate. A lot of it, we’ve kind of done to ourselves, as marketers. We’ve overused certain techniques.
One more thing, just to add to this topic, when I teach marketing I teach that every marketing project is, essentially, an ethical dilemma in and of itself. You can go too far with your marketing, anywhere, but after understanding the needs of a group of people, and creating a product or service that meets those needs; then learning how to communicate in a way that gets the prospective customer to pay attention, to make a decision, to take action, and to buy… it stops becoming this unethical manipulation game, and it starts becoming, almost what we might call, a hyper-conscious, hyper-ethical game.