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June 18, 2004


Todd Waxman

One difference between the video and this article is whether a firm decides to use a short-term or long-term marketing strategy. One could argue the video depicted examples of a short-term marketing strategy, playing negatively on individual's emotions to make a quick sale. In contrast, this article portrays examples of companies who use a long-term marketing strategy by finding positive ways to link individuals to its brands. Certainly there are other ways to compare and contrast the video and article. More detail would contrast the difference between two long-term marketing strategies, one ethical, and one unethical (such as the Blistex example from class.)

Laurie Yengo

I am intrigued and encouraged by this idea of customer-centric marketing--that you can really address customer needs and wants and at the same time make money. I also think that many will continue to be skeptical until they see more proof that this way of thinking really works.

In my mind, the film and this article compliment eachother. I think the film was really about how vulnerable human beings are--that we all to varying degrees have needs other than food and shelter including needs to be accepted, to fit in, to be beautiful, and loved. Given our vulnerabilities, this article is saying that marketing should address customer needs without abusing customer vulnerabilities.

I think that if organizations truly focus on customer problems and how to address them through products or services in a way that benefits all, then organizations will not abuse their customers. In some cases, I think the choices are very clear as in the example of Nestle selling formula to poor mothers in Africa. In other cases, it is not so clear. I don't think the movie showed any examples of companies abusing customers. The grocery store, the shopping mall--yes, they all have products that are more or less tempting to various people. However, we have to be careful to not put all of the responsibility on the company-the consumer has to share responsibility for his or her buying behavior. I just got back from a trip to NYC where there is almost literally, a Starbucks on every block. Do I think Starbucks is bad for tempting us with expensive, delicious coffee every time we turn around? I don't think so. I enjoyed having the choice and the convenience of having one on every block. Will somebody abuse the use of Starbucks? Yes but I don't think this makes Starbucks a bad company.

Hilary Lohnes Hayes

Customer-centric marketing is that it is an attempt to discover a customer's needs and fullfill them in order to solve their problems. However companies do not stop at needs, they also search for a customer's wants. To reuse Laura's example, Starbucks provides delicious pastry selections for its customers. And while food is a basic need, I would consider Starbucks pastries to be a desire. I think that companies that use customer-centric marketing are also in a way trying to prove to customers they have what they want. Is it ethical to provide temptation, to play on people's desires and emotions?

When consumers are getting what they want they are happy so it is a win win situation. However I would say that the responsibility lies with the consumer to separate products they buy because they need them from the products they buy because they want them. Because I have yet to see a marketing campaign that openly says "you don't need our product, but we want you to use it anyway".

People don't need everything they want.

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