Marketing for good or for ill? – Part 1
McKenna (1991) and Klein (2000) provide very different perspectives on the role of marketing. Using the critical thinking techniques learned in this course, compare and contrast their views, and use your analysis to support your own ideas about the marketing function
Marketing for Good or for Ill? –Part 1
According to McKenna (1991), marketing today is quite different from marketing in the past. In the past, most producers did not experience stiff competition as it is experienced today. They did not need to employ a lot of effort to market their products as the demand was high due to scarcity. Today the situation has changed. The rate of competition is quite high and as a result, customers have gained higher bargaining power. Manufacturers according to McKenna (1991) currently need to customize their products to meet customer needs. The modern customers who are also new do not pay attention to the old rules. Their main concern is finding a company that is ready to adapt its services or product to fit customers’ strategies. This results in the development of market-driven production or company. The situation has changed from a sales-driven approach where companies centered on changing the mind of customers to accept their product to a market-driven approach where companies must change their strategies to fit customer demands or needs. Today’s marketing focuses on creating a market rather than controlling it. It is founded on continuous process, incremental improvement, and developmental education instead of on simple market-share technique, one-time events, and raw sales. The modern marketing is based on experience and knowledge which exists in an organization.
Different from McKenna’s approach, Klein (2000) claims that marketing does not involve the manufacturing part, but it is more on the image of what is to be made. Thus, one can manage to make sales by presenting customers with a quality image of the product. Thus a manufacturer creating more diverse products is likely to make more sales, as there will be more brand images to sell. In this view, a marketer does not necessarily need to have a manufacturing plant. On the contrary, a marketer only needs to have images associated with the brand and contract the manufacturer to provide the product after striking the sales deal using the brand image. According to Klein (2000), the manufacturing process and operations are less important compared to branding. One is bound to make sales if one brands his or her products attractively.
The two authors provide two very different perspective roles of marketing. Klein regards product branding as one of the most important aspects of marketing, while McKenna regards satisfying customer needs as one of the most important aspects of marketing.
While both are right in their views, they are both likely to obtain varying outcomes for different products. McKenna’s (1991) approach is considered promising in building good customer relations, particularly in a situation where the company wants to win customer’s loyalty. A customer will always come back for a product that is highly satisfying and that addresses most or all of their needs. Klein’s approach is likely to attract first-time customers. However, to maintain these customers, the brand manufacturing process must have been of high quality to create satisfactory products that meet customers’ expectations. In a situation where the product fails to do so, it is unlikely for the product to sustain the sales unless the company engages in a process of rebranding the product now and then. In addition, Klein’s approach is likely to work for some products that do not require a lot of technology in their development or use, for instance, food products and other simple products. However, in other products such as electronics, vehicles and mobile devices, meeting customer’s expectations go far beyond the brand. A customer must ascertain that the product meets his or her expectations before making the purchase. It is therefore unlikely that branding alone will influence the customer’s decision unless the brand has a great market image and market legacy of quality. In this regard, the McKenna approach seems to be more superior compared to that of Klein.
Klein, N. (2000). No logo: Taking aim at the brand bullies. New York: Picador.
McKenna, R. (1991). Marketing is everything. Harvard Business Review, 69(1), 65–79.