Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development (wikipedia).
Because it is from Wikipedia, it gives the average accepted definition of marketing. Nonetheless, the point is how far have we taken this strategy? What are the ethics it is based on?
Putting this question on hold for sometime, let us also analyse a close associate, or a jargon sometimes interchangeably used with marketing : “Advertising”.
This facet of product market, which actually is an interface between the industry and consumers has lost its original purpose;
Advertising was supposed to be simply a means of propaganda; While the necessity of propaganda itself is quite debatable, I am on the YES side of the debate. It would merely, but importantly serve as a means of spreading awareness in its original form. When the market is flooded with products, simple advertising gives consumers a choice. Presuming that there is no fraudulence associated with this information, it presents itself as the entropy using which people make their choices.
Getting back to the question of Marketing, the tricks it engages in are directly oriented at manipulating these very choices, by altering the nature of information entropy, propagated via advertising!
Marketing in today’s global markets has gained a definition something on the lines of “verbiage deception, accomplished euphemistically”.
If the reader has already noticed there is extensive cynicism that has been exhibited on this post about marketing. The root of this cynicism is something psychological, and only is a special case of mistrust.
When relations involve money, the chances that mistrust creeps in are higher. It is natural for the human psyche to perceive it that way.
A talk by Lawrence Lessig on these lines would substantiate my claims better.
The unwritten rule of marketing in the current context is to hide flaws and maximize profits. And it is such trickery that has appended this extent of cynicism to the act of marketing!
Over this discourse, an impression of me being highly prejudiced against marketing must have surfaced. This is in no manner a prejudice alone. First hand experience and some rudimentary understanding of the system has what enabled me to argue on these lines.
To see what some of us see, you will need to look through a different paradigm. A paradigm where people come first, and not commodities or profits.