Principles of Marketing (14th Edition)

Category: Marketing & Sales
Author: Philip Kotler, Gary Armstrong
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by Jedi72   2019-04-12
The cognitive dissonance in marketing starts very early. I read this book cover to cover in a previous startup life (1) because it was a recommended first year college text in marketing. I have it in front of me right now. They define marketing as "the process by which companied create value for customers and build strong customer relationships in order to capture value from customers in return" (page 5). Then, in chapter 15, they have a detailed case study spanning multiple pages of the "I'm a Mac"/"I'm a PC" ads Apple ran a few years ago. These are some direct quotes from that book, though I have shortened them somewhat, without changing any of the overall tone or message:

"The ads portrayed Mac as a young, hip, laid back guy in a hoodie, whereas PC was a stodgy, befuddled, error-prone, middle-aged nerd... not surprisingly, adroit and modern Mac always got the best of outdated and inflexible PC ... The campaign produced results... less than 2 years later its [market] share had doubled... the cool campaign also helped boost customer value perception... Good advertising wasn't the only thing contributing to Apple's success..."

That campaign clearly had nothing to do with 'creating customer value'. It was a smear campaign. Yet in the same textbook these marketing academics praise it as great advertising. There is a laughably tiny section on ethics (2 paragraphs) at the end of the chapter which simply has open-ended questions, no guided discussion or anything.

It should surprise no-one that marketers have a fantastic bullshit story to convince people marketing is some kind of force for good. It is after all their job. Most amusingly I think they have largely pulled the same trick on themselves.

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