Marketing has often been defined in terms of satisfying needs and wants of the customer. Critics maintain this goes beyond creating needs and wants which did not previously exist, encouraging consumers to spend more on product or services they do not need. (Kotler & Keller, 2009)
Take a position:
Marketing shapes consumer needs and wants.
Marketing merely reflects the needs and wants of consumers.
This question is very general in nature. I contend a supporting or challenging argument could be made based alone on the product set being discussed. In order to take a position, I will make my focus the capital purchase of computer solutions for an enterprise level data center. I take the position, in this arena, that marketing merely reflects the needs and wants of consumers. In this environment, sales cycles can vary depending on the immediate or delayed need to support the customer environment. If the current solutions (hardware and software) are meeting the need and external customer demand, the cycles could be long and the involvement leading to the close intense. All parties (buyer and seller) should be doing their own SWOT analysis in order to present the best argument to every facet of the cycle.
Customer service, of which marketing is a part, has always been about the building and maintaining of relationships (Toto, 2011). According to Day, committed relationships are among the most durable of advantages because they are hard for the competition to understand, copy, or displace (Day, 1999, p. 126). In today’s technology environment the customer is not driven by the marketing or advertising promotions (Toto, 2011). They are driven by performance, results, and support. In every circumstance the customer has statistics or benchmark results early in the decision process. When the competition begins to narrow, often a proof of concept will take place with the customer application and/or data run on competing equipment with the final result being a deciding factor, along with price and after sale support matrix.
As you reflect on your network of relationships, we find solid advice for the scripture asking whose friendship you are cultivating. Are these customers’ people who possess wisdom? This important thought will help you to decide where to draw the relationship line, at business contact or combination of business and personal. Are you building relationships with those who scoff at and reject God’s ways? We are reminded in Proverbs 13:20 to be careful, because the wrong relationship can lead to disaster. He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed (NKJV). It is important for us to understand how these relationships can and will have much greater impact on our lives and those who we serve than closing the sale or making the quarterly quota. It is critical we pray for the guidance to discern the dangers these wrong relationships negatively impact our lives and those around us personally and professionally.