Creating or satisfying needs?

by Marketing Lowdown on February 12, 2011

“If you only give people what they already want, someone else will give them what they never dreamed possible.”

– Saatchi and Saatchi

I have recently been intrigued with the nature of relying on marketing research to determine marketing strategy. Throughout my university studies, market research was portrayed as the defining tool which exposes the product or service’s functional, emotional, social and self-expressive benefits. I agree with this notion that market research can allow you to understand the driving forces behind a consumer’s purchasing decision, however it should not be solely relied upon.

This links to the Saatchi and Saatchi quote which argues that by only satisfying needs, through consumer analysis, the firm forgoes the creation of new and innovative needs. Therefore, competitors are then able to tap into new markets that can potentially replace existing ones. An example is the invention of the automobile by Henry Ford. If Ford listened to market research and satisfied the needs of his consumers, he would have created more horses and carriages and the creation of the new automobile would have been delayed or even forgone. Therefore, consumers are not always able to visualise and imagine the possibilities of new products and services which can revolutionise the market.

It has also been proven that 95% of decision making occurs in our subconscious minds. So another reason why market research, whether qualitative or quantitative, should not be solely relied upon is because it may miss the emotional benefits that drive consumer’s purchasing actions, therefore creating subjective results.

So I contend that there should be a combination of consumer insight, market research, innovative insight and strategic planning. Regardless of the industry and context of the product or service, firms need to first and foremost satisfy needs and meet expectations. This is possible through the use of market research. However, from a competitive analysis point of view, the firm needs to create new and innovative ideas to leverage Porter’s sustainable competitive advantage (SCA) and be ahead of its competitors. Therefore, firms should go beyond satisfying needs and enlighten consumers with needs they never dreamed possible!

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Written by: Natalie Waser (Marketing Industry Specialist here at Marketing Lowdown!)

Natalie is engrossed by marketing at all levels – from critiquing television ads, to assessing in-store promotions to debating PR stunts.

Before commencing her Marketing Graduate role with Kimberly-Clark, the fast moving consumer goods company who invented Kleenex and Huggies brands, she completed various internships in PR, digital media and market research. She is driven by her imagination to test marketing norms and create new brand experiences.

On Marketing Lowdown, Natalie reflects on her experience as a marketing grad to bring you helpful tips to make your transition from university student to full-time worker all that little bit easier.

University: University of Sydney, Sydney
Degree: Bachelor of Economics and Social Science (Marketing and Industrial Relations and Human Resources)
Graduated: April 2011
Works as: Consumer Marketing Graduate at Kimberly-Clark Australia
Can be found on: LinkedIn

You can also read about Natalie on our ‘Meet the Team’ page!

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