The Role of Marketing in Modern Society

Subject: Marketing
Pages: 2
Words: 562
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: College

The global issues of climate change, environmental pollution, and the COVID-19 pandemic attracted public attention to the risks of overconsumption and the need for sustainability. Marketing is often perceived as unethical, as it might be used to manipulate consumer needs and promote unnecessary goods or services. However, a fair and responsible approach to the practice may build credibility, address consumers’ needs, and assist in sustainability efforts. The purpose of this paper is to define marketing, propose its benefits, and discuss the opposing viewpoint.

The definition of marketing may help understand its role in business strategy and its value in society. In the most basic terms, marketing is “managing profitable customer relationships” (Armstrong et al., 2017, p. 5). Another definition presents marketing as “the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relationships to capture value from customers in return” (Armstrong et al., 2017, p. 6). The definitions suggest that marketing aims to attract customers by promoting value and increasing satisfaction. Thus, the role of marketing in business strategy is not only selling and advertising products but also researching the market and building profitable relationships with consumers by satisfying their needs and price expectations. For instance, multinational companies like Walmart and McDonald’s are commercially successful because their marketing strategies involve offering popular products of consistent quality for a great value.

Based on the functions discussed above, it is reasonable to accept the argument that marketing is good for society for several reasons. Marketing addresses basic (food, clothing, safety), social (belonging, affection), and individual (knowledge, self-expression) needs and wants that are influenced by culture or personality (Armstrong et al., 2017). It also promotes a free market economy, facilitates the search of relevant products by focusing on specific customers or groups, and establishes the expected value and satisfaction. The research by Ardley and May (2020) responds to the current problems associated with marketing and supports its positive impact on society. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the authors maintain that marketing in its sustainable and ethical form can help consumers connect with responsible sellers and purchase environmentally-friendly products. Additionally, proper marketing strategies may shape the market and transform consumption behavior with respect to the emerging need for sustainability and climate change measures.

Despite the number of benefits, marketing might be viewed as unethical and detrimental to society. The opponents of marketing claim that it stimulates overconsumption and creates unrealistic needs. Moreover, modern digital marketing is reported to exploit customers’ data and consumer privacy. The article by Powell (2020) underlines the disadvantages of contemporary marketing and investigates its exploitative nature. The author criticizes marketing strategies for exposing children to inappropriate or harmful products and services. The research suggests that the promotion of fast food, alcohol, soft drinks, cigarettes, and gambling may increase childhood obesity, stimulate unhealthy lifestyle choices, and negatively impact well-being (Powell, 2017). Thus, the shortcomings of marketing are primarily caused by irresponsible and unethical approaches to the practice.

To sum up, marketing is good for individuals and businesses because it addresses the consumers’ essential needs, connects customers with relevant sellers and brands, and supports a free market economy. The opponents of the view state overconsumption, customer manipulation, and the negative influence on children as the main drawbacks of marketing. Thus, ethical and responsible marketing can be beneficial for modern society since it assists in market reorientation and promotes sustainable consumption.


Ardley, B., & May, C. (2020). Ethical marketer and sustainability: Facing the challenges of overconsumption and the market. Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance, 29(6), 617–624. Web.

Armstrong, G., Kotler, A., Trifts, V., & Buchwitz, L. A. (2017). Marketing: An introduction (6th ed.). Toronto, Canada: Pearson Education.

Powell, D. (2020). Harmful marketing to children. The Lancet, 396(10264), 1734–1735. Web.