Does marketing shape consumer needs and wants or does marketing merely reflect the needs and wants of the consumers?

From a managerial point of view, marketing is about identifying and satisfying customers needs. Some critics, however,

suggest that marketing goes beyond identifying needs and actually creates what might be called undesirable needs. For example, critics contend that young women are filled with body image concerns because the marketing messages directed at selling products to them are filled with images of impossibly thin women who satisfy a very narrow definition of beauty.

Another example critics cite is that marketers advertise prohibitively expensive sneakers to economically disadvantaged youths. Those in marketing, however, contest that they simply market what sells; they create products that fit the preferences of the target group and if the product is designed well, it will sell.

What is your opinion of this debate? Does marketing shape consumer needs and wants or does marketing merely reflect the needs and wants of the consumers? What are the implications of this debate for consumers and for marketing professionals? Include specific examples to justify your answer.

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