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(Mis)trust in marketing: a reflection on consumers' attitudes and perceptions

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Consumers are at the focal point of marketers' attention. However, while extensive research is devoted to understanding consumers' motivations, attitudes and behaviour, surprisingly little attention is given to the consumers' views of marketing itself. This paper explores consumers' attitudes towards marketing and their perceptions of it, reflecting critically upon their views. Since much criticism of marketing focuses on its role in promoting consumption, we also consider perceptions of current levels of consumption and the extent to which marketing is held responsible for them. Based on 29 in-depth interviews we find evidence suggesting the prevalence of negative attitudes towards marketing, especially associated with deceptive or dishonest campaigns, although marketing's informative role is acknowledged. Importantly, findings reveal a limited understanding of the discipline, suggesting a gap between the concept of marketing and consumers' perceptions of it. This paper sends marketers important messages from consumers and offers grounds for further debate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-11-01

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