Professor Hayden Noel Breaks Down The Basics of Marketing

Dr. Hayden Noel, a Clinical Associate Professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, took time out of his busy schedule to take part in True Star’s Summer Session with the Pros series. I believe that his presentation was the most adapted one to the goals and objective of the True Star Marketing Program. Being able to sit in on what Noel made into a class-like setup, was very insightful and engaging. Here’s a recap of his lesson.


First, we had to define the definition of marketing. After many great answers and guesses from my peers, we got the true definition from Noel. Marketing is profiting from the needs of consumers. And though we’re not quite there yet, it’s important to remember that the difference between want and need is a great one. Next, we were provided with a product that failed for a variety of reasons, one being that it was not catered to consumer’s needs and rarely wanted by anyone.


The Segway is a perfect example of a product made without the consumer’s needs in mind. It was meant to be a revolutionary form of transportation and was estimated to bring in $5 million, but its profit was nowhere near anticipated. After only a year of being available to buy, many of them began to malfunction and the devices were pulled.

Noel explained to us that one of the main factors in the Segway’s failure was that it catered to neither consumer’s wants or their needs. While new and exciting at the time, people couldn’t find a reason why they would need the device that cost thousands of dollars and how it would convenience them.

After talking a lot about need and want and how it can make or break the sale of a product, Noel explained the difference between the two and why it is important know.


Needs: Something necessary for people to live a healthy life.

When a need is not satisfied, there is a clear adverse outcome: dysfunction or death. Needs can be objective and physical, such as the need for food; or subjective and psychological, such as the need for self-esteem.

Wants: Want is something that people desire to have, that they may, or may not, be able to obtain.

To help make things more clear, Noel shared a video with us. Customers at an Indian restaurant were interviewed about the physical need for food but the want or desire for the type of food they choose to eat. The people ate at that location because they needed food to survive but they specifically chose Indian food because it was something that they wanted.


To create value you need to understand where consumer needs are and find a way to satisfy said needs. Noel said, “To satisfy consumer needs companies simply sell you a product that is just a bundle of your needs.” One perfect example of this is the iPhone. It’s a product that satisfies a simple need (communication) as well as a variety of desires (taking pictures/video, listening to music, playing games and more). The marketing for this product is so good that most people feel they “need” this device and are lost without it.

Listening to Noel gave me a peek into what college classes might be like, and as someone very curious and anxious about it, this presentation offered me all I wanted to know. I must say, after getting off the Zoom call I felt particularly confident that I could sell anybody anything, and that’s a comforting feeling to have for someone planning to market products in their future.

A quote from Noel that I think directly sums up his entire lesson into a sentence is this: “Don’t sell the product you make, sell the problem you solve!”


By Kendal Amos, sophomore at little black pearl.

Instagram: Kendal Amos

Written by Kendal Amos

16 years old. Reader/writer/lame musical enthusiast

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