I will need my initial post and then two classmate response done.
Effective marketing can determine the commercial success or failure of a product or service. In order to be effective, marketing strategies and campaigns must develop a competitive edge in order to keep their product or service in the mind of the consumer. Yet marketing strategies that push if not transcend ethical boundaries can cause a business to lose credibility with customers. List three areas of ethical concern that you as a small business owner have about marketing practices. Provide examples to illustrate and clarify your views. How has the increased used of social media in marketing and gathered information affected ethics and impact on business?
To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.
1st classmate response needed.
Doug Yost posted Jun 1, 2021 7:15 PM
While there are many topics to choose from regarding ethical concerns, there are three areas of ethical concern that stand out to me. They are (1) Bait and Switch, (2) Selling you things that you don’t need, and (3) Promising great service and not delivering it.
Bait and Switch is a tactic used by some selling organizations. It is basically advertising a product or service at a phenomenal price and then switching the customers that want to buy it to a more expensive item for a variety of reasons. It may have been out of stock or not as good as the other ones. This is a tactic to get customers to come in for an item with a great price and switch them up to a more expensive item. “When you buy a car for $20,000, you don’t expect a call from the dealer two months later saying hey, we just realized that’s actually a $30,000 car you bought. You owe us another $10,000” (Elmore, 2013).
Selling you things that you don’t need is when someone from a company takes advantage of your lack of knowledge and sells you things that you don’t need. An example of this could be when you go to get your oil changed. You go to take advantage of the $25 special and the attendant tells you that the $34 version is better for cars with over 80K miles like yours because it is synthetic. You buy it but really don’t need it. An oil change is a very modest example. It could be a computer or a car that the salesperson recommends you purchase above what you intended.
The last ethical area of concern pertains to service commitments that companies make when selling a large ticket item to a customer. This could be a car, home appliance, computer, etc. When making the decision, the representative speaks to how great the service is after the sale, should you ever need it. Once the sale is made and it is out of the return period, the service disappears. An example of this is when I purchased a Viking Microwave microwave / venthood from a national retailer. I didn’t install it until 2 weeks after I had purchased it. In my mind, it is a very high-end appliance so it will work. Well, it didn’t work. I spoke to the selling store manager and they said that they couldn’t do anything because the return period had expired by 3 days. I called the home office and got the run around. I called the appliance company and they agreed to work it out for me but this is a great example of talking up the great service you will receive and then not delivering. “If customer service is looked at as a major business component and all customers are treated with excellence prior to the sale, during the sale, and after the sale, customer service will become a profit center that builds sales dollars to the top line and real profits to the bottom line. It is just as easy to provide really excellent customer service, as it is to deliver poor customer service that drives the customers to the competition” (Reider, 1940).
Consumers accuse insurers of “bait, switch.” (2013, September 22). The Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL).
Reider, R. (2012). Expanding customer service as a profit center. [electronic resource] : striving for excellence and competitive advantage(1st ed.). Business Expert Press.
2nd response classmate response needed
Sara Chartier posted Jun 1, 2021 1:03 PM
As a small business owner, 3 areas of ethical concern for marketing my business would be data harvesting/privacy, perpetuating hurtful stereotypes, and using manipulation tactics against vulnerable audiences. It is important to maintain the trust of your customer base and potential new customers without damaging your brand, and I think if we avoid the 3 things I listed, it can ensure the success of your business in an ethical manner. Marketing should always be done in a manner which seeks to achieve quality over quantity.
Data harvesting and privacy concerns has ultimately come into play due to the increased use of social media and the internet. It has advanced to a state where collection of information is instantaneous and has provided a way to gather this information at largely reduced costs. The widespread use of internet commerce has made it possible for organizations to gather a wide array of information including browsing patterns, items purchased, profitability, dates and times of activity, and keystroke behaviors. While targeting consumer behavior is not a new phenomena for most organizations, the difference is vast in terms of scope and nature (Ashworth & Free, 2006, p. 107). It has created a highly competitive market in which companies are trying all avenues to ensure their product meets the eye of consumers. Privacy in the sense of protection of private information and fear of the risk of being exposed to fraudulent online behavior has been consistently identified as a chief concern of internet users throughout the past several years and should be something to consider when choosing your marketing strategy to ensure the trust of your consumers. A recent example of this is the Cambridge Analytica scandal committed by social media giant Facebook. They were accused of selling millions of psychological profiles of American voters to political campaigns. By gathering data from users, they were able to ascertain what their voting habits were and how they might be swayed to vote differently in the elections. It sparked an increased public interest in privacy and social media’s influence on politics and other areas. Data must be carefully protected by adding layers of security to ensure companies meet their regulatory and ethical obligations to use data responsibly and maintain customer trust.
Perpetuating hurtful stereotypes is another ethical concern to avoid with business marketing strategies. These are especially used in times where a business is seeking to target specific demographics. Stereotyping impressions created by a lot of commercial marketing tries to denote the feelings that having their product will lead to happiness but also that if they don’t they will not be happy if you do not purchase their product (Chron, 2021, para 2). An example of this would be a print ad that surfaced in 1955 by the household brand Lux which presented a woman dressed in an apron who was surrounded by a mountain of dishes. It stated, “Get out of the kitchen sooner!” This obviously shows that gender roles state that women should be solely in charge of housework. According to the American Marketing Association, “It seems unlikely in today’s social climate that people would stand for such egregious stereotyping, but products such as dish soap are still aimed at consumers based on gender demographics.” The effectiveness of gender marketing is waning as modern consumers are seeking brand experiences that are all-inclusive. So, ensuring that you are not using stereotypes in your marketing plan will help your business be successful.
Another example of unethical marketing would be manipulating vulnerable audiences. Vulnerable audiences are ones that are easily susceptible to harm by others. An example of this would be the response to McDonalds specifically running ads for unhealthy foods at certain times of the day to more effectively target children. They also use games, playgrounds, and toys in happy meals to gain their interest in the food. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that on any given day, 1/3 of the US Nation’s children and adolescents eat fast food (Klein, 2018, para 3). Happy Meals sales reached around 220 million in the year of 2010. It is argued that regardless of the specific target audience they are marketing to, that the children’s parents are ultimately in control of their children’s diets. However, with the type of marketing, pleading from children, convenience, and low costs are powerful forces. While this marketing strategy is technically legal, it is important for a business owner to avoid the negativity and ethical responsibility to not target the vulnerable.
Ashworth, L., & Free, C. (2006). “Marketing Dataveillance and Digital Privacy: Using Theories of Justice to Understand Consumers’ Online Privacy Concerns.” Retrieved on June 1, 2021 from https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Clinton-Free/publication/5148813_Marketing_Dataveillance_and_Digital_Privacy_Using_Theories_of_Justice_to_Understand_Consumers%27_Online_Privacy_Concerns/links/57ea110308aeb34bc08fedde/Marketing-Dataveillance-and-Digital-Privacy-Using-Theories-of-Justice-to-Understand-Consumers-Online-Privacy-Concerns.pdf
Chron. (2021). “Marketing Issues That Have Ethical Implications.” Retrieved on June 1, 2021 from https://smallbusiness.chron.com/marketing-issues-ethical-implications-24089.html
Klein, K. (2018). “How McDonald’s Keeps Kids Hooked on Happy Meals.” Retrieved on June 1, 2021 from https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-perspec-mcdonalds-happy-meals-addictive-20180227-story.html
Powers, K. (2019). “Shattering Gender Marketing.” American Marketing Association. Retrieved on June 1, 2021 from https://www.ama.org/marketing-news/shattering-gendered-marketing/