Marketing ethics as the name suggests is one such study in applied science that basically deals with principles, of moral ethics and behavior. It is a sum total of both the marketing philosophy as well as strategy that provides shape to the marketing effort an enterprise adopt. It mainly focuses on the factors which involves behaving honestly, fairly as well as responsibly when it comes to marketing decisions and endeavors so as to meet with the exigencies of associated parties especially customers. The concept of ethical marketing has gain considerable importance in the present modern business era. It has also been found that customers in general prefers companies which understands importance of ethical marketing while conducting business over companies which are involved unethical activities. Thus it can be concluded that ethics on one hand are beneficial from the customers view point but at the same time also helps the business firms in building a positive image in the corporate world.
SIGNIFICANCE OF ETHICAL MARKETING:
Although the concept of ethical marketing does not results into any monetary gain but it ultimately put the business firm in a completely gaining situation such as:
- The business firm can gain from great corporate image or reputation.
- It also leads to retention of quality employees, suppliers and other concerned parties as they feel obliged to be part of such ethical company.
- The business firm can keep themselves away from various controversies and legal concerns.
- Being ethical in its activities also makes the company fulfill its social responsibilities towards various spheres of society.
- Lastly the value of business will ultimately be improved in the long run.
ETHICAL ISSUES IN MARKETING:
Ethical marketing in general require the business firms to engage themselves in activities such as providing true and fair information regarding the product to customers, maintaining customer privacy and most importantly adhering to the laws and policies regarding customer welfare. However the application of such ethical marketing strategies is not easy and thus faces a number of issues. These ethical issues in marketing generally arise from the factors which include lack of agreement and rising of conflicts between the parties involved on certain issues. The parties involved in the agreement have certain expectations regarding the way business relations will be shaped or the way transaction between them will be conducted. Each marketing facet has its own set of ethical issues which are explained as follows:-
1. Issues in marketing research:
Marketing research is the first and foremost important steps in marketing of any product. It basically involves the collection of data of information pertaining to customers or markets followed by an in-depth analysis of various related factors and classify the information as per the need to reach at a decision to a particular problem. Ethical issues in marketing research takes place when companies involved are provided with some customer related information which is sensitive or critical in nature. Moreover other factors such as stereotyping or portraying someone’s body or appearance can also have its negative impact.
2. Issues pertaining to selective audience:
The grouping of audience on the basis of selective parameters adopted by the company is also sometimes considered as unethical. These selective practices may sometimes give way to problems such as social disturbances or disparity among individuals. Some common example of such selective marketing includes exclusion of gay people or extra obese people or targeting people within the age group of teenagers etc.
3. Issues in advertisement and promotion:
Advertisements as we all know are one the best way to promote your products by communicating or delivering information about the product to general public. But sometimes these advertisements may include anything from shaming rival company’s products to showing some irrelevant, abusive content involving mistreating women or harming their equality approach in society and thus considered unethical. Moreover concealing or manipulating information about the product to its customers is also considered as unethical.
4. Issues in pricing:
Pricing being part of the four major p’s of marketing mix has a significant impact on the marketing of any product. Sometimes the company’s in order to earn more profits enter into the agreement with competitors and subsequently charge higher prices from the customers while on the other hand adopt comparatively lower prices as charged by their competitors thus demoralizing their competitors are some of the examples of unethical pricing.
5. Other issues:
Other unethical practices being adopted by the companies include adoption of cheap tactics by lowering their prices initially but as soon as the customers switch to them, they ultimately increase the prices. Moreover wasteful product packaging can also leads to other issues pertaining to environment.