In this Marketing Management course, you have learned advanced concepts and tools for marketing products and services. These are the same concepts and tools that marketing managers use around the world. However, it is worth considering how marketing is perceived in your country and what the ethical dimensions of these marketing strategies are. For example, in the Diageo case discussed in Unit 3, we saw that the company has reduced the prices for many of its liquor brands in Africa as well as selling them in smaller, less-expensive packages.
In a page or two, please reflect on the role of marketing in your country and putting on the ‘marketing manager’ hat, give some specific examples of where you think marketing “crosses the line” into unethical behavior, and make some recommendations for what should change.
Currently, I live and work in the USA. The market in the US is mostly consumption driver. And marketing managers are always busy with the advertisement, promotions on the products or services they offer. On average companies spend 11% of their budgets on marketing (Deloitte, 2017). Based on the company size that amount can be significant. But before starting any advertisement campaign understanding the target market segment is really critical, both for business to business and business to customer businesses. According to Wall Street Journal, companies spend on average spend 14.8% – 8.7% of their marketing budget on analytics. While analytics helps marketing managers understand the ROI on their efforts, it also helps them understand customer behavior. With internet adaptation, it has become easy for marketing managers to reach to the potential customer via surveys. Surveys are a great way to collect data about what customers want in a product or service. Many times surveys are used to understand if customers are happy with product and service and to find out if something needs to be changed. Surveys focus on customer needs and understanding what features they are seeking.
Another critical part of the job is an advertisement or reaching to the customer base to make them aware of the product or service. Based on the product or service type offered marketing managers can use both traditional mediums and internet to reach the target segment. Developing a marketing strategy for the product or service with advertisements or sales promotion is vital because in a nutshell marketing managers primary responsibility is to reach target customers with advertisements, sales promotions and understand the need of the customer, what are they looking for in a product or service. While marketing managers can use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or snapchat to reach targeted market segment better. But the conventional media did not die either. Marketing managers still use print media, TV, radio, in-store promotions. Or use direct mail to send coupons to the consumers.
While millennials are not fan of expensive cable bills but that is being compensated well with internet. Sending junk advertisement emails to consumer cannot be classified as unethical but using user data such as cell number or email address to directly market product or service might not please the consumer. And when I think about unethical practices of marketing managers, I can think of many examples where my personal information was used that was available somewhere on internet without my consent. Google or Facebook is a great tool for marketing managers as they offer cost per click ads which are targeted, but in order to do that these internet companies use personal data of the users. For example, if I search for a shoe on internet, until next search all I will see is advertisement of shoes on Facebook or on my Gmail inbox etc. Sometimes I get direct emails from people trying to sell me something, and maybe they got my email from LinkedIn profile which was meant for the recruiters. But worst of all are the scams, one such example is tax fraud. Some scammers will pretend as IRS and they tell you that IRS is suing you, and you better pay some amount. I do not consider those to be marketing, those are scams. But point is sometimes on internet our cell # remains visible. And marketing teams pick up those numbers and call us to sell their service. For example, I have a website and as a domain owner my information is available with the hosting company. That information can be found by some SEO companies, as they know where to look. I need to pay extra money to hide my information. SEO companies tried calling me, emailing me for months after I purchased the domain. And I think calling me was not only crossing the line but it was not really ethical. My personal information was not out there for them to use. But I am not sure who to blame. I am sure the hosting company is aware of this problem, and that is why they ask for money before they hide out personal information. So should I blame the hosting company to make their customers vulnerable or the SEO companies who are taking advantage of information that is already out there on web.
I can understand emailing me details about their service, and I would be okay with that, but calling me multiple times and trying to sell was not acceptable. My recommendation would be sticking to email marketing, but telling me just about the service is not good enough. There are thousands of companies out there who are offering same service or similar price or cheaper price. Sending some examples of work, like some of their previous work would help me understand if they are any good. I think that can be a better way to market than just saying we offer you this service for this price.