When studying marketing, practices companies may use sometimes come into question of its ethical standing. Most or all the questions asked involve subjective answers to find whom the scale of fault shifts to the most (the consumer or the company).
Does marketing influence the behavior of targeted stereo types (individuals who are grouped into classes of age, gender, race, geographic location, etc.) or do groups of people in the classification effect marketing?
Does a company’s marketing technique have a social responsibility to respect the moral guide lines of society or does it just follow the change in society’s behavior?
These are great questions Amer. In terms of marketing ethicality, many have argued that marketing is somewhat evil and plays a large role in damaging personal values/beliefs, manipulation of social values, and self-images. I believe it all depends on how someone perceives a marketing campaign and how it affects them individually. However, marketing most definitely can influence the behavior of different groups. Remember, marketing is creatively communicating to a target market. Marketing must be focused to a certain target in order to truly gain a customer base. There is no such thing as a generic marketing campaign that impacts the entire world, everything must be analyzed and targeted. In order to do so, a market must be funneled down to a designated target group with similar background (i.e. stereotypes). Once a marketer is able to identify the niche market or target market, they will be able to identify which strategy to use and how they can use it. At the same time, groups can also play a large role in affecting marketing. Based on constant changing values, goals, beliefs, etc. marketing must always change and adapt to new trends. In order to focus on a certain market, the campaign must evolve and communicate to the group by creating a connection or something that relates a product or service to a consumer. For example, let’s say Baltimore city contains 50% males, 40% are in the middle class, under 30 years of age, and all love dogs. If a large company that develops pet food wants to focus on males in Baltimore city they would create a marketing campaign focused on dog food. If 40% of the males that love dogs suddenly change to love cats, the entire marketing campaign must be shifted and start focusing on cat food. With that said, both marketing and the “groups” affect one another. It’s somewhat like evolution. You always have to adapt to survive, or in this case adapt to successfully communicate.
Marketing is a very difficult field to truly respect the moral guidelines of society. The main reason is because “morals” is very broadly defined, and therefore a marketing technique cannot satisfy everyone’s ethics. Like Newton’s Law, “To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction” Same, applies to marketing. No matter what type of technique is being used a different reaction will take place, either good or bad. Everyone holds different ethics and a society can’t necessarily create a universal morality code, it all depends on the individual viewers or customers that the marketing campaign is truly affecting. Of course there are morals that should never be crossed, for example directly discriminating against a certain demographic or anything that directly causes someone harm, either emotionally or physically. Based on your questions a company’s marketing technique really depends on both the change of society behaviors and the universal respect to individual morality.
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