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Ethics in marketing

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Ethics and Business


A set of rules or principles that defines right and wrong conduct. Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics which deals with the moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing.

Fundamental issues in the ethics of marketing

Possible frameworks: Value-oriented framework, analyzing ethical problems on the basis of the values which they infringe (e.g. honesty, autonomy, privacy, transparency). An example of such an approach is the AMA Statement of Ethics. Stakeholder-oriented framework, analyzing ethical problems on the basis of whom they affect (e.g. consumers, competitors, society as a whole). Process-oriented framework, analyzing ethical problems in terms of the categories used by marketing specialists (e.g. research, price, promotion, placement).

Marketing performs one of these wrongs in practice:

Damaging personal autonomy. The victim

of marketing in this case is the intended buyer whose right to self-determination is infringed. Causing harm to competitors. Manipulating social values: The victim in this case is society as a whole, or the environment as well. The argument is that marketing promotes consumerism and waste. Marketing has a major impact on our selfimages, our ability to relate to one another, and it ruins any knowledge and action that might help to change that climate.

Market research
Ethical danger points in market research

include: Invasion of privacy. Stereotyping.

Market audience:
The ethical danger points include: Excluding potential customers from the market: Targeting the vulnerable (e.g. children, the elderly). Examples of unethical market exclusion or selective

marketing are past industry attitudes to the trans gender, ethnic minority and obese ("plus-size") markets. Nestle infant milk : Case: As a result, some infants receive inadequate nutrition from weak solutions of formula.

List of unethical pricing practices.
Bid rigging Dumping (pricing policy)

Price discrimination
Price fixing Price war

Marketing strategy:
A list of known unethical or controversial marketing strategies:
Bait and switch
Planned obsolescence Spyware

unethical marketing practices:

Trying to force the customers for buying
Giving customers something different Always over deliver but not under deliver. Not having good customer support. Selling low quality products.


Selling local products in the name of

imported goods. Damaging in poor packages, handling and transportation. Using similar color prints and package/logo of a popular brand. Small fonts on label making it difficult to read.

Consumer Rights
Right to safety.
Right to choose. Right to know-how Right to be heard Right to compensation.

Marketers need to understand what

good ethics are and how to incorporate good ethics in various marketing campaigns to better reach a targeted audience and to gain trust from customers.