This paper aims at explaining the concept of ethics in marketing in the business and corporate world today. Marketing ethics is an outline or a special kind of the art of applied ethics that attempts to examine the ethical rules and fundamental principles within the commercial sphere. In this subject, most of the problems (moral or ethical) that may emerge in a commercial setting together with any special delegations, duties or obligations that are relevant to individuals who are involved in commerce are tackled. A good marketing strategy has the capability to manipulate beliefs and behaviors of people mostly consumers. Therefore, aiming to meet high ethical standards is imperative in an effort to protect the interests of the consumers and the general public.
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Relevance of the study
Ethical Marketing is a straightforward, truthful and factual representation of a company’s business model and services conveyed in a structure of cultural and social values for the consumer’s benefit (DesJardins). Therefore, if companies should fail to present products fairly and accurately, opt not to comply with the relevant laws and the set marketing codes, and choose not to reflect changing public attitudes to questions of taste and decency, then a major problem is bound to occur. A thorough research study on this subject will be relevant in giving solutions to study gaps that exist in the matter and also to add on to the literature on the same for future reference and more study.
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According to Murphy and Laczniak, ( 251) the function inside business firms most frequently charged with ethical exploitation is marketing. Corporate social responsibility is the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large. Businesses find that venturing into social enterprise can pose important risks to the firm's reputation when it is found to step over ethical bounds (Sarner and Anderson 83).
In chapter 9 of his book An Intro to Business Ethics, DesJardins discusses Marketing Ethics with a specific explanation on advertising and target marketing. Evidently, it is easy for ethical issues to present themselves where advertisement and marketing is involved. For example, a recent scientific research by U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP) revealed that about 7% of American foods in the market contain fraudulent ingredients (ABC News Website). This is unprofessional behavior is as a result of a desire to make more profits at the expense of the consumer.
This research has discovered that good marketing is ethical marketing. The best kind of marketing is the one that involves satisfying and developing a long-term relationship with the consumers. Taking good care of the average consumer not only results in increased profits but it is also the ethical and moral thing to do. It also allows a company to achieve the set organizational objectives especially if an organization is a non-profit making organization. The paper also observes that even though deceiving the consumer through marketing may help a firm’s profits in the short-run, this is not the way to build a successful business.
Lessons learned / Applications going forward
According to this research study, products are not always what they purport to be. Most companies do not apply ethics in the acts of marketing and end up misguiding consumers. The society must use the law to define clearly the illegal practices that are illegal, anticompetitive and anti social. In addition, companies must implement and publicize a written system of ethics so as to put up a company custom of ethical behavior that holds its employees fully accountable for observing ethical and legal guiding principles. Individual marketing agents have a role to practice a social conscience in all dealings with clients and various stakeholders.
As seen above, a number of forces act as drivers for companies to practice a higher level of corporate social responsibility. Over the years, rising consumer expectations, changes in employee expectations, government regulations and pressure have increased the need to amend ethics in the marketing fraternity. Companies have a need to assess whether they are truly practicing ethical and socially responsible marketing. For any business to attain success and continually satisfy the consumer and other shareholders there needs to be close ties to approval and execution of high standards of business and marketing performance.
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