Part A: Introduction
The discussed article has a title Ethical Issues in Marketing: An Application for Understanding Ethical Decisions Making. It was written by Professor Dr. Gazi and his assistants; it means that the article is worth reading. In general, the work is dedicated to the evaluation of the marketing issues and common trends, which penetrate the business environment and worry many entrepreneurs. In particular, the article presents a deep insight into the problematic side of marketing and its implications for business. It is a significant piece of literature, which is supposed to provide the reader with crucial information that unveils ethical issues of marketing and its influence on the business environment, in general. It is impossible to deny that marketing ethics represents the core of the performance of every company willing to reach the target audience and satisfy customers needs. However, there are many problems, which entrepreneurs create both intentionally and not. Marketing ethics has a sensitive nature; it means that it is difficult to predict the reaction of the society to each specific product with its promotional strategies. The following discussion reveals four issues of marketing ethics, which are considered in the analysed article. Moreover, the study employs proofs from other articles, which elaborate on the topic at hand. The myriad of issues in marketing ethics includes advertisement, marketing research, pricing, and international marketing. The following sections explain the essence of each point, which has a reflection in other valuable sources of information in the support of the analysed topic.
Part B: Issues
The analysed article considers the issue of advertisement in the light of numerous other factors. First, the article mentions that deceptive packaging is a problem, which aims at attracting the customers attention. It strives to ensure the customer that a bigger package contains more product. It is possible to see the approach practiced by different companies in the food industry, for example, chips, water, juices, and various other snacks and drinks (Witkowski, 2007). In this way, the consumer strives to impress the customer with an opportunity to pay the same price and receive more products. In addition, the article mentions another strategy of packaging products with additional gifts; it aims at ensuring customers that they can get a present absolutely for free (Par?lt?, Demirgunes & Ozsacmac? 2015). The design of the package, which is supposed to advertise the product and attract consumers by an extra amount of a product, has the same effect on peoples mind. Moreover, it may contain some misleading information, which will make the customer arrive at a conclusion that a company takes care of giving its clients more than it used to do in the past. Moreover, the described approach to packaging is a part of the so-called misleading advertisement, which aims at increasing the sales of a company without any additional costs (Vassilikopoulou, Siomkos & Rouvaki 2008). Today, it is a widespread ethical issue that worries many consumers, who are not interested in being fooled by manufacturers and retailers but are willing to receive outstanding quality.
Place New Order
Advertising faces a myriad of other problems, which shape the marketing strategy of any companies. It is the most visible element of the companys performance, which receives criticism from the society. From the ethical perspective, it is a long-standing problem of marketing, which has a significant influence on the buyers mind (Smith, Palazzo & Bhattacharya 2010). The aim of the advertisement is to show the benefits of a product. However, most companies are not interested in making their advertisements realistic and demonstrate both the products advantages and disadvantages. Every other company strives to ensure the customer that there is a need to buy its product in order to have a privilege of using the highest quality and benefits. In particular, the contemporary world employs this trend in advertisements of goods for children, tobacco products, as well as negative political and other provocative content (Brinkmann & Peattie 2008). It is obvious that advertising became a powerful regulator of the consumer behaviour. It is a persuasive type of communication, which easily misleads consumers and ignites their desire to buy a product. A deceptive advertisement means that a customer cannot see the negative aspects of the product, which can seriously damage his or her well-being or be of no use at all. From this perspective, advertising became a significant threat to the free choice of a buyer to purchase desired products. It is necessary to investigate other issues in order to understand the essence.
In common sense, marketing research is a part of the companys performance, which aims at evaluating the customers needs and tastes in order to deliver an appropriate product. Every company conducts a thorough analysis of the customer profile of the target audience in order to create a much-in-demand product. However, such study is considered a direct intrusion into the private life of an individual. It is the point, which is full of doubts and cannot guarantee that companies do not interfere with the private life of their customers. Many critics accuse marketing research of gathering data about the customer, which is supposed to be private. However, in the contemporary world of business, it is impossible to find a company that does not want to learn every fact about the customer. Regardless of the nature of marketing, which is supposed to be objective and independent, it is possible to consider the marketing research a violation of the right of every individual to keep own life private (Tenbrunsel 2009). In general, it is a doubtful issue, which depends on the customers agreement to share the requested information. It means that buyers are the ones to decide whether to allow companies to intrude in their lives or not.
Unfair pricing is one of the most sensitive topics to people, who strive to purchase products of the highest quality at the most affordable price. The majority of customers claim that companies set unfair prices for their products. However, consumers have to buy those goods in order to satisfy their needs. Such inability to refuse to buy a specific product encourages companies to regulate the pricing strategy based on the customers dependency on the product. Fair pricing should be a part of the pro-ethical purchasing, which companies should respect in order to build trustworthy relations with their clientele. There are many issues associated with the unfair pricing; they create additional difficulties for customers. The misleading price reduction is one of the most widespread problems; it indicates that a company did not decrease a price, at all. Many customers do not pay attention to such a phenomenon while others feel irritated by the fact that a business tries to mislead them in order to improve the sales. Usually, companies increase their prices and then start advertising their products by claiming a high price reduction (Caner & Banu 2014). It aims at attracting the customers attention and encouraging them to buy a product. However, the client has no doubts that a company took care of reducing the price. In this way, advertisements of the reduced prices are deceitful and unfair in terms of promoting a good or service. Companies expect buyers to believe that the product has a reduced price, which makes it more available. In this way, sellers practice many misleading tools related to the pricing strategies without any limits. It creates a broad background to evaluate the strategies, which can impress the customer and increase the sales based on the ability of the first to trust the last. In this way, a company misuses the clients trust and offers the product at the most favourable price, which a person considers the most affordable one. The problem is that businesses have no restriction to fool consumers and abuse their interests in order to sell their products and services. It means that a customer cannot understand when a company sets appropriate prices for the products and when not. Such events as the Black Friday, for example, are used to mislead customers by huge discounts, which seem to be extremely attractive (Ferrell & Ferrell 2009). However, many companies discount fictional prices. They believe that customers will not pay attention that the discount has no connection to the full price of the product (Greblikaite & Pervazaite 2014). In this way, sellers fool their buyers and continue to attract their attention by bright stands with alarming signs of massive sales. It is the fastest way to increase the sales.
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The problem of the international marketing takes place almost in every country. For example, when the country decides to enhance the overall level of the nations health, some problems may occur to manufacturers of alcohol and cigarettes. Many governments launch discouraging advertisements concerning smoking and drinking; it means that some companies will have a lower level of sales in these countries (Par?lt?, Demirgunes & Ozsacmac? 2015). In this case, manufacturers of cigarettes and alcohol focus on less developed states, which are more likely to remain consuming tobacco products. It is an unethical phenomenon, which signifies that market players do not take care of their customers (Maignan & Ferrell 2004). Toxic toys, meds, clothes, and other goods, which are most likely to harm the health of buyers, have a high penetration in undeveloped countries. Companies are ready to set the lowest prices for such products in order to make them available to people from those regions. Moreover, many businesses can offer free samples in order to encourage customers to purchase their products (Muncy 2004). In addition, undeveloped countries fall under a considerable threat of the exploitation of inexpensive working force. In this way, companies improve their performance and reduce costs spent on human resources. International marketing of many businesses does not care about a moral aspect of the product distribution. It has sensitivity to neither the customers health nor ethical principles. In general, international marketing considers all ethical issues including unfair pricing, misleading advertisement, and deceptive packaging (Soba & Aydin 2011). Companies aim at winning the loyalty of customers in the international arena by adapting to the terms of their living. It is obvious that the adaptation happens both in the negative and in the positive dimensions. However, there is a need to create a regulation of the international marketing, which will prevent companies from damaging lives and health of the populations of underdeveloped countries. Otherwise, there will always be a dark side of marketing, which has a destructive impact on many nations at the global level.
Part C: Issues Overview
The analysed issues mentioned in the article have a significant part in shaping the contemporary marketing ethics. Every company is aware of the problems, which are studied in various studies and publications. However, it is obvious that there are no changes in the promotional strategies used by global manufacturers. It is a fact that every organization strives to increase its productivity and impress customers by offering countless discounts and bright advertisements. However, there are many violations in the marketing research, advertising, pricing, and international marketing, as well. All these problems have penetrated deep into the performance of every company.
Marketing cannot have a regulation developed by a single organization. Today, in the world, there are at least two bodies, which strive to solve the problems mentioned above. The American Marketing Association and the Better Business Bureau are among the organizations, which strive to take care of the customers satisfaction from the point of the manufacturers performance. In fact, it is impossible to control every organization according to the ethical issues mentioned in the majority of journal articles. It is hard to control the marketing strategies of all businesses from the ethical viewpoint as the methods of regulating their marketing campaigns can vary. In addition, the problems named above are hidden in the companys ability to manipulate its resources in the combination with the customers needs and tastes. It is an issue, which penetrates the performance of many companies.
Advertising will always remain the companys vital element in terms of the promotional strategies of products and services. It is impossible to create advertisements, which will not mislead customers. It is a sad fact that advertising does not reflect the true characteristics of goods. However, companies continue to use advertising in order to attract customers attention and encourage them to buy a product, which might be useless. The contemporary world lives in the era of globalization; it means that advertisements take place at every step. TV and radio are not the only sources of advertisings, which cause a significant influence on the customers mind. In general, companies have a huge effect on the consumer behaviour by deciding on ones ability to purchase. In fact, advertising makes a person think about various products and develop a need for them.
Pricing strategies also continue to be the objects of the companys regulation, which customers cannot judge and organizations cannot forbid. It is a problem that customers cannot avoid from the ethical point of view. In combination with packaging, companies create a favourable environment for their performance by faking that they offer more amount of product at the same price. It is an effective combination, which manipulates the customers desire to receive a maximum benefit from every purchase. It is a fact that companies are not interested in selling their products at the price, which will decrease the level of sales. However, customers tend to trust manufacturers and take a chance of purchasing more products. It is a common problem of the humanity, which depends on advertisements and loud promises of huge sales. A business will never put a discount, which will not benefit it. Every sale means that a company intentionally offers a deal for a fictional price, which misleads the customer and creates a wrong impression that the price is incredibly low. In this way, companies use customers naive belief in purchasing more products. As a result, many customers let companies fool them and use their inability to see the real side of every sale.
International marketing, in its turn, remains a developing part of marketing ethics, which is most likely to have more dark sides than any other issue. It is already known that global corporations tend to target underdeveloped areas of the world, where it is possible to exploit cheap human resources and make them work for more hours at the lowest salary possible. It is not the only factor that ruins many businesses in the contemporary world. Even though some countries ban certain products in order to protect the nations health, companies do not stop the manufacturing process. In their turn, manufacturers try to concentrate on states, which are less developed and less attentive to the negative aspects of goods. Toxic products penetrate the market of these countries and continue to influence these local markets. In this way, businesses survive in the world of intense competition by offering dangerous goods.
In general, it became obvious that marketing ethics still has many issues, for which the global society needs to find solutions in order to have a positive effect on the development of the market, in general. Today, business remains spoiled by fake advertisements and promotions used by companies in order to impress the target audience and the most sensitive customers. For example, children experience a pressure from manufacturers that are trying to impress them with bright toys. In turn, parents purchase these products in order to make their children satisfied and happy. When a new toy is advertised, children develop a new desire. A few consumers have been thinking about such phenomenon, which continues to take place regardless of the consumers age. A rapid development of the business segment leads to the diversification of customers tastes and needs. Today, companies dictate new trends, which create a demand for innovative products. In general, it is possible to assume that the contemporary world requires an effective rethinking strategy, which can change the existing marketing strategies. Customers deserve to get a realistic image of products and receive a guaranteed benefit upon purchasing them. Otherwise, the world will be full of fake products and services, which cannot benefit the society.