Unethical practices in Marketing

28/07/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

The American Marketing Association is more than a steward and advocate of marketing ethics in society; right from its preamble, you might assume that the people who outlined the association’s ethics had some discerning mothers.

Unethical Data Collection

Market research is incredibly valuable for businesses throughout all stages of their operations; utilising accurate consumer data in the composition and execution of market strategies can greatly boost the effectiveness and ROI of promotional activities. Data collection must be conducted ethically, however.

You should carefully consider governmental data and privacy protection policies before embarking on market research activities, and ensure full compliance with these regulations. In Europe, businesses must refer to General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while companies registered in the US can utilise the nation’s own privacy protection laws.

Making false or deceptive comparisons about a rival product. Much more prevalent 20 years ago among general consumer products, you still might see this crop up in the tech sector. (Think smartphones.) Competition tends to be fierce when rivals resort to side-by-side comparisons. And consumers may find such a technique helpful, as long as the information is accurate and truthful.

Inciting fear or applying unnecessary pressure. “Limited time offers” are notorious for the latter, which is fine if a deadline really exists and the tone doesn’t sound threatening.

Exploiting emotions or a news event. Such instances pop up every once in a while, then make a quick exit when consumers complain about feeling manipulated.

Disparaging references to age, gender, race or religion. Many professional comics have learned the hard way that the line between humor and bad taste can be painfully thin. It might be easier to see if the humor packs an insult or a put-down that makes you grimace.

Doctoring photos or using photos that are not authentic representations. Most people expect professional photographers and videographers to make the most of lighting and close-ups. But the finished products should be accurate depictions that are free of touch-ups and other enhancement techniques that are designed to mislead.

Plagiarizing a competitor. For a small-business owner, discovering that a competitor has copied or impinged on a tagline, blog post or promotion can be painful or infuriating.

Stereotyping or depicting women as sex symbols merely to draw attention to a product. “While it might be intuitive to use models in adverts for beauty products and cosmetics, having half-naked models in adverts for generators, heavy machinery, smartphones and other products not strongly related to women is both nonsensical and unethical,” says Profitable Venture.

Selective Marketing

The practice of customer segmentation can become immoral if it results in selective marketing, a term that describes the exclusion of particular types of consumers, most commonly determined by their sexual orientation, ethnicity, weight, or physical mobility.

This selective marketing discourages demand among so-called ‘Undesirable‘ consumers who are considered to be unprofitable or damaging to the brand’s image, by making them feel unwanted and unwelcome, whether through lack of inclusion in marketing campaign representation, restricted customer targeting, or deliberate limitations of product ranges.