Marketing Research and Strategy the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

These issues are discussed further below.

Importance of Research in Relation to an Organization's Marketing Strategy and Tactics. In recent years, savvy marketers have increasingly been targeting discrete consumer segments through differentiated marketing techniques. According to the authors, "The distinctive nature of various consumer groups such as children, the elderly, women, and ethnic minorities has made them attractive market segments" (p. 364). Market segmentation and targeted marketing, though, are not without their dangers if what is being marketed is inappropriate for the intended consumers. "Targeting potentially harmful products at vulnerable and disadvantaged consumers such as children, the elderly, and inner-city residents has received negative publicity and been subjected to damaging litigation" (p. 364). In an increasingly dynamic and increasingly competitive globalized marketplace, though, companies that fail to take advantage of the tools that are available will be at a distinct disadvantage, but even companies that are not specifically engaged in producing "harmful" products such as alcohol and tobacco can exploit such market research techniques to the detriment of those targeted: "Cases of consumer discontent from time to time raise questions about the ethical implications of market segmentation and targeted marketing, most notably the targeting of harmful products at vulnerable consumers, such as targeting alcohol and cigarettes at inner-city consumers and churning insurance policies to the elderly" (emphasis added) (p. 365). The question, then, seems to relate to how much personal information a company requires to fine-tune its marketing efforts, balanced against the ethical considerations involved in its collection.

In view of the unscrupulous practices of many companies, though, survival would seem to indicate that too little research spells certain failure: "The increasing willingness of some large corporations to exploit vulnerable consumers indicates unfair treatment of these consumers and a lack of justice in the marketplace" (p. 365). While such practices may appear to represent the only means by which such marketing practices can be harmful to consumers, the authors point out that market research can also be used to exclude unwanted consumers of a product or service: "Meanwhile, the opposite of targeting -- the exclusion of certain consumers from a company's offerings -- is just as controversial" (p. 365). Certainly, these issues are not restricted to marketers of consumer goods; almost every type of business that is involved with the public - which is to say virtually all businesses - are subject to such ethical considerations regarding how much market research is enough to satisfy the needs of the organization.

Conclusion

In their essay, "Consumer Interests and the Ethical Implications of Marketing: A Contingency Framework," Choudhury and Cui conclude that in view of the increasing globalization of the world's marketplaces, more businesses are crossing national boundaries to produce and market their products in other countries. In the past, many multinationals were able to conduct their market research practices with a view to targeting marginalized peoples in developing nations; however, the same forces that are driving the internationalization of the world's economies have profound implications for these same companies today: "Thus, how the local communities of the global marketplace evaluate the marketing practices of multinational corporations has become an important subject of investigation" (p. 366). In the final analysis, the question of ethics may not be as complicated as previous research suggests, but rather relates to a common sense approach that embraces a "Golden Rule" approach to market research and target marketing techniques.

References

Choudhury, P. & Cui, G. (2003). Consumer Interests and the Ethical Implications…

Sources Used in Document:

References

Choudhury, P. & Cui, G. (2003). Consumer Interests and the Ethical Implications of Marketing: A Contingency Framework. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 37(2), 364.

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