Research reveals that in the modern business world where perfect economies prevail, any business organization is anticipated to behave in the best way possible in order to attain its goals. The main function of any marketing objectives in a firm is to augment competitive advantage of any business. Further research indicates that any business firm attains a competitive advantage over its rivals if it market products and services that meet the needs of the customers.
Recent surveys indicates that by businesses failing to utilize any marketing practices that are considered ethically good they will ultimately end up loosing potential market share since the external public may loose trust on the company, have negative perception of the products or services that the firm offers, result to unhappy clients and at some other instances a business may be sued for its negligence which may result to lose of business. Therefore any business firm should be very keen with regards to satisfying the ever changing needs and wants of its clients thus building a long-term relationship as well as goodwill which are very essential to any business that seeks to succeed.
In addition any business that involves itself in ethical abuses often may be subjected to what is termed as social or administration pressures particularly government pressure which may result to severe punishment that ranges from fine to closure of business. Such actions definitely imply that businesses that don’t follow marketing ethical values are bound to fail since customers will not use their products because of bad reputation caused. Governments play a key role in ensuring that good marketing practices are followed for instance in some situations firms that don’t follow required ethical norms may end up being blacklisted thus making customers not to use the firm’s products. For instance the frequent calls for observing social responsibility context have contributed immensely to businesses to follow good ethical marketing practices that are meant to protect consumer rights.
Business ethics is defined as the norms or standards of behavior that guide moral choices about the conduct of the personnel in a business organization and the relationship with its publics. The goal of business ethics is to ensure the safety of the employees, management, and the external publics from suffering the consequences from the business activities of the particular organization (Murphy, 1998).
Business ethics along with social responsibility defines what the organization ought to do in the management of the business. The social responsibility of a business organization towards the society merits considerations in all the faces of strategic management, whereby the organization must exercise strategic planning through environmental and organizational appraisal in order to provide answers to what an organization might do and what it can do.
The span of business ethics is extensive and can be measured from different perspectives. In this case the organizations’ management should ensure that several ethical considerations must be balanced for the business to be successful in its operations and relations with its employees and the surroundings of its business (Berman, and Evans, 1998).
It is not ethically good for business firms to engage in deceptive behavior for instance by firms producing products that make the clients to believe that they will be satisfied but in the real sense they will not be satisfied. Such marketing activities are considered misleading since the clients will not reap the benefits that they were earlier meant to get when they first heard of the product. In business context deception by business firms may be through distortion of information regarding the product, exclusion of certain features as well as practices of marketing that are regarded to be deceptive or confusing among other deceptive actions. Many businesses are engaged in deceptive conducts by giving out information of products to customers which are not true as per say and customers always should try and safeguard themselves against such practices in order to be fully aware in the market. However, it should be noted that such responses by the customers can only be witnessed when clients shift from using the product reported to be misleading and trying other products that provides same purpose.
In other instances firms engage in offering products to customers at misleading prices; this scenario is considered unethical in the business industry since the customer has a right to know the real value of the product and buy its at its genuine price. By firms pricing their products in such a manner that consumers will suppose that they are actually purchasing the products at a cheaper value than it is meant while just that is a gimmick of attracting customers is considered unethical (Kotler and Armstrong, 1999).
Further, businesses should not engage themselves in advertising practices that makes the customers think otherwise of the products i.e. features or needs that the customers cannot derive from the products when they purchase the products as advertised. Other issue unethical concerns include wrong packaging, stating wrong size, weight and contents of the products being marketed. Further business organizations that market products that are considered harmful to the consumers’ breaks the rule of good ethical marketing values that guides good marketing practices in a competitive market place (Sirgy, Joseph, Dong-Jin, and Lee, 1998).
Any business organization particularly the marketing department should clearly weigh the language that they use in marketing its products. In fact any individual who come sin to direct contact with customers should use decent language with good communication skills. Further any information from the marketing department either through direct contacts or promotional activities should be clearly defined in order to avoid negative perception that customers will have when they realize the mistakes of the firm. For instance, some individuals may regard adverts which are sexy and tempting portrayed by a firm to be offensive and to other people such adverts may not go well with their traditions and cultures. Such moves imply that certain customers may shift from using such products advertised because they don’t want to be associated with such behaviors. The issue of direct marketing for instance, salespersons frequently visiting people in an effort to persuade them may not go well with other people and therefore business organizations should read such signs well in advance so as to foster good relationships with its clients (American Marketing Association, 1998).
The firm should also design marketing and whole organization structures that help in the flow of information, meaning it should avoid overloading managers and expecting them to be the providers of information and lastly the firm should have written records including the assumptions that they make about their work this point makes it clear that one should not assume that everyone else in the company thinks in the same way he does whereby one should make sure that key decisions are recorded such as points of agreement reached during project meetings.
Another ethical issue in business is the social reaction of the organization that is the manager should create a positive work place that will have its employees engage and encouraged to attain high performances. He may do this by setting the right expectations from each department of the organization; he should encourage the workers into productive work by rewarding the best performance through raising of the payment by recognition of the workforce applied by the employee. For the firm to maximize the individual performance the manager should have job security concerns for his employees, under which when an employee is confident of his or her job security at the workplace, his performance is far much better than a case where he or she is not sure of being retained in the next year. The managers’ impact on employee satisfaction is great and immeasurable. It is therefore important that managers look for convenient, cost-conscious and appreciated ways of motivation in order to build a dynamic, committed and workforce that will result in better productivity (Barnett, Bass, Brown, and Hebert, 1998).
The success of an organization basically depends on the employees using their full skills and knowledge in their production therefore these employees require motivation. The employee Motivation normally involves, the compensation system which is the activity of giving the employees what they really want most from work, it therefore makes the manager get his expectations from the employees, this expectations may include, production of quality goods and services. Motivation enables the employees to have their goals in the organization achieved; they will have a positive perspective on their position in the organization. Motivation also creates the influence to change and build employees self-esteem and capacity to work. The managers have the responsibility of motivating workers, when the organizational structure is experiencing changes, the manager should come up with a plan that will define the environmental factors that will be able to bring an atmosphere of integrity, honesty, and confidence to the employees.
Another ethical concern in marketing activities is adverts directed to young children or adverts that may not be good for children to listen or view them when it is being aired in different media channels. Although children in the modern world forms close to sixty percent of the target markets in terms of products that are being marketed, it is prudent for marketers to consider ethical considerations before reaching to the targeted market. Children are not mature like adults and therefore it is more likely that they will react to different adverts in very unique ways considering their psychological conditions. For instance, children are more vulnerable to adverts of sex, alcohol and cigarettes than adults since they may want to practice what is being aired in order to enjoy the particular product being promoted (Murphy, 1998).
The question of internet and children has raised several ethical concerns and parents nowadays are now in tricky situations on how to deal with their children behavior. Many marketing activities are being undertaken through the internet; for example, at times immoral marketers devise websites which are not good for children since at times children may escape guardian supervisions that access the sites (Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising, 1997).
Business ethics can also be considered in the dimension of social responsiveness that is the organization must respond to the needs of the community, therefore the management should adopt a process that is meant to define the actual tactics to be utilized in achieving its goals. The appropriate process is known as the marketing mix, it carries four elements which include; Product, this is where organization’s aim will be to define the characteristics of its products that will enable the goods to meet the consumer needs, Price, which is the decision on how the company should price its products, Promotion, this is a process through which the organization should make its products known to its customers and lastly the Place, an element which is the mechanism through which the goods of an organization will be moved from the organization to its consumers.
For the organization to achieve recognition of its products through which its marketing opportunities have chances to enlarge, then it should be able to have its target consumers, this is normally achieved depending on the following factors; the consumers desires and preferences for its products, geographical factors, location, gender and also age, these factors should be determined before the organization make a decision on a particular market segmentation which will later give its products a marketing opportunity. This segmentation should match differences in the buying behavior of the customers under which the firm should consider the product competition in the market, by stating plans on how organization will overcome the competitors’ strength through which it analyzes the number of competitors, their size, location and their strengths and weaknesses in the market (Kotler and Armstrong, 1999).
Under market segmentation, the firm should be able to state what the customers seek in its products, whether it is the quality, price or convenience, through this it will be able to identify the needs and the benefits that its customers will gain from the products.
For the firm’s marketing mix the following elements can be applied: product-it should ensure that before the product is promoted into the market, the characteristics of the products should be well defined to meet the needs of the consumers, the packaging of the product should be attractive to entice the customers to buy the product, the quality of the product should be perfect that is it should be the quality that matches with the prescription of the product in the market so that it can maintain its consumers who are not misled with the misrepresentation of the qualities with its competitors.
Public relations should be considered as another ethical issue applied in business. It is the process of correcting the reputation of the organization to the targeted consumers with the current issues of the organization. This normally involves the evaluation of public and personal opinions over a particular issue, formulation of procedures related to communication between the organization and consumers, and co-ordination of communication programs within and external the particular departments of the organization. The use of public relations is, to enhance a positive awareness of the organization to the public. Public relations-this should be applied in the firm which will lead to a sustained and a planned effort in establishing and bringing understanding between the organization and its consumers (Rallapalli, 1999)
Business ethics is crucial to any organization and therefore the management should give much attention in ensuring that the business is conducted in a fair and an objective manner. This means the needs of the community should be met while the organizational goals are achieved without much difficulty.
It is evident that the world economic order is ever changing and business organizations ought to change tactics by strictly following ethical ideals that is recommended in the particular industry instead of only concentrating with merely the product or service that it offers to the market.
It should be noted that in this competitive business world, any business firm should conduct itself in a good manner which in the long run will lead to its clients being happy with their undertakings thus reaching out to a larger market share. In essence, any business firm that wishes to succeed in its undertakings ought to provide services and products that are of good quality, generally acceptable to the members of the public as well as meeting the set standards set by the local bureau of standards body (Rieck, 1998).
- American Marketing Association, (1998): American Marketing Association Code of Ethics: – New York: AMA, pp. 5-20
- Barnett, T., Bass, K., Brown, F. & Hebert, J. (1998): Ethical Ideology and the Ethical Judgments of Marketing Professionals: Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 719-720
- Berman, B. and Evans, R. (1998): Retail Management: A Strategic Approach: 7th Edition, New York. Prentice Hall, pp. 56-78
- Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (1999): Principles of Marketing: 8th Edition. New York, Prentice-Hall, pp. 72-132
- Mahoney, A. (1999): Talking about Ethics: – Association Management, March issue, pp. 44-45
- Murphy, P. (1998): Ethics in Advertising. Review, Analysis, and Suggestions: Journal of Public Policy and Marketing Fall, pp. 113-122
- Rallapalli, K. (1999): A Paradigm for Development and Promulgation of a Global Code of Marketing Ethics. Journal of Business Ethics, pp. 129-133
- Rieck, D., (1998): Balancing Ethics and Profitability: – Direct Marketing, October issue, pp. 55
- Self-Regulatory Guidelines for Children’s Advertising, (1997): Children advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. New York, p. 86
- Sirgy, M., Joseph, L., Dong-Jin, K. and Lee, H. (1998): Does Television Viewership Play a Role in the Perception of Quality of Life? Journal of Advertising Spring p. 133