Marketing Ethics and Social Responsibility
Title: unethical dimensions of promoting credit cards: Providing Incomplete Information which is misleading
Abstract: Ethics and Social responsibility are a serious business issue and an immediate concern for society’s welfare. Many corporations have designed their code of ethics and their social responsibility concerns to help the marketing managers and other stakeholders make effective decisions. This article will highlight on the unethical ways which are practiced to market and sell the credit cards.
Introduction: What actually bugs a user or a consumer is the way promotional activities are conducted by the marketers where in promises are not kept in cases of free items, more quantity at the same price, contests, coupons, price discounts are also not adhered to. The problem arises when it is time to execute these promises and face the ethical issues where by the bundling of the free items takes place at the time of purchase of the product or the service. In this article Credit cards will be targeted upon to study the ways the promotional activities are conducted to attract and new customers and to make the existing customers buy more and more products.
Description of product or service: The best way according to the marketers to sell off the credit cards is exercised when contests and coupons are introduced into the marketing system which in major instances provides misleading information. Credit cards are the most commonly marketed and sold entities where in Mass Marketing technique has been adopted without actually customizing the product based on the needs of the consumers.
Ethical Implications: In the example of credit cards, the most common unethical sales promotions which have been encountered are ‘Become a credit card holder and fly to Singapore’. These are the prominent promotional schemes which are seen in the headlines during the season of shopping. Although the prior intention is to attract the attention of the ignorant customers by these short and sweet entertainment messages that they end up getting fooled at face value at the time of executing the last option – prize. These riders to attractive prizes are not been disclosed unless been probed or asked for fine prints. How this actually works up is the members of the credit cards does not by chance gets qualified as a customer to enjoy the prize but there are certain clauses and terms and conditions embedded where in the cards would have to be redeemed for a certain amount for a specific period of time and then only be eligible for getting entitled for the draw that will be held at a later time which would then be awarded a winner.
Another such version is that for new card holders, there will be a waiver in the fees charged as an annual membership fee for the first year. The information that is hidden he is that only when the card gets issued, the membership fee bill comes along and the fee is linked to the aspect of spending a fixed amount within a specified time limit.
Managerial advice for changes: The management should cater to these unethical practices by following a code of ethics for holding such sales promotion techniques where in these codes will have the coverage of the dos and don’ts and the manner in which such advertisements should be conducted. In this example the marketing managers will have to deal with the ‘False and Misleading Advertising’ that is bothering the common man. Thus providing an ethics guidelines and a checklist in a written mode will help the employees get tuned to the business practices and will in turn avoid confusion. Major companies do incorporate Ethics training for their employees to put the code of ethics into practice.
Should the product remain on the market?: Yes, the product can definitely remain in the market because of the usage of the product but it needs to be properly channel zed by the firm to provide the complete information without the ambiguity in terms and fulfilling the promises. Hence the companies should stop exaggerating the product’s visual appeal which is stepped and creeped into the business practice in order to stimulate more demand.
Conclusion: The misleading information that is targeted at the customers could be seriously causing harm to the unsuspecting consumers there by; judging between the accuracy and the reliability is a huge concern and a challenge for the consumers. Financial Institutions need to take utmost measures to follow the advertising and the promotional rules in a fair and reasonable manner which will help overcome the problem of misleading information. Moreover, the consumers should conduct a thorough research on their finances, able to analyze the information available, compare the alternative choices, and make enquiries before actually making the decision of purchasing.
ConsumerCouncil. (2002). Concerns over advertising tactics
of loans and credit cards. Retrieved 24/09/2008, from Consumer Council Website: http://www2.consumer.org.hk/p307/p307e.htm
ICMR. (2006). Marketing Management: Book of Readings. The ICFAI center for management research, Hyderabad.
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American Intercontinental University publishes The Marketing Scene, an `online destination for professionals and consumers to discuss new ways of marketing, the effectiveness of advertising trends, specific ad campaigns, and the impact this information has on our society`.
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Ethics and social responsibility are extremely important in marketing today.
Pick a product or service currently marketed that `bothers` you.
* Discuss what you think to be the ethical implications of the products or services introduction into the market place.
* Discuss what you would do (or change) if you were the marketing manager in charge of that offering.
* Discuss whether you think the product should be marketed or not.