Uploaded by johannes kombedzayi

marketing assignment

[Q1].Most decisions by marketing managers have ethical and social
consequences. An ethics perspective involves addressing the morality of
marketing decisions. Given extensive ethics perspectives on marketing and
discuss the importance of legal and ethical considerations for marketing
communications as well as advertising and public relations. [50]
[Q2].Marketing as an organizational philosophy and a societal process is related
to the way marketing is performed by organizations and individuals. Discuss
marketing as a process in the following areas;
(i)Consumer buying behavior.
(ii)Market segmentation.
(iii)Marketing channels.
[Q1] Simply stated, ethics refers to the study of moral principles, or “right and
wrong in professional conduct or organizational behavior”, therefore marketing
ethics is all about marketers doing the “right thing”. Exactly what the right thing is
is not always completely clear cut since what is “right” may vary depending on
whether you are looking at it from the perspective of the company, its customers or
the society in which they both exist.
There is however several basic principles involved in ethical marketing that is,
taking responsibility, dealing fairly and respecting consumers’ rights among others.
In the issue of taking responsibility, marketers need to take responsibility for their
products and their decisions. In the past marketers have often responded to social
concern about particular products by defending them on the basis of “It was what
the customer wanted”. Also by looking at the issue of dealing fairly, marketers
need to be honest and fair in their dealings with all stakeholders (Capacino, 1994,
p224). This means that products must be fit for use and accurately described, and
contracts both formal and implicit should be drawn up in good faith and honored
and lastly by looking at the issue of respecting consumer rights, marketers should
take into account the right of redress, the right to information and the right to
Most decisions made by marketing managers have ethical and social consequences.
Some decisions made by marketing managers such as target market selection have
ethical consequences. Marketers have been criticized recently for the selection of
target markets, especially for targeting disadvantaged or vulnerable segments of a
society with harmful products. Examples include marketing sugared cereals and
junk foods to children or cigarettes and alcoholic beverages to ethnic minorities
and socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. The use of such target marketing
strategies in an international context also has been excoriated. Examples include
marketing Tobacco products and chemicals and pesticides to developing countries.
These practices have become social issues because of the products’ potential to
harm and the disadvantage of these markets in the world.
Predatory pricing is also another decision made by marketing managers which
oftenly results in ethical and social consequences. Predatory Pricing In developing
nations where the bulk of the populace is still employed in small and medium
enterprises, the use of predatory pricing by large multinational corporations in
order to wipe out competition is an ethical issue (Ewin,2012,p157). While
proponents of no holds barred pricing would attribute this to an unfettered free
market, the fact remains that the larger issue is the threat of wiping out the
livelihood of a large number of people. Some authorities view dumping as a kind
of predatory pricing especially in the context of international trade. It occurs when
manufacturers exports a product to another country at a price either below the price
charged in its home market or in quantities that cannot be explained through
normal market competition. If this marketing decision causes harm or threatens the
domestic industry in the importing country can be considered as a social
consequence for example the exportation of Chinese products like toothpastes to
developing countries like Zimbabwe among others which are causing harm to the
citizens of the importing country, however under the World Trade Organization
dumping is not prohibited but it is condemned if it causes material injuries in the
domestic industry of the importing country. These above mentioned marketing
decisions are not the only ones, some of which are price discrimination, price
fixing, price skimming, price war, variable pricing and bid rigging which may
results in ethical and social consequences.
A brief and concise definition of an ethical perspective is that it is a moral view.
Examples of ethical perspectives of marketing are that being dishonest and lying to
consumers is wrong because it is morally wrong to mislead consumers about the
features and functionalities of a product because if the consumers find out about
the product they may sue the company responsible for misleading them and forcing
them to buy a product which does not meet their needs, for example Nokia in
trying to revive its business by challenging Apple Inc.’s products such as the
iPhone published misleading marketing materials for its product called the Nokia
Lumia 920 Smartphone which is morally wrong because they tried to revive its
business by making false publications about the product in the expense of
misleading the consumers.
Simply stated Marketing Communications or MarCom or Integrated Marketing
Communications are messages and related media used to communicate with a
market. Marketing communications is the "promotion" part of the "Marketing
Mix" or the "four Ps" that is, price, place, promotion and product. These messages
are in the form of advertisements found in different types of media such as
televisions, magazines, radios among others. Marketing Communications is the
department that deals in handling all communications for the company. Depending
on the kind of company and the industry they are in, this department is sometimes
called the corporate communications or the product marketing division at times.
In branding, every opportunity to impress the organization’s or the individual’s
brand upon the customer is called a brand touch point or brand contact point.
Examples include everything from TV and other media advertisements, event
sponsorships, webinars, and personal selling to even product packaging. Thus,
every experiential opportunity that an organization creates for its stakeholders or
customers is a brand touch point. Hence, it is vitally important for brand strategists
and managers to survey their organization’s entire brand touch points and control
for the stakeholder's or customer's experience. Marketing communications, as a
vehicle of an organization's brand management, is concerned with the promotion of
an organization's brand, product or service to stakeholders and prospective
customers through these touch points. Since the marketing communications is
responsible for all the communications that occur in an organization it is therefore
important for them to make legal and ethical considerations in their operations.
This taking of legal and ethical issues into consideration is vitally important
because it helps an organization in coming up with advertisements with messages
which does not in turn result in undesirabilities such as loss of market share and
sales revenue for example if a company is advertising its products or services it
should try by all means to avoid tarnishing the image of the competitors products
or services as this may be seen as unethical and this may in turn result in loss of
market share and thus sales revenue. Also a firm should try by all means to
conduct its advertisements in the most acceptable or appropriate manner for
example it should try to avoid scenes of nudity where unnecessary as this maybe
regarded by consumers as unethical and this may have negative implications on the
organization and they should make sure that their advertisements are in accordance
with the laws and regulations in the advertising act , therefore marketing
communications should always take into consideration the legal and ethical issues
in its marketing decisions in order to achieve the most desirable outcomes.
Now by looking at advertising, a precise definition states that advertising is a form
of communication for marketing and used to encourage or persuade an audience
that is, viewers, readers or listeners and sometimes a specific group to continue or
take some new action. (Kotler, 2000, p281) defined advertising as any paid form of
nonpersonal presentation and promotion of ideas, goods, or services by an
identified sponsor. Advertisers include not only business firms but also museums,
charitable organizations, and government agencies that direct messages to target
publics. Advertising messages are usually paid for by sponsors and viewed via
various traditional media including mass media such as newspapers, magazines,
outdoor advertising or direct mail or new media such as blogs, websites or text
messages therefore, marketing managers should take into account legal and ethical
issues when advertising in order to achieve the most desirable outcomes. The
advertising industry operates within strict regulations which are legislated in the
advertising act and is also monitored by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe
(SAZ). Even with truth-in-advertising laws in place, advertisers have significant
leeway to violate the ethical standards of a wide range of consumers. Advertisers
have to be especially careful to act ethically at all times, taking extra care when
advertising to children, advertising potentially harmful products and using
psychological tactics to stimulate demand. Having a list of ethical and legal issues
at hand when creating advertisements can help them to craft legal, responsible ad
messages. Most of the times children are not likely to understand exaggerated
statements or images, citing the example that children may believe a toy helicopter
to come fully assembled when in fact assembly is required. This interpretation of
the law completely ignores the unethical ramifications of purely legal advertising,
such as building brand loyalty in children before they even understand what a
brand is, encouraging children to develop negative self images or getting children
hooked on products that can impede social development. The best way to act
ethically in this area is to advertise to parents, not children hence there is need for
marketing managers to take into consideration legal and ethical issues when
making their advertising decisions.
Also advertising tactics present additional ethical challenges. Advertisers have a
range of less than ethical yet legal tools at their disposal, including subliminal
advertising, emotional appeals, taking advantage of less educated individuals,
spreading propaganda for political campaigns, and other tactics ethical advertisers
consistently refrain from using. At the end of the day, consumers will be more
attracted to companies that do not use underhanded, psychologically manipulative
tactics to gain their business hence the need for marketing managers to take into
account the legal and ethical issues when making advertising decisions.
Public relations involves communicating in public, which means a business will
be subject to a range of ethical and legal considerations. Laws on defamation,
privacy and copyright will apply to a company when transmitting information or
expressing its opinions. An organization should always remember that every
message it releases influences consumers' opinions about it therefore it should keep
its public statements consistent with its brand and key messages. It should try not
to distract consumers from its messages by commenting on unrelated or unworthy
issues (Kotler, 2000, p293).An organization should make sure that its public
relations reflects the ethics of its business and it must be clear on its public
relations principles for example, choosing not to make negative comments about
customers, competitors or suppliers will strengthen its credibility and reduce risks
of damage to its reputation.
Certain public relations recommendations such as staying honest and consistent
with its messages should be taken into account also because consumers can easily
spot double standards, distortions and hypocritical statements. Also an organization
should not fight its competitors in public. If an organization keeps its criticisms
and disagreements with its competitors and suppliers out of the spotlight it shows
good grace and it keeps its public relations professional(Newman,1997,p267). An
organization should therefore always keep its public relations focused and
professional hence the importance of considering legal and ethical issues when
making marketing decisions on the part of the marketing managers.
A precise definition of Marketing by the American Marketing Association(AMA)
states that it is a process of planning and executing the conception, pricing,
promotion and distribution of ideas, goods and services to create exchanges to
satisfy both individual and organizational objectives. Marketing as an
organizational philosophy and societal process is related to the way marketing is
performed by organizations and individuals.
Marketing as a societal process is related to the way marketing is performed by
organizations and individuals in such a way that a company should make good
marketing decisions by considering consumers' wants, the company's requirements,
and society's long-term interests. It is closely linked with the principles of
corporate social responsibility and of sustainable development. The societal
marketing concept holds that the organization’s task is to determine the needs,
wants, and interests of a target market and to deliver the desired satisfactions more
effectively and efficiently than competitors in a way that preserves or enhances the
consumer’s and the society’s well-being.
By looking also at marketing as an organizational philosophy we see that a firm's
marketing department is often seen as of prime importance within the functional
level of an organization. Information from an organization's marketing department
would be used to guide the actions of other departments within the firm. As an
example, a marketing department could ascertain through marketing research that
consumers desired a new type of product, or a new usage for an existing product.
With this in mind, the marketing department would inform the research and
development department to create a prototype of a product or service based on
consumers' new desires, the production department would then start to manufacture
the product, while the marketing department would focus on the promotion,
distribution, pricing, and so forth of the product. Additionally, a firm's finance
department would be consulted, with respect to securing appropriate funding for
the development, production and promotion of the product, therefore we see that
marketing as an organizational philosophy and as a societal process is related to the
way marketing is performed by organizations and individuals(Scholl et
Simply stated, consumer buying behavior is the study of individuals, groups, or
organizations and the processes they use to select, secure, and dispose of products,
services, experiences, or ideas to satisfy needs and the impacts that these processes
have on the consumer and society. It blends elements from psychology, sociology,
social anthropology and economics. There are four types of consumer buying
behavior which are “routine response or programmed behavior” which involves
buying low involvement frequently purchased low cost items which need very little
search and decision effort and purchased almost automatically. Examples include
soft drinks, snack foods, milk among others. The second type of consumer buying
behavior is “limited decision making” which involves buying product occasionally
and requires a moderate amount of time for information gathering. Examples
include Clothes. The third type of consumer buying behavior is the “extensive
decision making” which involves unfamiliar, expensive or infrequently bought
products and it also involves spending a lot of time seeking information and
deciding and the examples include cars, homes, computers and education. The
fourth and last type of consumer buying behavior is “impulse buying” which
involves no conscious planning.
Marketing is considered a process in consumer buying behavior in such a way that
it attempts to understand the buyer decision making process, both individually and
in groups, studies characteristics of individual consumers such as demographics
and behavioral variables in an attempt to understand people's wants and it also tries
to assess influences on the consumer from groups such as family, friends, reference
groups, and society in general.
There are six stages to the consumer buying decision process. Actual purchasing is
only one stage of the process. These stages include problem recognition,
information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, purchase and
post purchase evaluation. In problem recognition that is where we determine the
difference between the desired state and the actual condition for example hunger
stimulates your need to eat. This can be stimulated by the marketer through
product information. By looking at the second stage which is information search,
this is where internal search is carried out and also external search if more
information is needed. In external search information is obtained from friends and
relatives by word of mouth and from marketer dominated sources such as
comparison shopping, public sources among others. A successful information
search leaves a buyer with possible alternatives (Shaver,2007,p226).
The third stage in the consumer buying decision process is the evaluation of
alternatives. Here there is need to establish criteria for evaluating the features the
buyer wants or does not want and rank or weight alternatives or even resume
search. In this stage marketers try to influence by framing alternatives. The next
stage in the consumer buying decision process is purchase decision. In this stage
consumers choose buying alternatives and it includes product, package, store,
method of purchase among others. By looking at the fifth stage of the consumer
buying decision process which is “purchase”, this is where the consumer makes the
actual purchase and the purchase may differ from decision, time lapse between
purchase decision and purchase and product availability. Lastly by looking at post
purchase evaluation which is the sixth and final stage in the consumer buying
decision process, here the consumer determines if he or she has made the right
decision. This can be reduced by warranties, after sales communication and so
many others. Having looked at the above mentioned six stages in the consumer
buying decision process we see that marketing is a process in consumer buying
behavior because for a purchase to occur it involves not just an instant decision but
a series of stages will have to take place until the consumer has finally made a
decision after carefully scrutinizing all the available alternatives.
Market segmentation is the process of defining and subdividing a large
homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants,
or demand characteristics. Its objective is to design a marketing mix that precisely
segment(Consumer.2012).Market segmentation states that a segment must fulfill
the following requirements if it is to be successfully exploited. It must be
measurable, it must be large enough to earn profit, it must be stable enough that it
does not vanish after some time, it must be possible to reach potential customers
via the organization's promotion and distribution channel, it must be internally
homogeneous, it must be externally heterogeneous, that is, potential customers
from different segments have different quality preferences, it must respond
consistently to a given market stimulus, it must be reached by market intervention
in a cost-effective manner and it must be useful in deciding on the marketing mix.
Consumer markets are segmented using the following basis which are geographic
psychological segmentation. In geographic segmentation the market is segmented
according to geographic criteria that is, nations, states, regions, countries, cities,
neighborhoods, or zip codes. Demographic segmentation consists of dividing the
market into groups based on variables such as age, gender, family size, income,
occupation, education, religion, race and nationality. In Behavioral segmentation
consumers are divided into groups according to their knowledge of, attitude
towards, use of or response to a product. It is actually based on the behavior of the
consumer and lastly psychological segmentation is based on the personality types
of individuals in the segment for example home insurance market might segment
its market into those who are afraid of crime, afraid of national disaster or afraid of
accidental damage to their property.
Marketing is regarded as a process in market segmentation because it involves a
series of steps to be taken in order to successfully exploit a certain segment. The
first step to be taken in market segmentation is the establishment of a sample of
customers which will represent the different decision makers found in the specified
market referred to as micro segments, with the difference between them being the
key features they use to discriminate between competing offers and the importance
of these features. The second step involves the recording of personal details about
the decision makers including their company details if appropriate which can then
be used to identify them. For each completed micro segment, add some details
about who it represents using applicable profiling characteristics as these may not
apply to every customer in the micro segment then there is need to indicate the
proportion each characteristic represents. Knowing how to identify and reach the
members of each concluding segment will be a crucial element to the success of a
segmented approach to marketing. The standard categories for profiling customers
are demographic or firmographic, geographic, geodemographic and psychographic.
The third step involves understanding the real needs of customers and then lists the
benefits they are seeking, along with the importance of these benefits for each
micro segment. The forth stage in the market segmentation process involves
bringing together those micro segments that illustrate similar patterns of
importance for the benefits in order to form clusters. Depending on the number of
micro segments a firm will be working with, this may be possible to execute
manually. The simplest approach is to represent the importance levels for each
segment’s decisive buying criteria in a way which enables you to look for
matching patterns across the micro segments. Once the clusters have been formed
the information associated with each cluster’s micro segments that is size, decisive
buying criteria importance levels and profiling characteristics should be
consolidated. In fifth step there is need to verify that the concluding clusters can be
regarded as segments and with the segments uncovered it is time to identify which
of them you should be targeting.
The sixth step involves the establishment of the attractiveness of each segment to
your company based on how well each of them meets your requirements. Here you
list the factors that are important to your company when having to decide where it
should focus its resources, along with their relative importance to each other. Each
segment is then assessed against these factors in terms of how well it can met your
requirements and by taking the relative importance of these factors into account an
attractiveness score is determined and the results are then transposed onto the
vertical axis of a portfolio matrix as this is a useful tool for constructing a strategic
picture of your market.
The last step involves determining the relative competitive strength of your
company for each segment based on how well you, compared with your
competitors, meet their requirements. The ability of your company to deliver
against the buying criteria of each segment is assessed from the segment’s
perspective and by taking the relative importance of these criteria into account, a
competitiveness score is determined. This is also determined for each of your main
competitors. A relative competitiveness score for your company is then calculated
for each segment by comparing your competitiveness score with the highest score
of the competitors. The results are then transposed onto the horizontal axis of the
portfolio matrix containing the segment attractiveness scores and the points of
intersection for each segment are identified on the matrix. A circle can then be
drawn at each intersection to represent the size of the segment it relates to therefore
having implemented the above mentioned series of steps of market segmentation, it
also shows that marketing is a process in marketing segmentation because a firm
does not just target a certain group of people at random without analyzing the
needs and wants of that particular group of people and also without analyzing its
resources in order to determine if they will be able to satisfy the needs of that
particular group therefore there is a need for a firm to implement all of the above
mentioned stages in the market segmentation process if it is to achieve its
Now by looking at marketing channels which are a set of practices or activities
necessary to transfer the ownership of goods, and to move goods, from the point of
production to the point of consumption and, as such, which consists of all the
institutions and all the marketing activities in the marketing process. A marketing
channel is a useful tool for management. Marketing channels serves a lot roles in
marketing strategies and these roles include linking producers to buyers,
performing sales, advertising and promotion, influencing the firm's pricing
strategy, affecting product strategy through branding, policies, willingness to stock
and customizing profits, installing, maintaining, offering credit among others.
A marketing channel can be as short as being direct from the vendor to the
consumer or may include several inter-connected usually independent but mutually
dependent intermediaries such as wholesalers, distributors, agents, retailers. Each
intermediary receives the item at one pricing point and moves it to the next higher
pricing point until it reaches the final buyer (Armstrong.2009) .Market factors such
as business users, geographically concentrated, extensive technical knowledge and
regular servicing required and large orders influences short term channels. Short
term products are influenced by factors such as perishable, complex, and
expensive. Short term producer factors include whether the manufacturer has
adequate resources to perform channel functions, broad product line, and channel
control is important. Short term competitive factors involve manufacturing feeling
satisfied with marketing intermediaries' performance in promoting products.
There are so many different distribution channels and a distribution channel can
have several stages depending on how many organizations are involved in it. These
marketing channels include the channel from the producer to the whosaler to the
retailer to the consumer. This channel contains two stages between producer and
consumer that are a wholesaler and a retailer. A wholesaler typically buys and
stores large quantities of several producers’ goods and then breaks into bulk
deliveries to supply retailers with smaller quantities. For small retailers with
limited order quantities, the use of wholesalers makes economic sense.
The second distribution channel is from the producer to the retailer to the
consumer. This channel contains one intermediary. In consumer markets, this is
typically a retailer. The consumer electrical goods market is a typical example of
this type of marketing channel(Consumer,2012). The third marketing channel is
from the producer and directly to the consumer. It is often called a direct marketing
channel since it has no intermediary levels. In this case the manufacturer sells
directly to customers. An example of a direct marketing channel would be a
factory outlet store. Many holiday companies also market direct to consumers
bypassing a traditional retail intermediary that is, the travel agent. The above
mentioned three marketing channels are illustrated in the diagram below.
Having noted the above mentioned types of marketing channels we see that for a
consumer to acquire the products or services he or she desires, it is not just an
instant event that take place but however, a series of steps or stages has to be taken
into consideration for him or her to acquire the products or services that he or she
desires that is, from the producer or manufacturer through the intermediaries until
the products or services have reached the final consumer therefore marketing is
regarded as a process in marketing channels or distribution channels.
All in all, marketing is regarded as a process in consumer buying behavior, market
segmentation and marketing channels because for a consumer to make a purchase
he or she will have to take a number of steps into consideration until he or she has
made a final decision and sometimes the outright purchase may be different from
the purchase decision due to a variety of factors. Secondly a firm does not just
target any particular group of people without carefully scrutinizing its resources
and also the needs of consumers in that particular group therefore a firm will have
to implement a series of stages until it has made an informed decision on which
segment to target and lastly for the goods and services to be readily available for
purchase or rendering these goods or the services will have to pass through a lot of
phases until they get to the final consumer therefore this series of phases that these
goods will have to pass through shows that marketing is a process and not a once
off thing in all the above mentioned three marketing concepts.
Armstrong, G. (2009). Marketing: an introduction (European Ed.). Harlow,
England. Financial Times Prentice Hall.
Capacino, W.C. (1994)."The Changing Role of the Distributor."Marketing
Management. New York. Prentice Hall.
Consumer. (2012).Consumer Behavior. Retrieved on 18 Sep, 2012.From
Ewin A. (2012), Nokia to conduct ethics review about misleading ad video,
Retrieved on 05 Oct, 2012, fromhttp://www.businessweek.com/news/201209-10/nokia-to-conduct-ethics-review-about-misleading-ads
Kotler, P. (2000).Marketing Management (Tenth Ed).New Jersey. Prentice Hall.
Newman, J.W. (1997). Consumer external search: amount and determinant, New
York. North Holland.
Shaver, D. (2007) Impact of the internet on consumer search behavior in the
United States, Journal of Media Business Studies, vol. 4 no.2, pp. 27-39.
Scholl W, F., Desseler G., & Reinecke J, A. (1993), Introduction to Business.
Boston. Alyn and Bacon.