Business Ethics in B2B
Marketers need to incorporate good ethics in their marketing campaigns as they are responsible for the image that a product portrays.
List the pitfalls B2B companies face when ignoring ethics in market research and target marketing, and the advantages to incorporating ethics
- Businesses are confronted with ethical decision making every day, and business leaders and managers need to reinforce the importance of using ethics as a guiding force when conducting business.
- Ethical danger points in market research include invasion of privacy and stereotyping.
- Ethical danger points in market audience include excluding potential customers from the market and targeting the vulnerable, such as children and the elderly.
- Market Research: The systematic collection and evaluation of data regarding customers’ preferences for actual and potential products and services.
- ethics: The moral principles that guide decision making and strategy.
- B2B: Business-to-business (B2B) describes commerce transactions between businesses, such as between a manufacturer and a wholesaler, or between a wholesaler and a retailer.
Business Ethics in B2B
Ethics refers to the moral principles that guide decision-making and strategy. Business ethics are, therefore, encompassed in the actions of people and organizations that are considered to be morally correct. Ethical objectives may include increased recycling of waste materials or offering staff sufficient rest breaks during their work shift. Businesses that adopt an ethical stance gain from numerous advantages, including:
- Improved corporate image
- Increased customer loyalty
- Cost cutting
- Improved staff motivation
- Improved staff morale
In a B2B environment, the client is another business rather than the customer, which means more attention needs to be given to maintaining a two-way relationship between the two entities. Since business clients have more meticulous and specification-driven buying processes, and the company must ensure that needs are met at all times without taking actions that would be considered unethical.
Ethics in Market Research
Ethical danger points in market research include invasion of privacy and stereotyping. Stereotyping occurs because any analysis of real populations needs to make approximations and place individuals into groups. However, if conducted irresponsibly, stereotyping can lead to a variety of ethically undesirable results..
Ethics in Market Audience
Ethical danger points in market audience include (1) excluding potential customers from the market; selective marketing is used to discourage demand from undesirable market sectors or disenfranchise them altogether; (2) targeting the vulnerable, such as children and the elderly. Examples of unethical market exclusion or selective marketing are past industry attitudes to the gay, ethnic minority and obese (“plus-size”) markets. Contrary to the popular myth that ethics and profits do not mix, the tapping of these markets has proved highly profitable. For example, 20% of US clothing sales is now plus-size. Another example is the selective marketing of health care, so that unprofitable sectors, such as the elderly, will not attempt to take benefits to which they are entitled. A further example of market exclusion is the pharmaceutical industry’s exclusion of developing countries from AIDS drugs.
Marketing ethics is the area of applied ethics that deals with the moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing. Ethics provides distinctions between right and wrong; businesses are confronted with ethical decision making every day, and whether or not employees decide to use ethics as a guiding force when conducting business is something that business leaders, such as managers, need to review and enforce. Marketers are ethically responsible for what is marketed, and for the image that a product portrays. With that said, marketers need to understand what constitutes good ethics and how to incorporate such practices into various marketing campaigns to better reach a targeted audience and gain trust from customers. When companies create high ethical standards upon which to approach marketing they are participating in ethical marketing. Ethical behavior should be enforced throughout company culture and through company practices.