Professional Practice in Business Essay Example

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9COMMERCIAL MARKETING

Commercial Marketing

Commercial Marketing

Introduction

Commercial marketing is achieved through the development of a given brand identity that the clients can relate with on a personal level (Wood, 2008). Commercial marketing can be utilized as a way of addressing some economic, environmental, and sustainability issues (McKenna, Gutierrez and McCall, 2000). This can be done through social marketing which is an approach which is utilized to develop specific activities which are intended to either change or maintain the clients’ or individuals’ behavior so that it may benefit people as well as the society in its entirety (Kotler et al., 2000). In the implementation of social marketing, various ethical dilemmas may arise as this type of marketing is utilized to result in social change. Additionally, social marketing uses or implements particular pricing and distribution models to achieve its primary objective which is to drive for a behavioral change in people and the society as well. Some human resources issues have an effect on the organization of social marketing, the channel intermediaries, as well as the clients in the end. Therefore, the paper will focus on highlighting these issues which are the ethical dilemmas, the alternative pricing and distribution models, and the effects of human resources on the organization of social marketing.

Ethical Issues

According to various studies, the ethical issues that may arise when using social marketing to drive the social change typically stems from the broad distrust of the concept of commercial marketing, precisely advertising and/or communication (Andreasen, 2001). The central ethical criticisms of this type of marketing that is concerned with communication entail the allegations which may be inherently offensive, manipulative, unfairness, and untruthful. The other assertion which may result in the ethical dilemmas in social marketing is concerned with the perpetuation as well as the creation of particular stereotypes (Mckenzie‐Mohr, 2000). These stereotypes and perpetuations then make the clients buy products or services that they do not require, but they just bought it. Therefore, since social marketing is intended to drive change in the behaviors of the clients and the society as a whole, the marketers tend to play with the insecurities and fears of the clients which is unethical in its form but is necessary to achieve the objective of social marketing in the long run.

The concept of social marketing is primarily concerned with a firm implementing the necessary moral actions which will, in turn, translate in causing a positive effect all the stakeholders of the firm including the shareholders, consumers, the community, as well as the employees (Hastings, Stead and Webb, 2004). Following this, it is the responsibility of the firm to still uphold the power and right of the consumers to decide whether or not they will succeed depends on the perception that a company creates for them. Therefore, the firms are often faced with the dilemma where they have to ensure that their actions are perceived as being philanthropic and at the same time are being fake or phony (Hastings, Stead and Webb, 2004). Sometimes competition is very tough such that a firm may do fake activities so that they can appear to be appealing from the consumer’s perspective to drive their decisions for the company.

Driving anxieties have often been identified as a primary element or necessity when using social marketing which is not supported by the ethical standards of social marketing (Brenkert, 2002). Additionally, social marketing often utilizes the appeals of fear or to some extent manipulation of the consumers which have also been related to the way the competing needs may be judged in developing the campaigns of social marketing (Brenkert, 2002). Although these activities may be utilized for a greater good, for example, highlighting some societal issues or vices, the way social marketing is structured so that it can be effective is conflicting. It is as if making use of unethical means to achieve an ethical objective which is something that puts the social marketers in significant ethical dilemmas.

Human Resources Issues

One of how human resources affect the organization of social marketing is that it influences or impacts the company’s strategy and behavior in its aim to achieve the objective of social marketing which is to oversee the behavioral change of the society (Hillman and Keim, 2001). A company that intends to implement social marketing usually possesses a stable platform for a particular brand’s or product’s communication. In doing this, the firm will need to collaborate with the human resources. This will help them to understand the challenges, beliefs, and behaviors which affect the employees and the way they are going to translate this to the people and the society who they are going to interact with in communicating the brand of the firm (Hillman and Keim, 2001). Therefore, the human resources will tend to shape the organization of social marketing, which entails the individuals who are going to be engaged in doing it, their values, and how they will transfer these values to the people who they intend to change their behaviors (Hillman and Keim, 2001).

The human resources will affect the end users who are the clients through inculcating the culture of always putting them first in practicing social marketing (Maignan and Ferrell, 2004). One of the policies of human resources is that proper practice and change has to start internally and then get transferred to others externally (Maignan and Ferrell, 2004). Taking this into consideration, the human resources will brand the products and services of an organization through first branding lives of their employees’ behaviors, communications, as well as their thoughts. In doing this, these behaviors will be transferred to the end users of their services or products (Maignan and Ferrell, 2004). Thus, the human resources affect the end users through first uncovering to the social marketers the environmental and social purpose of the firm, as well as the character of the company internally. This is then communicated to the end user in an authentic manner where they get to uncover the real value of the company (Maignan and Ferrell, 2004). Therefore, the human resources are just as a medium of communication or a driver for change to the society through using the employees as a medium for this communication.

The human resources impact the channel intermediaries through a regular collection of consumer feedback from them (Hastings, 2007). When a firm utilizes channel intermediaries, it means that these intermediaries are the ones who have more relations with the consumers as compared to the organization itself. Following this, the human resources seek to obtain regular feedback from these intermediaries which in turn assists them in shaping the communication and product/service strategies which ultimately achieves the objectives of social marketing (Hastings, 2007). Since it is the role of the human resources to conduct these surveys from the channel intermediaries and evaluate this feedback, it is also their role to design or redesign the ways in these intermediaries will represent the organization to achieve the objectives of social marketing to the end users (Hastings, 2007). Therefore, the human resources usually tend to transfer their beliefs, values, and behaviors on these channel intermediaries through their feedback, who then transfer them to the end users which in turn results in the intended change in social marketing.

Alternative Pricing and Distribution Models in Social Marketing

Pricing Models

The pricing models and strategies that are utilized in social marketing is somewhat different from those that are used in general marketing. As opposed to the basic marketing, the pricing models in social marketing are not only intended to increase profits, but it is concerned with evaluating the price or cost of changing the behavior of an individual and the society at large (Amaldoss and Jain, 2005). The pricing models in this concept are also concerned with the time that will be required to realize this change as well as the efforts that will be needed to change or inculcate a particular behavior (Amaldoss and Jain, 2005). For example, a smoker who has been smoking for a very long time may be the first to acknowledge that smoking is a habit that is expensive. At the same time, the smoker may refer to the costs of smoking, not regarding dollars, but regarding the effort, possible weight loss or weight gain, or the aftermath of their withdrawal is very high that they may choose not to quit. Following this, an efficient plan of social marketing will aim at reducing such costs (Amaldoss and Jain, 2005). In doing this, the pricing may be done concerning such practices like developing a group that is intended to cease smoking habits to reduce the costs of smoking for the smoker.

Distribution Models

The distribution models in social marketing are highly dependent on the particular characteristics of the end users (Gregson et al., 2001). This is because the aim of this marketing models will such that the products and services to reach the consumers in a form or manner in which it will influence their behavior in a particular way. Therefore, in social marketing, most firms tend to embrace the utilization of free distribution where the primary focus is to impact and save lives and achieve this goal within the shortest time possible (Gregson et al., 2001). This distribution model is often utilized in social marketing because of its ability to achieve the necessary intervention within a short period, and at the same time, it is not resource-intensive (Gregson et al., 2001). For example, if a company wants to keep a city clean through the distribution of trash cans, free distribution model will oversee that more trash cans are distributed around the intended areas within short time periods and with minimal resources like the elimination of anti-litter campaigns for example. The elimination of such things like campaigns before distribution and distributing products directly is cost efficient and changes behaviors within short durations following these eliminations.

Conclusion

Social marketing is concerned with developing activities that oversee behavioral change of individuals and that of the society as a whole. Some of the ethical dilemmas in social marketing include driving stereotypes, organization’s phoniness, and the use of anxiety of clients to drive the objective of social marketing. The way in which human resources impact the social marketing organization, end users and the channel intermediaries have been discussed in the paper. On the other hand, the pricing models in social marketing are concerned with the effort and time required to oversee change as opposed to realizing profits. The free distribution model is widely used in social marketing because it not resources intensive, and takes the shortest time to implement change in the intended consumers.

Recommendations

Regarding the ethical dilemmas, an organization may decide to adopt the deontology ethical framework in its practice (Verbeek, 2006). This ethical framework was based on Immanuel Kant’s philosophy which stipulates that typically, ethical ‘absolutes’ are applicable universally with the primary focus being on the intentions and not the means (Verbeek, 2006). This ethical framework accepts that the actions which are aimed at inculcating positive behavioral change, probably have some adverse effects that are unintended (Verbeek, 2006). Therefore, this ethical framework will enable the social marketers to handle these ethical dilemmas professionally and achieve marketing sustainability in the long run.

Concerning the impact that the human resources have on the organization of social marketing, channel intermediaries, and the end uses, the human resources may try to acknowledge that they have similar social responsibility and purpose as all the other stakeholders of the firm (Edvardsson, Tronvoll and Gruber, 2011). This includes the community, employees, shareholders, customers, and intermediaries. In doing this, the human resources, brand management, and strategic social marketing will utilize this shared purpose as the driver and feed for all the decision-making process which then results in more sustainable outcomes (Edvardsson, Tronvoll and Gruber, 2011).

In the distribution and pricing models, there needs to be the integration of the two sustainable models to achieve the ultimate objective of social marketing (Hartline, Mirrokni, and Sundararajan, 2008). For example, the pricing may be concerned with reducing the costs of changing behavior and regarding time and effort and at the same time use sustainable distribution channels concerned with ensuring a sustainable supply of products. This will, therefore, mean developing these models hand in hand such that the pricing model complements the distribution models that are sustainable to achieve the overall objective of sustainability in social marketing (Hartline, Mirrokni, and Sundararajan, 2008).

References

Amaldoss, W. and Jain, S. (2005). Pricing of conspicuous goods: A competitive analysis of social effects. Journal of Marketing Research, 42(1): 30-42.

Andreasen, A.R. (2001). Ethics in social marketing. Georgetown University Press.

Brenkert, G.G. (2002). Ethical challenges of social marketing. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 21(1): 14-25.

Edvardsson, B., Tronvoll, B. and Gruber, T. (2011). Expanding understanding of service exchange and value co-creation: a social construction approach. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 39(2): 327-339.

Gregson, J., Foerster, S.B., Orr, R., Jones, L., Benedict, J., Clarke, B., Hersey, J., Lewis, J. and Zotz, K. (2001). System, environmental, and policy changes: using the social-ecological model as a framework for evaluating nutrition education and social marketing programs with low-income audiences. Journal of nutrition education, 33: S4-S15.

Hartline, J., Mirrokni, V. and Sundararajan, M. (2008, April). Optimal marketing strategies over social networks. In Proceedings of the 17th international conference on World Wide Web (pp. 189-198). ACM.

Hastings, G. (2007). Social marketing: Why should the devil have all the best tunes?. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Hastings, G., Stead, M. and Webb, J. (2004). Fear appeals in social marketing: Strategic and ethical reasons for concern. Psychology & Marketing, 21(11): 961-986.

Hillman, A.J. and Keim, G.D. (2001). Shareholder value, stakeholder management, and social issues: what’s the bottom line?. Strategic management journal, pp.125-139.

Kotler, P., Roberto, N., Lee, N. and Lee, N. (2002). Social marketing: Improving the quality of life. Sage Publications: California.

Maignan, I. and Ferrell, O.C. (2004). Corporate social responsibility and marketing: An integrative framework. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 32(1): 3-19.

McKenna, J., Gutierrez, K. and McCall, K. (2000). Strategies for an effective youth counter-marketing program: recommendations from commercial marketing experts. Journal of public health management practice, 6(3): 7-13.

Mckenzie‐Mohr, D. (2000). New ways to promote proenvironmental behavior: Promoting sustainable behavior: An introduction to community‐based social marketing. Journal of social issues, 56(3): 543-554.

Verbeek, P.P. (2006). Persuasive Technology and Moral Responsibility Toward an ethical framework for persuasive technologies. Persuasive, 6: 1-15.

Wood, M. (2008). Applying commercial marketing theory to social marketing: A tale of 4Ps (and a B). Social Marketing Quarterly, 14(1): 76-85.