Social marketing Essay Example

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3Application of Social Marketing Practice


Application of Social Marketing Practice

Ethics entails the comprehension of whether certain practices are right or good[ CITATION Den99 l 1033 ]. In the context of business, ethics can be inferred to mean a mixture of appropriate business policies and practices about marketing and other business related issues. Ideally, business ethics involve approaches through which marketers conduct their business with their clientele through the application of several different marketing strategies. Typically, companies often experience intense scrutiny since many of their activities characteristically pose ethical dilemmas. Indeed, it sometimes becomes challenging to differentiate between standard marketing practices and unethical practices. Essentially, there exist several reasons that make the association between marketing and social ethics feature such said complication[ CITATION ARA94 l 1033 ]. Ultimately, there exist some situations in marketing that present particular ethical issues.

One of these ethical issues when using social marketing practice as a vehicle for social change is the possibility of frustration and irritation. Social marketers like other marketers employ different strategies in the bid for target clientele[ CITATION NKW06 l 1033 ]. These procedures are sometimes irritating for the clients. For instance, direct marketing solicitations using intrusive means like phone calls at night or during office hours. These solicitation techniques can also include unsolicited e-mails. Additionally, the social marketing approaches sometimes include prerecorded calls and poorly trained call center operators that, more often than not, create frustration while increasing irritation among the target clientele. In particular, potential customers perceive these approaches as forms of invasion to their privacy. As such, this annoyance and frustration usually result in negative responses[ CITATION Gau14 l 1033 ].

Further, another ethical issue that may arise when using marketing practice is that of being unfair to the target clients[ CITATION ICh15 l 1033 ]. Indeed, in some instances, marketers employ marketing practices that exploit the inadequate knowledge that some buyers have regarding their products. In fact, marketers might exploit the fact that an impulsive nature sometimes characterizes the buyers. In the particular case of clientele populations made up of elder people, marketers may use practices that exploit the fact that this population places heightened trust on the marketers and are more likely to undertake sufficient product research. On the other hand, younger customers typically make buying and consumption decisions based on their urges and associated impulses.

The arena of marketing through social platforms that hold even more potential for influencing more social change, the endorsement of fake products and the misuse of product reviews also present ethical dilemmas[ CITATION LBC85 l 1033 ]. Endorsements and product reviews entail descriptions of how existing customers perceive a particular service or products. As such, any form of representation of these perceptions results in ethical issues. Marketing ethics demand that if any reviewer gets remunerated by a particular business organization to write comments and reviews in their digital spaces, then the reviewer and the organization need to disclose this interaction. In essence, a lack of this disclosure would translate to the engagement of unethical means to influence potential clients wrongly.

The disclosure of sensitive information, either regarding the customers or the company itself, in marketing practices also present ethical issues in the bid for social change. Indeed, marketers, especially digital platform marketers usually get the access to information about the business that can sometimes be sensitive. The marketers often access this kind of information since they need it for fashioning and producing their marketing content. In essence, such sensitive information must be placed under protection to ensure that unauthorized entities do not access it. When such protection is not achieved, ethical issues manifest primarily from the possible risk of attacks from external malicious entities.

The ethical issues in marketing practices in the bid for social change arise because of the difference and diversity of the concerned ‘human resource’ stakeholders. Indeed, different human stakeholders are involved in the marketing practice of business. The main elements that participate and play significant roles in the marketing practice are usually split into three primary groups. These groups include the facilitators, the customers, and the distributors[ CITATION Gau14 l 1033 ]. These particular groups are required to interact with one another within the business environment context that features different factors such as economic, governmental, and social impacts that affect it. Ultimately, these interactive groups make up the ‘human resource’ present related issues as they represent the social marketing organization and the channel intermediaries as well as the end users.

On the one end, marketing facilitators in the social marketing organization play a significant role in the marketing practice and could impact on the bid for social change through the related issues. Indeed, since the marketing process demands substantial expertise, the social marketing organizations often engage the assistance of independent marketing facilitators[ CITATION TWD99 l 1033 ]. This approach is, more often than not, both effective and efficient for the organization. These independent facilitators are essentially consultants and organizations whose chief responsibility is the handling of marketing functions.

Admittedly, a majority of the larger business organizations feature an internal performance of some or all of the required marketing purposes. However, such a structure is not justifiable or even necessary in the context of most organizations that usually need only periodic or part-time assistance from the marketing facilitators. In fact, in the contemporary business environment, most organizations cannot afford the associated operating expenses, and salaries demanded the maintenance of permanent or full-time marketing facilitators. Additionally, independent marketing facilitators demonstrate more effectiveness in comparison to the internal departments since non-employees often show perspectives that are more objective. Indeed, these external contractors sometimes show broader expertise. Furthermore, independent contractors often show heightened motivation for performing at high standards due to the dominant competition and aggressiveness in the facilitator arena. This competition translates to the fact that poor performance can most likely ensue in the loss of business. The involvement of external entities in the social marketing process can, however, present significant ethical problems since they sometimes have access to sensitive data that brings up several risks as above discussed.

Customers make up the other ‘human resource’ that may present issues potentially impacting upon the concerned stakeholders. The understanding of target customers in the marketing practice involves the answering of certain pertinent questions. Indeed, there is a need to establish the constituents of a market segment. There is also the need to establish what these target customers buy and why they make these purchases. Marketers are also often obliged to recognize and acknowledge the existence of different influences on different people regarding their purchase decision. They must, therefore, take into account these factors in the crafting of a particular marketing strategy. Knowledge of where, when, and how customers make their purchases is also essential in the bid to know the products more bought by the target clients and their intention of making these purchases. In more straightforward terms, the social marketing process involves the understanding of specifics with regards consumer preferences and habits. Sometimes, the marketing practice also involves the attempt to change these preferences and habits, therefore, creating the potential for some of the ethical issues such as the unauthorized release of sensitive data regarding existing customers.

Finally, the marketing distribution channel intermediaries also consist some of the ‘human resource’ issues. Intermediaries play the role of executing essential functions to get particular products to the end users[ CITATION NCS00 l 1033 ]. In fact, many producers do not undertake direct sales to their consumers and rather engage the services of these marketing intermediaries. These intermediaries include financial intermediaries, distributors, and middlemen like agents, brokers, wholesalers or retailers. These groups usually interact through long-term commitments with particular produces and construct the distribution or marketing channel[ CITATION Sma17 l 1033 ].

Businesses or the social marketing organizations usually have a wide range of marketing channels afforded to them. More importantly, their structuring of the appropriate and adequate distribution channels makes up one of the key and critical decisions about marketing in an organization. Indeed, it is of the utmost importance for the designers of the distribution channels to acknowledge the service point levels desired by the target customer[ CITATION RKM85 l 1033 ]. In some case, for instance, a single manufacturer might use separate channels to service different groups of target customers. As such, the service output sets might differ.

In such situations, there might exist a particular customer group that desires elevated service levels that include high availability of product, fast delivery, or a large assortment of products. The demand presented for such enhanced services could translate to marketers increasing their costs for a particular distribution channel hence higher cost for customers. On the other hand, the success and preference of discounts show that clients are also sometimes willing to accept reduced service outputs for lower costs. The decision on how to decrease or increase costs by the marketers might present ethical issues where, in some cases, they might exploit the lack of knowledge by some of the consumers about the distribution channels.

Social marketing consists of alternative pricing and distribution models that demonstrate diversity and differences. The NGO model is utilized by organizations that are either instituted in the bid for the implementation of social marketing programs or the addition of product-based undertakings to an assortment of social programs already in effect. Typically, NGO-based social marketing models involve the marketing of the organization’s brands with the aim of meeting the wants and needs of a particular target group. In essence, the marketing practice here is directed at maximizing the number of end users within the target group. This approach often leads to strategies that seemingly lack commercial sense but show consistency with particular social goals. For instance, NGOs might find it necessary to set low process to make its products or services more accessible to the poorer end users while also having a significant impact on the overall social change being targeted such as the prevalence of contraceptives. Accordingly, projects employing this model typically utilize donated products and, in turn, sell them at reasonable prices that sometimes only result in the partial recovery of the distribution and marketing costs. The main limitation of this model, therefore, exists in relation to its financial and institutional sustainability. On the other hand, the NGO model demonstrates a potentiality for reaching entirely new target groups due to its lower pricing, attractive packaging, and convenient outlets[ CITATION Nei92 l 1033 ].

The manufacturer’s model, on the other hand, involves social marketing programs that consist partnerships with a single or more commercial manufacturers of products that influence social change such as those related to family planning. Such programs utilizing this model involves the selection of particular products from the portfolio of a manufacturer and the subsequent marketing through regular commercial communication and conventional channels. Although these marketing programs are usually managed by local affiliates also using this model, the control of pricing, branding, and distribution is retained by the commercial partner.

The main pro of this manufacturer’s model is, seemingly, its intrinsic potential for sustainability particularly with regards product availability and independent of the funding sourced from donors[ CITATION RCL00 l 1033 ]. Indeed, despite the recurrent need for the reduction of prices, this model ensures that the manufacturer’s prices remain within a range that ensures financial sustainability. In particular, the prices allow for the full recovery of costs as well as the gain of a profit margin. This model further allows for the reduction of cost of the institution and marketing of new brands for special projects. Resultantly, it serves to increase the financial sustainability of a particular marketing practice intervention in the bid for social change.

The social marketing models also involve other hybrid approaches since social marketing projects sometimes go beyond the feasibility of a particular model. In fact, many such projects have shown an evolution in their strategies. Today, it is increasingly hard to find classic instances of manufacturer-based or NGO-based project models. For example, projects using the NGO-model do not necessarily show reliance on products sourced from donations and instead work towards procuring their products with sales revenues[ CITATION Fra03 l 1033 ]. Indeed, some of the programs currently market brands that have attained partial and even full recovery of costs. Many are also now advancing their entrepreneurial capacity so as to increase their institutional and economic sustainability. In the manufacturer model context, partnerships have since demonstrated increased complexity as they involve more entities and increasingly regard social marketing as a business venture.

Conclusively, these problems facing marketing practices in the bid for social change need to be addressed in the contemporary business world that predominantly features extreme competition. Indeed, marketers are obliged to integrate and take part in the process of ethical decision making. This particular process should, in essence, involve the participation of marketers and their clients and customers. The primary objective of the ethical decision-making process is the establishment of trust among all involved entities in business while also fundamentally doing what is right. It also works towards establishing credibility and respect in the perspective of all these stakeholders. In straightforward terms, the marketing practices and marketer’s target should be the satisfaction and delight of its existing and potential clients and customers based on ethical foundations. In such a context, the problems and issues between marketing practices and ethics would be eliminated.


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