Global leadership and ethical issues in marketing & advertising
by Christian Adams, Principal/Freelancer at Sigma Creative on Jun 16, 2010
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The marketing industry is a very broad industry simply because at its core is a common business function. Marketing helps companies thrive in the commercial environment by covering the gamut of ...
The marketing industry is a very broad industry simply because at its core is a common business function. Marketing helps companies thrive in the commercial environment by covering the gamut of customer and business owner needs and goals. Marketing leaders are responsible for creating the look and feel of a brand, both for companies and products, and developing strategic ideas of how to engage and inform consumers about the brand. Successful marketing is about sticking to the fundamentals, but that doesn’t mean that all marketing is the same. Because this industry is highly competitive it is paramount for leaders to make quick and informative decisions because change is so quick and frequent it can be the determining factor of who is on top with room to maneuver. Different marketing scenarios call for different angles and analysis in order to recognize future trends to mitigate risks. As a leader knowing where these differences lie can mean the difference between success and failure. It is this pressure to succeed that has some leaders in marketing taking shortcuts or for lack of a better word being unethical.
One of the most distinctive areas of marketing is that of global marketing. While fundamentals still apply, selling a product abroad requires a perspective far different than one used for domestic business. Domestic marketing often takes culture for granted, but in foreign markets, culture is invariably different. It is the marketing industry’s job to be aware of these differences and how they impact consumer behavior. However, communications is the bane of expansion efforts by most companies. It doesn’t matter whether companies are selling a product or service, the issues are the same. Examples of this poor culture research done by global marketing firms can usually be seen on the nightly news. Typically the result is video of consumers showing their displeasure with a company’s attempt to enter a market without putting the country’s religious or cultural norms into consideration. Some of this is a result of public relations. Polly Devaney writes, “Concepts of internationalism, equality and other altruistic values were found to be less associated with American culture in 2004 than they were five years ago. It seems that the American brand has been suffering from a gradual image decline for some time. (Delaney, pg. 32) Aside from the external issue of global leadership in marketing there lies the internal challenge of training the global sales force. In an era of globalization, the dominant culture appears to be corporate culture. However, companies that are going global will have to take into account more than just the language barrier when it comes to training international sales forces. Jacqueline Chmielnicki adds that, “Managers who are creating training content must acknowledge different cultural traditions, country laws, and business environments.” (Chmielnicki) Marketers need to first identify the target market, then tailor the marketing to that local market.
Another important issue to an effective leader in the marketing industry is the understanding of technology as it is used in global applications. Technology is mandatory for successful expansion and to effectively control the flow of products and information in other countries. There is the obvious upkeep of knowledge management, but part of that knowledge management in the technology arena includes identifying new opportunities and forms of marketing communication vehicles. The internet has been around for awhile, but it is finally
Adams Global Leadership and Ethical Issues in Marketing & Advertising 3
coming of age where more and more companies are figuring out how to use it to their advantage. If a business leader does not have his or her companies presence on the internet competitors will pass them by. A great example of this is the startup Netflix. When they entered the movie rental market Blockbuster was king, but entrepreneurs saw oppor
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