Ethics in Marketing

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  • 1. Marketing Ethics – Product Safety and Pricing Jerry Estenson
  • 2. Four “Ps” of Marketing • • • • Product Pricing Promotion Placement
  • 3. Basic Concept of the Market • A place where a seller brings a product or service and where a buyer is willing to “exchange” something of value for the product or service.
  • 4. Big Questions • Who would be interested in buying the good or service? • What price would they be willing to pay? – How much can they afford? • How will the price affect other stakeholders (distributors, retailers, competitors) • Who is responsible for the product should harm occur? • Are requirements different if selling in other countries?
  • 5. Ethical Perspectives • A free exchange is “Prima Facie” (On its face) ethically legitimate – Kantian – respect for individual because they are seen as capable of pursuing their own interests.
  • 6. Issue Occur When • Exchange was a result of informed or voluntary consent – No Fraud – No Deception – No Coercion
  • 7. Kant Again • Were participants treated simply as means to an end? • Are there real benefits from the transaction? • What other values maybe at stake (societal concerns)
  • 8. Coercion • The more an individual needs the product the less free they are to decide (addicts or very ill people) • Informed consent – What about buyers with impaired skills (reading, math, life experience)? • Addition to “Affluenza” (higher degree of consumption will lead to higher degrees of happiness)
  • 9. Values beyond needs of buyer • • • • • Fairness Health Justice Safety There is a market for children
  • 10. Product Liability • First sense – Who or what caused the problem • Second sense – Assignment of blame or fault “who is responsible?” • Third sense – Who is accountable? Such as who is responsible for paying an elderly persons bills
  • 11. Negligence • Contract – only what is promised • Contractarian view – I have duties to what I have narrowly and explicitly assumed • General duty: Not to put others at unnecessary or avoidable risk – One does not neglect their duty to exercise reasonable care not to harm other people • Ought not reasonably oblige someone to do what they cannot do • One ought not to harm others
  • 12. • One standard – liable only for harms they could actually foresaw occurring – Recklessness or even intentional harm are far beyond simple negligence • A higher standard – Avoid harm that even if not actually thought about they should have thought about. • What would a reasonable person expect an “average person to know” • Higher your knowledge the greater your obligation
  • 13. Product Liability • Strict – Product performance. Therefore responsibility is on producers • Who pays – Tough luck – consumer pays – Society – Socialized insurance – Manufacturer • Deep pockets and ability to pass on cost • “compensatory justice” Those who caused the harm or have benefited from the transaction should compensate people harmed • Guns and Cigarettes
  • 14. Caveat Emptor • You are required only to live up to your end of the bargain. Pay the price – Deliver the goods or services
  • 15. Pricing • A fair price is one that both parties agree to – What about availability of buyers and sellers? If either limited then no market equilibrium • Knowledge of buyers – AIDs drugs in Africa • What about patents? • What about monopolistic pricing? – Wal-Mart, COSTCO, Target, Safeway • What about stair-step pricing in auto industry? • What about government subsidies?