Consumer behaviour in marketing ethics

Essay by Sharp1University, Bachelor's January 2006

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Marketing can undoubtedly bring benefits to society, although some aspects of marketing may be questionable on ethical grounds. The aim of this assignment is to raise criticism of marketing and show that consumer behaviour is affected by ethical issues. Do consumers really care about marketing ethics?

Ethics is a complex concept to define, and there is an attempt made by contemporary theorists to highlight ethical behaviour in a marketing context. Issues surrounding marketing ethics and social responsibility are inherently controversial. An area that causes particular dispute is the question of the effect of ethical and unethical marketing activity in regards to the purchasing behaviour of consumers. According to the contemporary theory of ethics one would like to think that being a ``good company'' would attract consumers to your products, whilst unethical behaviour would see customers boycotting the products of the offending organisations.

In order to judge both sides of marketing ethics, we must understand why the consumers believed that purchasing a product was in fact in their best interest or whether or not the marketing concepts behind the product used elements of deception.

Marketers used deceptive techniques to influence the 'weak spot' within consumer's minds, in order to play into their weaknesses. The evolution of marketing has progressed from the point of necessity to an indulgent of excess. Times have changed with consumers better informed, more educated and an increased awareness of greater consumer rights and product requirements especially in the developed countries. This awareness does not necessarily mean that consumers actually participate in ethical buying practices, simply because the issues raised do not affect the majority of people's concerns.

Most organisations want the consumers to hold a positive view of the company, as reputation is built on an image. The Co Op banking group hold a very ethical and...