Is Marketing Ethics an Oxymoron?

To many people the answer to this question would be a resounding “YES”. Are marketers really concerned with the welfare of their customers, or are they more concerned about the ‘bottom line’ of the organization they represent? I read of one example of an official in the Swedish office of Coca-Cola who says her goal is to get people to drink Coke for breakfast instead of having orange juice. Is that in the best interest of the consumer?

A change is coming, and has already started, in how consumers and organizations must view the marketing profession; a more ‘holistic’ approach towards consumers is required. In that regards companies must consider all aspects of their relationship with the consumer, not just their own goals.

Many may ask “is there a place for ethics in marketing?” In discussing concerns that consumers and advocacy groups have with the apparent lack of concern for consumers’ well being, we must address the challenges that marketers have to ‘self regulate’ and become more socially responsible. This really is no different than what would be expected of each of us: In an organized society it is the responsibility of all to behave ethically. One concern within the marketing industry is that if marketers do not change their ways, and become more socially responsible, they will become subject to more government controls.

The ethical relationship between marketing and the consumer is a key to the success of organizations. Consumers expect to be treated fairly and with respect. Consumers expect that the service they receive from organizations will be reliable, responsive, trustworthy, understanding, and that they are really receiving something of value. They do not want ‘lip service’, unrealistic promises, or misleading offerings. Consumers do not want to be sold products that are inherently bad for them. The ethical implications for marketers are great in meeting these expectations. As more people join the marketing field, especially in the increasingly popular ‘information marketing’ arena, these issues will, and should be, some of the first issues that need addressed.

A new foundation for marketing and the ethical implications of marketers targeting specific groups or segments of consumers is needed. Companies have targeted specific segments of consumers that they feel will provide them with the greatest returns, sometimes to the exclusions of others. Some consumers feel that marketers do not care at all about what happens to them once they purchase a product and that this caveat emptor, or ‘let the buyer beware’ theory of marketing is, and must, rapidly be dismissed.

Markets must become more concerned with the needs and wants of the consumer, but they must still keep in mind the overall goal of the company. This unfortunately creates a conflict between the priorities of the marketer, the needs and wants of the consumer and the goals of the organization (Profits), and is the basis for much of the confusion and concerns about ethical marketing practices. To overcome the challenges that this presents organizations, and to some extent consumers, all involved must take a more holistic, or all encompassing view of the marketing process. Ethical decision making for businesses will require them to take an “enlightened self interest” approach to serving the consumer, to insure that there marketing practices are ethically sound.

Consumers also must bear some responsibility to become more self aware and informed about the products they purchase and use. For those with the ability to make rational choices, consumers must take actions and research the products they buy; they must develop an awareness of their needs, as opposed to their wants, and make appropriate decisions concerning the directions their consumptions take them. If consumers expect organizations to treat them with respect, and provide a level of service consistent with their needs, they must do their part.

Service is really the art of offering a consumer more than just the product they are purchasing. Part of that offering is to provide consumers with the assurance that what you are marketing to them is based on ethically sound principles: Do organizations treat their customers with respect? Are they honest and forthright in their communications with consumers?

As awareness of consumer rights increases, and advocacy groups increase pressure on organizations and governments, the priority that organizations must place on the ethical implications of their marketing programs will only increase. In the service industry the relationship between the consumer and the service provider is all that matters. If the consumer perceives that they are being treated unethically they will go elsewhere. But, not only will they leave, they will take with them as many others as they can. The risk that organizations face by treating their customers/clients unethically is too great to let this happen.

Viral and Direct Marketing

The marketing approach techniques are countless. There are many ways to approach the potential customer. There are two marketing approaches that are very interesting, due to their specific techniques. They are viral marketing and direct marketing.

The Viral Marketing is a marketing technique that is using the social networks, both online and offline, for transmitting the message or advertisement, through self replicating viral process. This process resembles to spreading computer viruses or biological viruses.

Almost anything can be the subject of viral marketing effect: information, web link, video clip, e-Books, etc.

Methods of viral marketing expansion can be:

Word of mouth – simple communication between people who knows each other.

Social Media such as Facebook are the perfect examples of viral media. The number of people who are using these services is huge. The members of these social media environments are connected very well, since every user has many contacts. Finally, method of sharing idea or message is very simple, through different sharing techniques.

“Invite Your Friend” calls from different e-services. These messages that provokes the actions are moving significant part of population who wants to share the message, but they are not willing to invest effort.

Advantage of viral marketing is that it takes very little or no investment. The viral marketing system is powered by the will of transmitters to pass the message further. The power of exponential growth is tremendous. If every person is distributing the information to 5 people and further, this gives are 3.125 informed people after 5 levels from original message transfer. The viral marketing experts know this formula very well, therefore, the viral marketing is part of marketing techniques portfolio.

Disadvantage is that viral marketing is not reliable as a standard method of information transfer, since it is not likely that every idea will be transferred at the same rate. Simply, the outcome of the viral marketing campaign is unpredictable, since the power of campaign depends of many parameters.

Also “viral competition” dictates the effectiveness of viral campaign. If two similar campaign are present at the same period to the similar audience, it is likely that the social group will transfer the message that seems more interesting at the moment.

There is no secret formula for guarantied success of Viral Marketing campaign, but good ideas, with tone of humor, anticipation and value adding elements can help the viral marketing campaign to succeed.

On the other hand, Direct Marketing is a sales method where advertisers approach potential customers directly with advertisement, products or services. The most usual methods of direct marketing are telephone sales, solicited or unsolicited emails, catalogs, leaflets, brochures, direct visits etc.

There are two main differences that distinguish it from other types of marketing. The first characteristic of direct marketing is that the message is transferred directly to consumers, without use of intermediate communication media and mass media campaign. The second characteristic is “call to action” principle of communication to the consumers.

Direct marketing is attractive to many companies since the campaign results can be measured directly. For example, if a marketer sends out 5,000 messages by mail and 250 respond to the promotion, the company easily calculates that campaign gave 5% response rate.

On the other hand, the measurement of other media ( TV, Radio ) must often be indirect, since there is no measurable calculation of message recipients. Measurement of results is a key element of every activity.

Direct marketing is practiced by businesses of all sizes – from the smallest start-up company to the multinational corporations. The decision of using of direct marketing approach is not related to the size of the company. If the niche of targeted population is too small, the direct marketing may pay off more than large scale advertising campaign.

The Direct Marketing and Viral Marketing have completely different approach. The power of both marketing approaches can be leveraged, depending on the situation. Every person is the potential shopper, it only takes a little to trigger the shopping mechanism.

How to Quickly Calculate Sales Tax

In the store, you will often see people pull out a calculator as they try to determine what the sales tax will be on an item. However, if you do not have a calculator or wish that you could calculate sales tax manually, I am going to show you how to figure sales tax in your head very quickly.

I recall being out at an appliance store with my friend Mary a few months ago as she was looking into buying a new refrigerator. Her goal was to buy a refrigerator under $1,000 dollars. At the store she spotted a beautiful model that I had not seen before but the price was $950 dollars.

Mary, excitedly, said, “This is it. This is the one that I am going to go with.”

“But,” I protested, “this refrigerator will cost you over a thousand dollars with the sales tax.”

Mary, like many of us in this situation, was not factoring in the tax on the item. And obviously, the bigger the price of the item, the larger the sales tax is going to be. So, how can we teach Mary and others to quickly calculate this taxes in their head?

Well, it is rather easy to determine the tax manually if we use what I will call the “rule of 10 percents”.

The “rule of 10 percents” allows us to quickly estimate sales tax without the need for a calculator. We can use this rule to easily come up with a number that will be very close to the actually tax of an item. And, if we want to be very precise, we can use this rule to get the number almost exactly.

Let’s have a look at how this system to quickly determine what the final coast will be. When Mary and I went out to buy the refrigerator, we were in California which has the highest state tax at 8.25%. With our 10% rule, we can quickly estimate that 10% of the $950 refrigerator would be $95 simply by moving the decimal point over one spot to the left. To get more specific, since California is at 8.25%, we can attain the value of each 1% simply by taking 10% of the 10%, which would be $9 (we won’t factor cents in this equation as it makes it easier).

Thus, we now know that 10% of the refrigerator is $95 and 2% of the refrigerator is $18. If we subtract $18 from $95, we arrive at $77, which represents an 8% total.

If we want to go further and calculate to a near exact amount (the.25%), we can say that 10% of the 1% would be 90 cents. If we multiply that by 2.5, we arrive at a figure of $2.25. Now, let’s add that to the 8% amount of $77 and we arrive at a total of $79.25.

When we use a calculator to figure the tax on this item, we can see that our manual sales tax calculation brings us to within $1 of the actual sales tax of $78.38.

So, the next time that you do not have a calculator, do not fear. Simply use this “rule of the 10%” to quickly calculate sales tax manually.

As a footnote, Mary bought the refrigerator anyway.

Digital Marketing – Revolutionized Marketing and Different Innovative Strategies

Digital Marketing is much like modern architecture in many ways. It is the way of the world and these guidelines are just a start to get your business off on the right foot. Mastering digital marketing isn’t a cakewalk. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, it is the required result of digital channels to promote or market products and services to consumers and businesses. It believed to be wavering these days as many companies that once used the old style of marketing are now going digital. It is essential in today’s world that a company which exists physically, must exist digitally as well. It is believed that existing digitally enhances advertising process. There exist a different and more approachable digital marketing tools like web designing, pay-per-click marketing, SMS, and email marketing. The following article will educate you in not one but many ways.

Direct marketing and advertising is an advertising in which companies offer physical marketing and advertising materials to consumers to communicate details about a service or product. Inbound marketing can likewise be an essential tool in the continuing retention of present customers, by creating communication with those customers and enabling business to engage with other customers by giving informative, educational result together with product promotions. While outbound marketing could reach a larger audience, additionally, it runs the danger of barring uninterested consumers also. If you prefer to do better marketing without harming your finances, direct marketing will probably be somewhat decent for you. Second, content promotion is a pull, instead of a push, strategy. To the contrary, it is a refreshingly new concept in marketing which provides a unique comprehension of consumer behaviour.

Content can typically be about a service or a product, it might be item, price, service charges or the selling of digital products like books, movies or software. It is something that helps in relaying old customers and thereby helps in pulling traffic from popular search engines. The very first and most crucial issue is quality content, try using attractive words that could connect nicely with readers. Step one on any advertising (or indeed, marketing) campaign needs to be to recognize the aims and goals of the campaign and the way they fit into the aims and goals of the business all around. Digital advertising and marketing campaigns will need to rely on these limits to be prosperous. Together with creating great advertising text (copy), you may want to study the way you can earn a corporation’s marketing campaigns visually appealing, through the usage of banners, images, videos and more.

Although these facts may be true, but sometimes it gets difficult to do all these techniques in the company. Therefore, known and recognized companies and firms may hire a digital marketing agency to do on behalf of them. Most renowned digital marketing agency may not only offer quality and dependable benefits, also they have a digital marketing and advertising strategist which may help plan the most helpful campaigns. To be successful in today’s day, companies need to continuously create new content that doesn’t only get them found but also lets them capture leads. Soon it won’t be enough for businesses to understand what you might want. All businesses wish to strengthen their relationship with clients and prospects. Now everyone is aware of what the business is shooting for. It is essential that businesses optimize their online properties effectively to be able to get to the top of the entire important search engine result page.

Even though many mistake digital for internet, to their surprise online marketing is only a part of the huge digital marketing framework. In a broader sense, the net is the centre of digital marketing. It has made easier for marketing managers to measure the results of a campaign. Since you can see the internet is by far not the only spot for marketers to assemble success, even in past couple of years. The web and the world have brought in an entire new perception of the advertising market. Thus, if you need to effectively advertise your business on the internet then seek the services of a renowned digital advertising company at the earliest.