Ethics in business is highly important, it can retain loyal customers of the brand for a long time. However, some sales managers are targeting uninformed consumers to achieve their monthly or quarterly targets. This practice is usually for the future of a business, and they will lose their potential customers in the long run. This action is against the virtue ethics, which refers to the honesty and morality of a person. To boost the sale of a business, companies go for advertisements, mislead consumers and omit important facts. Ethics in marketing are the set of acceptable principles to guide the behaviour of a marketer towards doing morally right things (Ferrell, et al., 2019). Sometimes the sales executives of a company target uninformed consumers, and sale their products which may be unfit for these users. It is not only an unethical action but also it can affect the image of the brand in the market. Here we will discuss the ethical perspective of targeting uninformed consumers.
We know the current market situations, competition has soared and there are more choices with customers. Sale staff have strict targets to achieve every month, the sole objective of businesses is to raised their sales to earn more profit. In this case, dealing with the less aware consumer is an opportunity that can be exploited. From a business perspective, it can lead to negative perceptions about the brand because these consumers will soon realize their wrong decision. It is an essential principle of marketing to provide the right product to the right person. According to (Ameer, Irfan, and Aino Halinen, 2019) deontological ethics states that an action should be analyzed under a series of rules that either it is right or wrong, regardless of its consequences. In some cases, we choose shortcuts and want to achieve our desired results, while ignoring our way of doing it. Choosing the right path is long but also last longing path that produces best results but patience is required. On the other hand, choosing the wrong and unethical way of achieving our goals can harm our business and image in future.
It is not fair to harm others for our gains, for a marketing professional it is necessary to build a strong relationship with its loyal customers. For instance, Nokia claimed that we have targeted uninformed customers to purchase our phones with an operating system which was rejected by customers. So the market share of the company fell from 80 per cent to 2-3 per cent. Sometimes, a sales executive aggressively sells its products to get higher commissions and incentives and ruining relationships with its customers. That is ethically wrong because for your gain and pleasure you are deceiving other persons. According to hedonism theory by Jeremy Bentham, pleasure is the standard because every person is looking to avoid pan and seeks pleasure (Crane, Andrew, et al., 2019). For achieving your pleasure you should not harm others. A short term benefit may lead to a long term loss for all the stakeholders, and it will produce an opportunity for other competitors.
This paper evaluated the consequences of targeting uninformed consumer group which is not only unethical action but also harmful for the business. From a business perspective, it is harmful because it will affect the brand image and lose it, potential customers. For a salesperson, this unethical action can damage their relations with customers, and lose the trust of their customers. While for customers it is a huge loss to purchase a product which he or she doesn’t need. So the businesses should avoid this strategy strictly to maintain a good reputation in the market.
Ameer, Irfan, and Aino Halinen. “Moving beyond ethical decision-making: A practice-based view to study unethical sales behaviour.” Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management 39.2 (2019): 103-122.
Crane, Andrew, et al. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press, USA, 2019.
Ferrell, O. C., et al. “A New Direction for Sales Ethics Research: The Sales Ethics Subculture.” Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice 27.3 (2019): 282-297.