As organizations have changed their orientation, society’s expectations of marketers have also changed. Today, the standards of marketing practice have shifted from an emphasis on producers’ interests to consumers’ interests. Guidelines for ethical and socially responsible behavior can help managers balance consumer, organizational, and societal interests.
Ethics Many marketing issues are not specifically addressed by existing laws and regulations. Should information about a firm’s customers be sold to other organizations? Should advertising by professional service providers, such as accountants and attorneys, be restricted? Should consumers be on their own to assess the safety of a product? These questions raise difficult ethical issues. Many companies, industries, and professional associations have developed codes of ethics to assist managers.
Social Responsibility While many ethical issues involve only the buyer and seller, others involve society as a whole. For example, suppose you change the oil in your old Chevy yourself and dump the used oil in a corner of your backyard. Is this just a transaction between you and the oil manufacturer? Not quite! The used oil will contaminate the soil, so society will bear a portion of the cost of your behavior. This example illustrates the issue of social responsibility, the idea that organizations are accountable to a larger society.
The well-being of society at large should also be recognized in an organization’s marketing decisions. In fact, some marketing experts stress the societal marketing concept , the view that organizations should satisfy the needs of consumers in a way that provides for society’s well-being.36 For example, Scotch-Brite® Never RustTM soap pads from 3M—which are made from recycled plastic bottles—are more expensive than those offered by competitors (SOS and Brillo) but are superior because they don’t rust or scratch (see question 3, Figure 1–1).
Strategies in marketing art museums include planning new “satellite” museums like this one for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi …
The Breadth and Depth of Marketing
Marketing today affects every person and organization. To understand this, let’s analyze (1) who markets, (2) what is marketed, (3) who buys and uses what is marketed, (4) who benefits from these marketing activities, and (5) how consumers benefit.
Who Markets? Every organization markets. It’s obvious that business firms involved in manufacturing (Heinz), retailing (Trader Joe’s), and providing services (Marriott) market their offerings. And nonprofit organizations such as your local hospital or college, places (cities, states, countries), and even special causes (Race for the Cure) also engage in marketing. Finally, individuals such as political candidates often use marketing to gain voter attention and preference.
What Is Marketed? Goods, services, and ideas are marketed. Goods are physical objects, such as toothpaste, cameras, or computers, that satisfy consumer needs. Services are intangible items such as airline trips, financial advice, or art museums. Ideas are thoughts about concepts, actions, or causes.
In this book, goods, services, and ideas are all considered “products” that are marketed. So a product is a good, service, or idea consisting of a bundle of tangible and intangible attributes that satisfies consumers’ needs and is received in exchange for money or something else of value.
Services like those offered by art museums, hospitals, and sports teams are relying more heavily on effective marketing. For example, financial pressures have caused art museums to innovate to market their unique services—the viewing of works of art by visitors—to increase revenues. This often involves levels of rare creativity unthinkable several decades ago.
… or taking a “virtual tour” of Russia’s State Hermitage Museum—courtesy of IBM.
This creativity ranges from establishing a global brand identity by launching overseas museums to offering sit-at-home video tours. France’s Louvre, home to the Mona Lisa painting, is developing a new satellite museum in Abu Dhabi housed in an architecturally space-age building.37 Russia’s world-class 1,000-room State Hermitage Museum wanted to find a way to market itself to potential first-time visitors. So it partnered with IBM to let you take a “virtual tour” of its exhibits while watching on your iPad and relaxing.
Ideas are most often marketed by nonprofit organizations or the government. So the Nature Conservancy markets the cause of protecting the environment. Charities market the idea that it’s worthwhile for you to donate your time or money. The Peace Corps markets to recruit qualified volunteers. And state governments in Arizona and Florida market taking a warm, sunny winter vacation in their states.