The paper "Marketing in Contemporary Contexts" Is a great example of a Marketing Case Study. Marketing in a contemporary context: Case study There is a need for an effort in the examination of ethical implications of differentiated marketing and market segmentation by marketers targeting consumers of diverse groups. Research studies indicate that marketing ethics is one area where consumers and marketers often differ in terms of perception. Understanding the ethical complexities of the market exchange requires that factors such as market selection, consumer characteristics, and nature of the products be understood and be integrated into the framework (Erramilli, 2003; Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007).
Public policymakers and marketers will be faced with different ethical implications from contingencies when factors aforementioned interact (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011). Therefore, the emphasis is laid on the need to understand that before implementation, ethics of marketing programs and consumer interests should be assessed (Barbin & Oliveira, 2006). Over the years, many marketers have adopted a popular strategy of differentiated marketing to target distinctive consumer segments. This essay will give a case study of Google Inc. and assess its business and marketing situation.
In business, marketing plays an important role in facilitating exchange between marketers and consumers (Erramilli, 2003). Marketing targets meeting and fulfilling the needs of the customers in various market segments as well as caring for the needs of the shareholders by maximizing returns on investments. The interests of the consumers and the marketers tend to compete thereby creating an omnipresent and inevitable tension (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Barbin & Oliveira, 2006; Bjorkman, Fey & Park, 2007; Erramilli, 2003). Therefore, due to this, marketing practices continue to display a continuum of conflicts on ethics and its different positions.
Placing consumer interests against those of the marketers shows a rejection to a situation where there could be a win-win outcome because doing so creates an idea that marketing is a zero-sum game (Barbin & Oliveira, 2006). In this sense, the simplicity of the ethics continuum is played by the different interests and may form conflicts in the market practices (Erramilli, 2003). Based on the market scenario, both marketers and consumers form perceptions of ethical principles such as equity, fairness, justice, and rights (Fama, 1998; Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007).
A point where both marketers and consumers don’ t raise ethical concerns is when they agree on ethical evaluations of certain marketing scenarios. For instance, they would agree that beneficial products that don’ t infringe on others' copyright are responsible, desirable and ethical. Additionally, on issues related to ethical evaluation and philosophies, researchers have noted that there have been gaps between marketing activities and the consumers (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Chortareas, McDermott & Ritsatos, 2000; Erramilli, 2003; Fama, 1998).
Most of the time, the marketing ideas and perceptions result into problems and conflicts caused by public perception of data stored, copyright lawsuits and issues for movies, books and music in the case of Goggle and this may cause boycotts, protests and other disapproving behaviors by the public (Andrejevic, 2011; Bjorkman, Fey & Park, 2007; Erramilli, 2003). Even though the marketers seeking to gain from the services or products may be ethical and laudable, the public, though not all may consider it to be unethical, unacceptable and exploitative (Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Barbin & Oliveira, 2006).
On the other hand, marketers basing their concern under the First Amendment may consider it an infringement of their legal rights if their freedom to market is restricted. In the contemporary market scenario, the different moral priorities of a marketer’ s perception of a particular marketing situation may be positive and different from the consumers. In the marketing practice, one contingency variable that affects its ethical impact is the nature of the product (Andrejevic, 2011; Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Bjorkman, Fey & Park, 2007; Erramilli, 2003; Fama, 1998).
Normally, most products exhibit a continuum of harm and benefits thereby making them inherently harmful, and harmful due to misuse or generally beneficial. Consumers derive benefits from the products and services offered by Google as seen in social, emotional, functional and physical benefits. On the other hand, the free flow of data and the provision of materials may cause harm to others like teens and copyright owners. Besides, some consumers get scared by the anti-artificial intelligent sentiment (Barbin & Oliveira, 2006; Chortareas, McDermott & Ritsatos, 2000; Ghemawat & Ghadar, 2006).
These and many others create sharp criticisms of Google’ s marketing practices. It is important to note that there is need for awareness of psychological effects and economic impact to be created to deal with social censure and consumer discontent due to unethical marketing practices (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Birkinshaw, Morrison, & Hulland, 1995; Erramilli, 2003). Moreover, one of the many threats that Google faces is the continuation of many free services to non-profit organizations. It is important to note that this has made usage of data by both private and small local businesses to be more expensive (Ghauri & Gronhaug, 2005; Karpatkin, 1999).
Furthermore, it has created products, services, and investment schemes that are defective as well as other fraudulent and irresponsible market practices (Bjorkman, Fey & Park, 2007; Fama, 1998; Rotfeld, 2001). Through these, consumers have suffered from economic harm and felt a sense of powerlessness, humiliation, and disrespect (Andrejevic, 2011; Bjorkman, Fey & Park, 2007). Today, the corporate sentencing guidelines penalize psychological and economic damages done to consumers through marketing practices (Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Birkinshaw, Morrison, & Hulland, 1995 Fama, 1998). Ethical evaluations of its marketing activities are guided by a contingency approach (Forsgren, M.
2008). The nature of Google’ s products and services, characteristics of its customers and market selection are important in evaluating marketing activities (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Erramilli, 2003; Ghemawat & Ghadar, 2006). However, the ethicality of the marketing situation depends on their interaction. Complex and specific marketing situations require moral judgment enabled through a normative framework of marketing ethics (Andrejevic, 2011; Chortareas, McDermott & Ritsatos, 2000; Fama, 1998). Since its inception until today, Google’ s primary function has been to provide its users with a mechanism of accessing the world’ s data in an easy and fast way through its geographically borderless internet environment (Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007).
Through its internet provision, it has made sharing of data across its users a possible reality. It has made its data digitized and available over the internet in all forms and such data comes from telephone, images, internet, radio, video, and libraries (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011 Fama, 1998).
Other sources of similar data come from patent information, national archives and satellite transmissions (Ghauri, & Gronhaug, 2005). It is important to note that the data that Google allows its users to access can be searched from the internet, intranet, computer, and the website. Through doing things the right way, it has continued to receive large scale recommendations for its provision of platforms for job discussion websites such as Googlunaplex and other award-winning search results (Erramilli, 2003; Forsgren, M. 2008). In its business, it seeks to enhance its search engine algorithm through forming partnerships.
Google has formed such partnerships with companies outside its core business and this has played to its advantage in the sense that through it, its revenue-producing products have received exposure through the many outlets that have been created (Andrejevic, 2011; Kotler, & Armstrong, 2006). Furthermore, it has been a source of receiving many hardware and software products. Additionally, through its outright purchases, it has broken the record of purchases of other companies. For instance, in 2006, it bought YouTube for $1.65 billion making it a reigning powerhouse (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Erramilli, 2003). Accordingly, Google has had many avenues through which it has raised its revenue.
Some of the diverse ways it has used include selling to its partners what is referred to as crawler data and through customized data for businesses. Other means include Adense which is an advertising service that is context-based and also through a search based advertising space referred to as Adwords (Ghauri, & Gronhaug, 2005). Sometimes Google’ s promise of meeting consumer needs and wants according to the contemporary marketing concept gets misplaced (Fama, 1998).
The result is that neither the society nor the customer's benefit and their interests fails to be met (Birkinshaw, Morrison, & Hulland, 1995). These problems are caused by a lack of understanding of market segmentation and selection. Differentiation of marketing mix and market segmentation in the marketing field has become important to marketers due to their prevalence. Marketers and consumers greatly benefit from vulnerable consumers (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Barbin & Oliveira, 2006; Erramilli, 2003). Marketing of a product with consideration to factors such as growth rate and size to a segment of attracted consumers is referred to as concentrated marketing (Chortareas, McDermott & Ritsatos, 2000; Ghemawat & Ghadar, 2006).
The fact that it is targeted marketing even though the products or services may cause harm to the copyright owners or welcome by consumers and is largely ethical makes it theoretically good (Birkinshaw, Morrison, & Hulland, 1995; Young & Tavares, 2004). In this sense, marketers target a beneficial group of consumers. Information gathering in Google is seen as being educational and non-profit (Andrejevic, 2011; Husted & Allen, 2006).
In fact, Google's perspective to it is that of it being a small or large scale business and also personal. Its target marketing spreads appropriately to all segments making its applications and products available to all (Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000). Additionally, it allows free and nonprofit usage to small businesses and private users (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Erramilli, 2003). As an organizational culture, Google uses implementation as a marketing approach (Andrejevic, 2011). It has fostered an educational atmosphere in its services through the strong attachment it has with education and libraries (Bjorkman, Fey & Park, 2007; Forsgren, M.
2008; Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007; Wolf & Egelhoff, 2002). Other than making information available to all its users, it also rewards its employees as a means of encouraging them. Such rewards come in the form of competitive pay, freedom with work hours, free meals and messages (Ghauri, & Gronhaug, 2005). Other areas include creating time for them to involve themselves in volleyball, football, team hockey games, and lap pools and so on (Forsgren, M. 2008). It continues to market its opportunities by creating jobs for students through other companies.
These jobs are meant to build the experience of the students when they are off college and during summer times (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Ghauri, & Gronhaug, 2005; Grier & Brumbaugh, 1999; Husted & Allen, 2006). Additionally, it markets its technological ideas through organizing events to discuss new ideas and to challenge technologically software engineers. Also, alongside challenging the engineers, it holds educational and professional contests with huge rewards and prestige for winners who demonstrate great abilities to solve mind racing problems (Luo, 2006).
Such programming tests not only market their brand but it also creates opportunities for them to find new employees (Andrejevic, 2011; Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007). Google as a marketer has several options with respect to the consumer groups. Those options include using integrated mass marketing to carry out marketing practices, using a unique marketing mix to target a consumer group or exclude the group from marketing programs (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011; Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Forsgren, M. 2008; Ghemawat & Ghadar, 2006). Comparing target marketing with integrated mass marketing, even though the latter is a popular strategy, the former is more effective (Ang, Leong & Kotler, 2000; Forsgren, M.
2008). Companies use target marketing to gain a competitive advantage in the market. Due to the universal benefits of Google services and products, exclusion of customers and inclusion of others during market selection may be seen as unfair or unequal (Andrejevic, 2011; Birkinshaw, Morrison, & Hulland, 1995; Chortareas, McDermott & Ritsatos, 2000; Grier & Brumbaugh, 1999). As a result, customers face limited choices when marketing choices exclude them and so moving to other service providers may result in incurring higher switching costs (Al Kailani & Kumar, 2011). Google privacy issues, as well as its potential purchase of Double Click, have caused much public concern (Ghauri & Gronhaug, 2005).
A negative perception has been created among the users of the services due to the insecurity posed. Ethical evaluations of marketing practices lie in the salient factor of consumer capability (Yin, 2003). Due to this, most of its practices have left consumers feeling vulnerable (Karpatkin, 1999; Palmå s, 2011; Tian & Li, 2011).
In its marketing practice, it has not considered the fact that consumers need abilities that are of a given variety and that include physical, economic and mental abilities to execute a marketing exchange. In this sense, the consumers cannot make informed decisions about the products marketed to them whether they are beneficial or not (Wocke, Bendixen & Rijamampianina, 2007). Google’ s weakness in its service of saving key-word data and no out-put feature applications fails to consider the continuum of customer’ s abilities from vulnerable to sophisticated (Laczniak, 1999). There are categories of customers and these include those who are vulnerable, those at risk and customers who are sophisticated (Grier & Brumbaugh, 1999).
The latter are so because of professional background, prior experience, education or maturity. Those at a risk suffer from behavioral patterns they are not able to control probably due to addiction. Such a group would include teenagers who may develop an addiction to the internet and who may be exposed to materials flowing into the internet. The free flow of data may also trigger other behaviors among adults who may become predators targeting teenagers and children who may be harmed by certain data given to them (Khatri & Nanyang, 2000; Pearce & Michael, 1997; Weissman, 2011). However, it is important to point out that Google is still regarded as a company that has developed to a leading search in the world and a new business model with success in Gmail, Google Maps, Google Video and Google Earth applications (Golden-Biddle & Locke, 2007; Husted & Allen, 2006).
It has faced considerable competition from strong rivals such as Excite, Altavista, Lycos, Yahoo, and the giant Microsoft.
Interestingly, it has proved its ability as a strong and successful company (Ghauri, & Gronhaug, 2005; Grier & Brumbaugh, 1999). The company plans to add on all data interactions and communications available its products and make domestic and international acquisitions. Even though it surprisingly doesn’ t have advertisements on its website, it has continued to offer its users easy to read data on web pages, video presentations, online seminars, and education materials through the internet. Questions 1. Discuss Google’ s marketing mix and strategy? 2. Do you think Google’ s Business Model is a winning Business Model?
3. Why do you think Google has been able to sustain its success against its strong competitors? 4. Discuss other marketing strategies Google can use to achieve future goals and visions.
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