The paper "Markets and Marketing" is an outstanding example of an essay on marketing. Since time immemorial, marketing people have used consumer data to plan their marketing strategies. Direct marketing is one such phenomenon, where marketers use direct contact with consumers to sell their products or gather information regarding consumer behavior. But all this is done in full knowledge of the consumer who provides the information with his own free will. But when this information is obtained without the consent or knowledge of the consumer, it becomes a big ethical issue. Companies should understand that privacy and security-related statements are positively associated with consumers’ likelihood to purchase (Miyazaki and Fernandez, 2000). Thus there has to be a certain amount of transparency as to how the data is being used after collection by the firms. It is a fundamental principle of the DMA (Direct Marketing Association) that consumer data should only be used for marketing purposes.
In one of the cases filed with DMA, CDB Infotek of Santa Ana, California, -- a subsidiary of Equifax, Inc. was offering consumer data on-line for reference purposes.
There was a complaint against CDB Infotek for using consumer data to provide reference services (e. g., skip tracing, bill collection, look-ups, people-locating). This was thus a clear violation of industry ethical standards to sell consumer data such as publisher's records for look-ups, people-finding, or other reference services. CONSUMER CONCERNS: In the past decade, marketers have obtained more consumer information than ever before. A typical person is said to appear in anywhere from 25 to 100 databases, and some companies reportedly have 350 trillion characters of consumer data on more than 195 million people (Roznowski, 2001).
Their main concerns are the unauthorized access and misuse of personal information by the businesses and the disturbing and intrusive selling or marketing research efforts by the over-eager salespersons and companies.