Importance Of Ethics In Marketing Research

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Ethics in Marketing Research
In the present day, marketing research has experienced a sudden growth with the extensive use of Internet and social media. In fact, it is becoming very easy for companies to connect with the customers and collect their private information. This exists since researchers are becoming closer in-terms of intimacy as well physical proximity to the customers.
This article aims to address the rising concern over the violation of ethics in marketing research particularly the right to privacy and confidentiality of information. This seems to be a critical area to consider as it has a direct and serious impact on the lives of customers.
However, before going any further, let’s understand what is ethics? In simple
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Knowing about the customers, companies are able to better serve the needs of their customers. And at the same time, even the customers are privileged by getting a more satisfactory product. However, this research can be vastly misused as well that can harm the consumer’s interests. In fact, many companies follow deceptive and unethical practices in their research methods to increase their market share and profit as a whole. These practices can be anything from not telling the customers that their information is being recorded to selling unnecessary research.
Now let’s find out who are the key stakeholders in marketing research and how are they affected.
Key stakeholders include:
1. Public:
They are faced by two primary concerns which can hurt their rights. These are:
• Privacy Issues:
Misuse of privacy appears to be one of the most serious concerns in marketing research. Companies having ability to collect and store private customer information can result in the infringement of a person’s right to privacy. Though this information is primarily used for targeting marketing but it can also be sold thereby hurting customer’s personal freedom.
• Confidentiality
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However, they often skew their work due to stereotypical behavior that can lead to a one-dimensional view especially of the minorities. This affects the research data.
4. Research Suppliers
Research suppliers are the fourth and final stakeholders who also have the right to be treated ethically. They can be abused through the following:
• Misrepresentation of findings
Their findings can often be distorted by the client for their own benefit which can affect the researcher’s reputation.
Key Stakeholders Key Ethical Concerns
Public Privacy Issues Confidentiality Concerns
Respondents Abuse to respondents Delivering sales under the guise of research
Clients Unqualified research Disclosure of identity Lack of Objectivity
Research Suppliers Misrepresentation of findings

In order to avoid the above problems, various codes have been set-up. One of them being ‘The American Marketing Association’s Marketing Research Code of Ethics’.
Based on the above analysis, it is evident that researchers must be extremely careful while performing research study. They should realize that the more they woo customers the more negative impact it creates in their mind regarding the brand image of the
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