Thursday, 12 February 2009
Bankers, Big Business and Ferengi Ethics
Recognise the face? Its Quark the Ferengi bartender from Star Trek. Quark has a reputation for being unscrupulous in his commercial dealings. How much does Quark represent the dealings of modern banking and business?
N.Craig Smith Professor of Marketing at Georgetown University wrote a paper in 1995 entitled Marketing Strategies For The Ethics Era
It was published in the Sloan Management Review volume 36 issue 4.
In his abstract Professor Smith says:
"Marketing strategies are increasingly subject to public scrutiny and are being held to higher standards. Caveat emptor is no longer acceptance as a basis for justifying marketing practices..Today, consumers' interests are increasingly favored over producers' consumers can make informed choices, and less capable consumers are offered special protection. The author provides a practical framework - including the consumer sovereignty test - for marketers to apply to their decision making."
Smith suggested that Businesses just like the products they produce could be labelled in a way that showed their attitude and performance in respect of:
Consumer Capability - (is the consumer vulnerable?)
Information - (are expectations and promises realised?)
Choice - (do customers have an opportunity to switch?)
His checklist is elaborated in the paper to include aspects of:
Product Policy - product safety, deceptive packaging, planned obsolesence etc
Marketing Communications - questionable sales techniques, misrepresentation, conflicts of interests, ie pushing products not best suited to the customer, puffery, advertising as hidden perusader.
Pricing deceptive, unfair
Distribution selective, deliberate shortages
How these issues echo today with the 2009 financial crisis. and it is interesting to note the UK Prime Minister's concern with controlling the excesses of The Banking Bonus Culture