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Is Tracking Consumer Behavior Ethical?

The internet is everywhere nowadays. Even in our refrigerators. With the internet being so easily accessible nowadays, consumers can find what they want at extreme speeds. Although it’s a positive to find whatever you want, it’s viewed pretty negatively that these companies have such easy access to your information. The question remains though; is tracking consumer behavior ethical?

How do they track information?

Through Google Analytics, companies are easily able to get consumer information. They can view page views, time spent, and where users are clicking. Companies use this info to see what is popular and what is not. They are able to access this info through your “cookies”; personal data from your device. Cookies track usernames, user preferences, and your location.

Is it ethicaI?

Is tracking consumer behavior ethical? On one hand, companies are able to use your info to market to their target audiences effectively. Often times, however, companies collect your info without consent. Over time, they take data from frequent users to create profiles to market directly to you. This is a big issue to many as it’s very invasive.

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Proactive or Defensive?

Companies have an obligation to answer the questions and or the comments made by customers. There are different ways companies could go about this. They could answer back in a proactive or defensive way. Many of us have probably experienced both. So, whats the difference?

Defensive Companies

A defensive company may look like many different things but they all have one thing in common: poor customer service. Defensive companies tend to not have good answers or sometimes not even the right answers to questions or comments. If they do provide an answer, usually it may be defensive rather than helpful. Rather than helping you, they tend to make excuses and sometimes even blame you for any complaints you may have. This obviously is poor customer service.

Proactive Companies

Proactive companies are the opposite of defensive companies: they have good customer service in comparison to a defensive company. Rather than blame the customer or give bland answers, they will try their best to help the customer or answer their feedback more naturally. An example of this I have found was on Wegman’s instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CGxGyXVl0ol/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

In the comment section, a customer commented that they had a complaint about a product they purchased. Rather than blaming the customer and defending themselves, they offered to help the customer to resolve the issue. This is a good example of not only good customer service but a proactive company. Rather than being defensive, this helps the company have a good image of being proactive and helps the customer in the process.

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Is Self Promotion Authentic?

When you go on social media, how many ads do you see? Too many to count. On average, you will see about 5,000 advertisements a day. How many of them do you actually pay attention to, though? If it doesn’t catch your interest, you’ll just move on and not even think about the ad. This begs the question: Is self promotion authentic?

Does it hurt the brand?

Most of the time, when you scroll through ads, they are more or less just copy and pasted in terms of delivery. They always show the next new product or even just blast the current products right in your face. This isn’t very enticing to the viewer. Instead, the viewer doesn’t really care about your products. So in other words, yes, it can hurt the brand if done wrong. One example I always think of are the Charmin Bears. What are they advertising? That it’s cool to poop? I, personally, find a lot of the ads very annoying as they are just telling you it’s fun to wipe with their toilet paper through an annoying song or weird visuals when in all reality, pooping isn’t really enjoyable to anyone. This draws me away from the brand as I find their ads annoying so I’m less likely to buy from them.

What can they do instead?

Brands have numerous different ways they could show their content without constant self promotion. Sometimes they can take part in social activism or even ask the consumers what they want to see or know. One brand I enjoy the content from is Levi’s. From first glance you’d wonder what any of it has to do with jeans but when looking further, it includes some product of theirs whether it be someone wearing a pair of jeans or a denim jacket.

What distinguishes them from other brands is what the people are doing in their posts. It is full of activism from movements like Black Lives Matter or showing fashionable ways to tell people to vote. It really engages the audience as these are very big topics and they obviously are taking their stance while still representing their brand in some way. In this case, it is showing what the company believes but has hints of self promotion. So the question remains, is self promotion authentic? If done wrong, yes. If done right like Levi’s, no, it can actually help them. It just takes creativity.

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Pay to Win?

What is the first thing you usually see when you search something up on Google? That’s right, ads. Big businesses often times will spend large amounts of money to make sure their site is placed right up top of the search results. Does this mean that the more you pay, the more likely you’ll beat out your competition? In other words, is this a “pay to win” situation?

Money Can Only Go So Far

To answer the question as to whether spending more will get you a higher result on the page than your competition, yes it will. This, however, doesn’t always guarantee clicks. Just because you may be up top doesn’t mean you’re what a user is looking for; it only increases your probability of being clicked on as you’re on top. So yes, it is pay to win, however, it doesn’t guarantee clicks. That is entirely based on the content you’re providing

What Can Be Done?

To get users to click your ad(s), you need good material that is useful to the user. Just because you are up at the top of the search results doesn’t mean people want to click your ads, especially if they aren’t what they are looking for. All it is doing at that point is wasting money. If you have good, valuable information, then yes, you could possibly beat your competition.

It is all dependent on whether or not your ad is what the user is looking for. If not, don’t expect many clicks to come through.

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Starbucks and Fair Trade

Fair trade is the exchange of products with farmers from developing nations through partnership, transparency an respect, all while making sure the producers of these products are being treated well and being paid fairly. Starbucks is one of the biggest advocates for fair trade and pay premiums to ensure the products coming into the stores are high quality all while making sure the workers on the farms are getting paid fairly for the hard work they do. Starbucks ensures through their fair trade policies that these farmers can grow effectively and for a much smaller cost to produce.

Consumers typically don’t think about the origins of the goods they are consuming but should. As the eco-friendly ways of consumption and purchasing is becoming more and more important, ensuring that workers in developing countries are being treated fairly and being paid well for their work should be just as high priority as the eco-friendly movement. Along with this, it ensures the customer of where and who the product is coming from and that it is a healthy option as compared to a company who may not participate in fair trade.

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Digital Marketing’s Effect on Business

Digital marketing has affected business in the past decade significantly. With a huge boom in internet usage throughout the whole world, it is the prime source nowadays to advertise for businesses through different platforms like social media.