Direct Marketing from an ethical point of view

Term Paper, 2007
12 Pages, Grade: MA


Most people think that marketing is only about the advertising and/or personal selling of goods and services. Advertising and selling, however, are just two of the many marketing activities (Thomas and Housden, 2002). According to Boone and Kurtz (1997);

“Marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, services, organizations, and events to create and maintain relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational objectives” (Boone and Kurtz, 1997: 202).

Another definition of marketing, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing, is ‘ The management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitability ’ (Tailor, 2000). In all the definitions of marketing the main point is to satisfy the customer needs. As known with in a global world it will be difficult for the companies to achieve this satisfaction because the needs and the demands are unlimited and the customers have many different alternatives for the different products.

Powerful forces such as capitalism, global transport, communications, marketing and advertising, and transnational cosmopolitanism are interacting to dissolve the boundaries across national cultures and economies and in the eyes of some, accelerating the emergence of a homogeneous global consumer culture (Keegan and Green, 2003; Kotler, 2005). The conventional method of using countries as the cultural unit of analysis or as a basis for market segmentation, is increasingly ill-advised, given that most of the world's countries are already multicultural and growing ever more so, and even within relatively homogeneous nations, individuals vary substantially in the extent to which they identify with, adhere to, and practice cultural norms. Many researchers argue that increasing globalization is reducing the homogeneity of consumer behaviours within countries, while increasing communalities across countries (Cleveland and Laroche, 2007). The decreasing homogeneity forces the professionals to reach every type of the customer. Without reaching all types of the customer a company can never be successful because there will be another company reaching to that customer in the global world. In this point direct marketing becomes useful (Nash, 2000).

Direct Marketing is a promotion mechanism that allows focused messages to be received by a targeted audience. The main difference between direct marketing and other promotion is that you can closely qualify your audience to deliver a message that appeal to their specific needs (Anon, 2007). By this way the company reaches the different types of customers with different marketing and promotion activities so the company will satisfy the needs of each customer segments. By satisfying the needs the companies will be more successful in the competitive environment (Kotler, 2005).

So direct marketing comes very useful in reaching the customers with true methods and promotions. Direct marketing is done by the mails mainly. Before the improvements in the information technology and internet these activities were carried out by the mails. However, in the global world with the improvements in the internet and web technology the usage of the direct mailing and direct marketing has reached to top. It is so easy now to send e-mails and to reach the costumers (Thomas and Housden, 2002). These mails called as spam. Spam costs the sender very little to send most of the costs are paid for by the recipient or the carriers rather than by the sender (Falk, 2007). That is why the companies choose the direct marketing alternatives because in a global world the costs of the marketing activities go always to upper accounts. When it is thought in the frame of cost it may be seen as useful (Oser, 2007). However, direct marketing and direct mailing should be done in a harmony and should be used carefully. In order to reach this harmony, the companies should follow the key elements. According to Thomas and Housden (2002), there are three key elements of successful direct mail: making an offer, selecting the target audience among customer lists and databases, and creating the direct mail package. Making an offer is one element that distinguishes direct marketing from general advertising and other types of marketing. Offers are designed to motivate the reader to take action: place an order, request more information, etc. (Anon, 2007). The most important point for the direct mailing in the era of internet is to limit the spam mails and not boring the potential costumers (Marketing Week, 2007).

Spam mails

As a definition spam is called as

“…flooding the Internet with many copies of the same message, in an attempt to force the message on people who would not otherwise choose to receive it. Most spam is commercial advertising, often for dubious products, get-rich-quick schemes, or quasi-legal services” (Falk, 2007).

In another definition, spam is called as “electronic junk mail or junk newsgroup postings” (Messenger, 2003). Some people define spam even more generally as any unsolicited e-mail (Brown, 1999). However, if a long-lost brother finds your e-mail address and sends a message, this could hardly be called spam, even though it's unsolicited. Real spam is generally e-mail advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup (Montgomery, 2004). The professionals are in the same idea about the spam that these are unsolicited and mainly used in the direct marketing activities. However the user of internet and e-mail accounts has some complaints about the spam mails and the companies sending these mails.

By the increase in these complaints Congress attempted to address the problem of unsolicited commercial email (as spam is officially known) with the enactment of the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act in 2003. The act was an attempt to regulate and restrict spam by requiring commercial email marketers to meet a set of standards in their email or face civil or criminal sanctions. The act bans the use of false or misleading header information (to or from and routing) and the use of deceptive subject lines. The act also requires that email recipients be given an opt-out method, and senders cannot sell or transfer email addresses of those who opt out. Finally, the act requires that the email be identified as an ad, and the email must include a postal address or phone number (Pike, 2007).

With the CAN-SPAM Act six months after its enactment was very low with only 14.3% of email messages meeting even the minimum standards of compliance. Two years after the enactment of CAN-SPAM the overall compliance rate was down even further to only 5.7%. Armed with CAN-SPAM, U.S. authorities have taken action against violators and since January 2004 more than 50 federal arrests have been made against alleged violators of CAN-SPAM But apparently the threat of federal prosecution has not been a very strong deterrent: by all indications the amount of spam has continued to increase since the enactment of CAN-SPAM (Grimes, 2007).


Excerpt out of 12 pages


Direct Marketing from an ethical point of view
Bournemouth University
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
486 KB
Direct, Marketing
Quote paper
Melis Ceylan (Author), 2007, Direct Marketing from an ethical point of view, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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