In this video, explore a brief marketing ethics case study on data and privacy and discover the proper approach to ethical decision-making in marketing.
- Stu Heim, CMO of Bargain Bee Stores, learned the company's database had just been hacked. The credit card information of 500+ customers was stolen and the source of the hack was still unknown. Deb Brink, the communications director, was asking if the news of the hack was out in the public realm. Deb said, "Have we been monitoring the news online and conversations through social media?" Stu answered, "No, not yet. The news is still internal, although we need to alert our customers at some point." Deb followed up, "We probably have a few days until we can learn more about the details of the hack and what steps will be done to reassure customers and let them know how they can better secure their data." Stu added, "At least it wasn't 10,000 people. That would have been really scary. Let's wait to hear from the IT team before we start drafting a media statement. After all, once the media finds out, they'll be all over this story." Whether it's one person or 10,000 people, having consumer data stolen is a serious matter. Bargain Bee's customers trust the company with their information and they remain loyal customers based on feelings of data privacy and security. What's wrong with this scenario? What discussion should Stu and Deb be having? If you were in their position, what should you be saying or doing to be ethically handling a company data breach? A) Send out a statement to the media first, and then gauge public reaction, following up with an email to customers about the situation offering a big apology? Or B) Get the details of the situation, immediately draft a statement to customers, and reassure the right steps are being taken. Or C) Relax. Your customers will appreciate if you take some time to gather info, and then report to them. Inform other members of the company at some point so your employees don't say anything about the hack to their family and friends. Which choice did you choose? A, B or C? If you chose B, then you're correct. If you want to learn why choices A and C are not correct, then you can download the Consumer Data Privacy Case Study handout. Why B? Well, Stu and Deb need to act quickly. Understanding the situation fully, assessing the damage of the situation, because there could be more customers compromised than initially estimated. As ethical marketers, they have to be transparent about the situation. They should draft an apologetic letter from the company CEO to all customers, letting them know they're taking the right steps to prevent a data breach in the future. Ethical marketers understand the value of a relationship. Do you think about the ethical steps you need to take to protect the trust you've built with your customers?
- Examine the connection between leadership accountability and ethical practices.
- List three unethical behaviors that have a negative impact on marketing.
- Explain why marketing ethics training should not be a stand-alone program.
- Recognize the negative impact of using the word “testing” when assessing the effectiveness of an ethics training program.
- Review the importance of being open and transparent with clients.