Marketing decision, use article

A well planned distribution channel system is a key component of the marketing mix that helps meet customer demands and achieve company goals. This assignment will analyze the role channels of distribution have in meeting the needs of consumers in both a brick and mortar and online retail setting. Assignment Steps Resources: University Library article on distribution channels in marketing that is not more than five years old; Marketing: Ch. 1: pg. 4-10; Ch. 2: pg. 40-46, 54-69; Ch. 15: pg. 408-420; Ch. 16: pg. 438-447; Week 4 video Scenario: You work for a newly formed sports apparel company and your manager has requested you help the company decide on the best distribution strategy to use for its products. You have begun research on the strategies and methods available by reviewing relevant articles on the topic. Based on your article review, you will decide what strategy(ies) is/are best and explain the reasoning behind your conclusion. Select an article from the University Library that is less than five years old on the role of distribution channels in marketing. Compose a 1,050-word article review covering the following:
Define what a distribution channel is and discuss why it is important to the marketing process.
Discuss the differences between direct and indirect distribution channels.
Introduce the article and its author(s) and give a brief summary of its core message(s).
Analyze the relationship distribution channels have to maintaining a satisfied target market.
Compare and contrast similarities and differences in distribution strategies for online versus brick and mortar businesses. Use examples from a company you admire or your own work life examples to illustrate your points.
Recommend distribution strategy(ies) for the company and what reasoning led you to conclude this was the best solution.
Cite a minimum of two peer-reviewed sources with one being the article from the University Library. Format your paper consistent with APA guidelines. Click the Assignment Files tab to submit your assignment.
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FEMALE SHOPPERS’ OUTLOOK OF FIRMS’ FAIRNESS
IN MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS AND
DISTRIBUTION CHANNELS
Pranav KUMAR
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Email: pranavkr.jh@gmail.com
Sany Sanuri Mohd. MOKHTAR
Universiti Utara Malaysia
Email: sany@uum.edu.my
Abstract:
Consumers often experience injustice from the businesses which ignore
fairness aspects in their marketing activities which can range from improper
promotional campaigns to distribution bias and so on. As such, it has been
of immense importance for the researchers to explicitly examine the role of
virtuous marketing practices in shaping attitude of consumers. Accordingly,
by means of a survey based investigation conducted with urban female
consumers, this study probes the attitude of shoppers towards businesses’
ethicality in their marketing activities. Results indicate that righteousness in
marketing communications and fairness in distribution channels exhibit a
positive relationship with the attitude of consumers which further impacts
their intentions to peruse marketers’ ethicalities while developing plans to
buy cosmetics products. Furthermore, in an ethical marketing context,
subjective norms and perceived behavioral control also influence consumer
intentions significantly. It is also discovered that consumer lifestyle facets
reflected by religiosity and women’s role and perception exert no moderating
influence over the attitude-intention link. Consequently, managers are
recommended to take adequate measures towards ensuring that their
promotional and distributive actions are seen by the consumers as fair,
reasonable and virtuous.
Keywords: Uprightness in marketing communications,
distribution, women role and perception, religiosity, PLS-SEM
fairness
in
1. Introduction
Appraising industry practices on the basis of ethics is not a new issue. Also,
marketer’s adherence to virtue ethics is deeply desired by the consumers. In that
regard, it is useful to notice that primary focus of businesses is to reap profits but
their survival and sustainability largely depend on maintenance of ethical standards
and fairness to buyers (Chattananon, 2003; Piacentini, MacFadyen et al, 2000). As
consumers are often seen to be concerned about potential losses in purchase
decisions, it becomes imperative for the firms to understand behavior of
consumers in connection with their purchase decision patterns, and strategies to
Management&Marketing, volume XV, issue 1/2017
41
cope up with consumers’ fears or risk factors (Koklic 2011; Ozcaglar-Toulouse,
Shiu et al, 2006).
Studies reveal that firms that follow ethical practices in marketing enjoy
favorable consumer attitudes towards them which in turn results into boosted sales
of their products (Brown and Dacin, 1997; Gupta, Pirsch et al, 2010). Furthermore,
it has also been reported that advertisements containing offending elements like
religious offences or others have got negative impact on consumers’ attitudes
towards such firms (De Run, Butt et al, 2010). Also, consumers feel bad for firms’
distributive injustice when they come to know that someone else paid less than
them for the similar product from same outlet or even from some other outlet
(Shehryar and Hunt, 2005). And this bad feeling is translated into their future
buying intentions towards the products of such firms. For instance, it is useful to
note here that firms producing cosmetics and beauty products are known to be
prone to ethical issues and challenges under several circumstances.
In recent times, while crafting ethical marketing strategies, marketing experts
are endorsed to take into due account the behavior of women consumers towards
fairness aspects in distribution and marketing communications (Fernando,
Suganthi et al, 2014). Also, there have been umpteen suggestions made for
adding the aspects related to perceptions and sensitiveness of consumers towards
firms’ marketing practices to the existing body of marketing ethics knowledge
(Green and Antoine, 2011; Kumar, Mokhtar et al, 2014). In consistency with the
above, a serious need is recognized for modeling both supply and demand aspects
along with consideration of ethical issues in consumer studies (Zhao, Zhao et al,
2011). Furthermore, Malaysia is a multicultural country consisting of many ethnic
groups like the Malays, Indian, Chinese, and others. These groups show a
symphonic interaction among themselves in their daily life, however, they also
concurrently continue to practice their individual identity, culture, values and
beliefs, and languages as well (Rashid and Ho, 2003). At the same time, studies
also show that even if demographic characteristics like education or income of
consumers are high or low, they still may not make their purchase decisions
accordingly because of varying lifestyles, and as such, inclusion of demographic
factors (Pharr, 2011) and lifestyle concerns (Chen, 2011) can potentially offer
valuable insights and explanations relevant to consumer behavior studies.
Addressing the aforesaid issues, this paper begins with an extensive review of
literature, and offers theoretical foundations for the research model. Thereafter,
methodological aspects are presented which include instrumentation and data
analysis results. Finally, findings, discussion and conclusive remarks are presented.
2. Literature Review
Making sincere efforts towards gaining consumers’ collective tryst is strongly
suggested for the firms’ marketing successes (Audi, 2008; Fulmer and Gelfand,
2012). In a study conducted by Uusitalo and Oksanen (2004), it was found that
91% of Finnish consumers visibly stated that they always keep in view ethical
standards of the firms and consequently, they expect reliable information about the
same for making their purchase decisions. Basically, consumers start to form
favorable attitude with increase in knowledge about products and firms’ ethical
values, and if they have got any doubt about transparency of firms, they may
cease to contain positive opinion towards such firms (Bhaduri and Ha-Brookshire,
Management&Marketing, volume XV, issue 1/2017
42
2011). In line with the aforesaid aspects, Smith (1995) suggested several ethical
issues in context of consumer marketing while perusing a firm’s marketing
practices as shown in Figure 1.
Marketing Communications Related Aspects
Personal Selling
• Questionable/psychological sales techniques (e.g., high-pressure selling)
• Overselling (e.g., overestimating customer’s problem, overpromising product
performance, overspecifying product requirement)
• Misrepresentation (i.e., beyond permissible puffery, including by omission)
• Conflicts of interest (e.g., incentives to push products not best suited to customer)
Advertising
• Deceptive/misleading advertising (including puffery that amounts to “soft core
deception”)
• Advertising that “manipulates” behavior (i.e., advertising as “hidden persuader”
that creates “false” needs leading to unnecessary/harmful demand)
• Advertising to children Sales Promotion
• Deceptive/misleading sales promotions
• Bait-and-switch Direct Marketing
• Misrepresentation of products (i.e., misleading advertising via direct mail, etc.)
• Violations of consumer privacy (e.g., unauthorized use of mailing lists)
• No intention of fulfilling orders (i.e., fraudulent practices)
Channels of Distribution Related Aspects
• Discrimination (e.g., “redlining”, selective direct marketing)
• Restricted availability (e.g., supply shortages)
Figure 1. Consumer Marketing: Evident Ethical Concerns
Source: Adapted from Smith (1995)
Clarity on the role of virtuous marketing practices in impacting the extent of attitude
formation among consumers is supposed to be of immense use and significance for the
marketers in a hyper competitive era like now. Therefore, most of the aforesaid ethical
aspects are considered in the current study wherein ethical marketing practice is
characterized and appraised by two factors: uprightness in marketing communications;
and fairness in firms’ distribution channels. When an outcome or the process of reaching
that outcome is largely believed as suitable, reasonable and just, it generally signifies
fairness or uprightness (Bolton, Warlop et al, 2003).
Uprightness in Marketing Communications
There is some evidence that when consumers carry a positive view towards
ethical products, companies might get benefit through product promotions by using
its main strengths as well as by stressing on its ethical sides facilitated through
slight modifications in the traditional marketing mix essentials (Luchs, Naylor et al,
2010), which was also reinforced by Schlegelmilch and Oberseder (2010). At
times, it might be difficult for marketers to explicitly understand the stage wherein
they are overpassing the ethical limits. But then, it is also true that if firms do not
take consumers’ opinions into consideration, they will not be able to capture
nuances of ethical marketing issues relevant to them from a practitioner oriented
viewpoint (Al-Khatib, Stanton et al, 2005; Deng, 2012).
Management&Marketing, volume XV, issue 1/2017
43
As viewed from a practitioner perspective, firms unceasingly seek to maintain a
balance in their ethical obligations in different markets and cultures which is possible
with ease when their ethical values are properly communicated to the audience
(Donaldson, 1996; Grein and Gould, 2007). The prominence of marketing
communications is highlighted from the fact that consumers greatly value and rely on
the information furnished by the firms through their promotional activities for making
buying decisions in different scenarios (Koklic, 2011) and therefore, firms should be
honest in sharing necessary information with the consumers.
Fairness in Firms’ Distribution Channels
Marketers are seen to possess strong urge to attract customers, and which is
why they always try their best to improve consumers’ perceptions towards their
firms through various marketing deeds (Friestad and Wright, 1994). However, even
if consumers do not have any intention to buy the products of a firm, still unethical
activities undertaken by a firm attracts their attention to seek more knowledge
about the firm and its products on account of mere curiosity (Bell and Main, 2011).
In that regard, mentioning distributive aspects, Brown (2001) opined that
sometimes firms limit quantity of product, or change timing or channel of product
availability. Fairness in distribution aspects can be achieved only when both
consumers and marketers experience their interests being entertained with due
appropriateness and integrity (Khandelwal and Bajpai, 2012).
Theoretical Foundations
Purchase intention of consumers has been considered to possess a
significant relationship with virtuous practices of the firms and also with the firms’
ability to meet expectations of the consumers (Creyer and Ross, 1997; Ozbek,
Alniacik et al, 2012). The aforesaid matter can also be presented as the reason
behind willingness of consumers to pay higher than normal rates for ethically
produced goods and services (Auger, Burke et al, 2003). Also it is in agreement
that there is a need to identify the effects and roles of businesses’ ethicalities in
persuading consumers which can potentially trigger business development to a
reasonable extent (Viriyavidhayavongs and Yothmontree, 2002).
Keeping abreast with the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985), it was
asserted that the subjective norms are generally backed by two aspects with first
being normative beliefs based on expected reaction of family, peers and friends or
others, and the second being the degree of motivation to comply with what those
known ones’ suggest (Ramayah, Nasurdin et al, 2004). Usually, women are seen to
be markedly concerned about their beauties. And to feed such enthusiasm, they
seriously consider the suggestions of their family and friends in that regard especially
of those who have got glowing or glamorous skins and beauties. Also, it is argued
that enactment of behavior is contingent upon perceived behavioral control (PBC)
which fundamentally denotes “perceived availability of opportunities and resources to
perform the behavior” (Steinmetz, Davidov et al, 2011). Thus, attitude is not the only
single variable that determines intention, and hence, in line with the TPB, inclusion of
PBC and subjective norms in predicting intentions is traditionally said to explain the
consumer behavior models with enhanced precision.
Management&Marketing, volume XV, issue 1/2017
44
Probable Moderating Influences
Moreover, it is quite pertinent for the marketers to have sufficient
understanding of the reality that the format of retailing desired by consumers is the
one which handsomely aligns with consumers’ lifestyles and their shopping habits
(Forsythe, Liu et al, 2006). Also, diverse cultural values and norms have been seen
to exert a significant influence on female consumers’ attitudes towards their beauty
as well as their appetite to purchase cosmetics products (Koubaa, Ulvoas et al,
2011). Similarly, at times, religiosity or religious inclinations are also observed to
play a significant role in shaping the consumer behavior and buying decisions
(Mutsikiwa and Basera, 2012). As such, lifestyle of women consumers can be
reflected by aspects like women role and perception (Tai and Tam, 1997), and
religiosity (Pharr, 2011) which has been seen to exert moderating influence in the
consumer behavior based studies (Chen, 2011; Chuang, Tsai et al, 2009). Taking
into consideration the aforesaid aspects in overall terms, the aim of this study was
to describe and examine the relationship between virtuous practices in marketing
and attitude of shoppers.
3. Model of the Study
As per the arguments presented in the previous sections, and underpinned
with the theory of planned behavior (Ajzen, 1985) which has been the basis for
several consumer studies conducted in an ethical context (e.g. Kim and Karpova,
2010; Shaw and Shiu 2003), the constructs of this study are proposed. Perceived
uprightness in marketing communications, and perceived fairness in firms’
distribution channels representing virtuous marketing practices of firms tend to
impact attitude of consumers which further possesses a tendency of impacting
consumer intentions. Afterwards, subjective norms representing social factors and
perceived behavioral control signifying shoppers’ perceived ease and difficulty
aspects seek to impact their behavioral intentions. Furthermore, consumer income
is postulated to possess moderating role in influencing the relationships of
perceived uprightness in marketing communications and that of distribution
channels taken with the attitude of consumers. Finally, lifestyle aspects like
religiosity, and women role and perception are considered to exert moderating
influences on the relationship prevalent between attitude and intention of
consumers. It is in alignment with the consumer decision process model
(Blackwell, Miniard et al, 2001) which highlights differing roles of lifestyle facets in
influencing varying levels of consumer decision making process.
As discussed in the literature review section, shoppers expect to receive
honest and truthful information from the companies in their marketing
communications programs. However, the opposite is observed quite often, and it
can be seen in form of deceptive or twisted information being used in various
promotional campaigns (Wible, 2012). Similarly, integrity of distribution channels
can boost a firm’s profitability. However, also it is seen in practice that difficulties
felt by consumers in connection with product availability/information influence their
buying decisions unfavorably (Uusitalo and Oksanen, 2004). As such, in order to
conduct further investigation in this regard, following hypotheses were proposed:
H1: Higher perceived uprightness in marketing communications upheld by
firms positively affects consumer attitudes towards such firms.
Management&Marketing, volume XV, issue 1/2017
45
H2: Higher perceived fairness in firms’ distribution channels positively affects
consumer attitudes towards such firms.
Afterwards, shoppers might exhibit stronger willingness to purchase from
companies that they perceive to behave ethically (Shehryar and Hunt, 2005).
However, to substantiate such claims, it is also useful to investigate the extent to
which consumers’ favorable perceptions towards firms’ uprightness actually
transform into favorable intentions too. Moreover, in consistency with Ajzen (1991),
shoppers’ intentions towards firms’ uprightness can also be simultaneously
influenced by their perceived social pressure (Hanzaee and Taghipourian, 2012),
or by volitional control related aspects (Ajzen, 2006). In accordance with the
above, following hypotheses were postulated:
H3: More positive consumers’ attitudes towards a company positively affects
their intentions to take into account fairness aspects while planning to buy.
H4: There exists a positive relationship between subjective norms and consumer
intentions towards taking into account fairness aspects while planning to buy.
H5: Consumers’ perceived behavioral control significantly influences their
intentions to consider fairness aspects while planning to buy.
Furthermore, female shoppers’ lifestyles, habits, and decision making
preferences might vary due to their religious orientations (Jafari and Suerdem,
2012), or due to their overall roles and perceptions (Tai and Tam, 1997). Likewise,
their demographic backgrounds seek to further elaborate causes of such divergent
inclinations (Jansson, 2011). Also, it is suggested to shed further light on
understanding shoppers’ thoughtfulness and consideration of firms’ uprightness by
including probable moderating variables (Hanzaee and Taghipourian, 2012). As
such, following hypotheses were proposed:
Consumer Income
Perceived Uprightness in
Marketing Communications
Perceived Fairness in Firms’
Distribution Channels
H1
H8a,H8b
Women Role and Perception
Religiosity
H6,H7
Consumer
Attitude
H2
Subjective Norms
Perceived
Behavioral Control
H3
Consumer
Intentions
H4
H5
Figure 2. Research Model
H6: Women role and perception possess a moderating influence on the
relationship between their attitude and intentions as witnessed in an ethical
context.
H7: Religiosity possesses moderating influence on the relationship between
attitude and intention of consumers as witnessed in an ethical context.
H8a: Level of consumers’ income exerts a moderating influence on the
relationship between perceived uprightness in marketing communications and the
attitude of consumers in an ethical context.
Management&Marketing, volume XV, issue 1/2017
46
H8b: Level of consumers’ income exerts a moderating influence on the
relationship between perceived fairness in firms’ distribution channels and the
attitude of consumers in an ethical context.
As such, taking into consideration all of the aforesaid constructs, the research
model (Figure 2) proposed for this study was as follows:
4. Methodology
4.1 Sampling Procedure
This study was carried out in the three cities of Malaysia namely Penang,
Johor Bahru, and Kuala Lumpur. Following Sudman (1980) sampling approach,
this study resorted to using a systematic sampling method covering consumers of
various profiles reducing the chances of sampling bias. The respondents included
363 urban women consumers from these citites as it was assumed that consumers
residing in city limits contain higher awareness to ethics related challenges often
thrown by the marketers and accordingly, they can offer precise views about the
fairness issues as addressed in this study. Researchers also aimed at collecting
some additional responses from all of these three places in order to cope up with
possible/conventional problems usually obser …
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