It has been considered that harnessing data and making a decision based on that brings rationality in decision-making. As a result, it helps in innovation and significantly supplementing ideas for making better product and services. This is the reason we do MARKET RESEARCH explicitly. The history of marketing activity guides bringing controversies in marketing activities. For example from the promotion unethical medicines and ineffective patents in 19th century to tobacco and alcohol in 21st century, which brought a negative impact on both side of advertisement and environmental sector.
Market research is fortunately not undermined in the context of ethical standards, First ESOMAR code of marketing & research practice was published in 1948, and MRS published first regulatory code in 1954. These guidelines are well appreciated and practiced in local market research associations and are regularly updated.
KEY FUNDAMENTALS OF THE CODE
The Code is based on these key fundamentals:
- Market researchers shall conform to all relevant national and international laws.
- Market researchers shall behave ethically and shall not do anything which might damage the reputation of market research.
- Market researchers shall take special care when carrying out research among children and young people.
- Respondents’ cooperation is voluntary and must be based on adequate, and not misleading,information about the general purpose and nature of the project when their agreement to participate is being obtained and all such statements shall be honoured.
- The rights of respondents as private individuals shall be respected by market researchers and they shall not be harmed or adversely affected as the direct result of cooperating in a market research project.
- Market researchers shall never allow personal data they collect in a market research project to be used for any purpose other than market research.
- Market researchers shall ensure that projects and activities are designed, carried out, reported and documented accurately, transparently and objectively.
- Market researchers shall conform to the accepted principles of fair competition
These guidelines were effective in past, but now the potential of big data has changed everything.
Corporate market researchers believe that leading agency in 2020 for dealing with ethics will be like Google, Facebook or something more sophisticated than them. Catching ‘policy breach’ could be proved to be more profitable than doing research because the tougher the law, more regulated the world will be. Also, these ethics can be broadened, and may be practiced against each other in the future, not necessarily to be between customers and organizations. There are some speculation in the market and might be inside these social networking giants of making an effective and controlled ways to allow people to share things online. It might ask you for approval (at the time of adding them as friend) to allow sharing your contents and even tagging you in his/her photos. There are many more to be discovered, and there will always be a better way of bringing regulations in place but the impact of compensation due to CODE breach can brutalize social networking. Be Alert!
Further Readings:I suspect that in future people will record even conversations and use it for analyzing behavior, and further possibly leveraging it to Big Data. Will You Allow Others Know That Your Wife is Pregnant Even Before She Tells You?