Ethical Issues Related to Service Marketing Essay - Essay Prowess

Ethical Issues Related to Service Marketing Essay


Ethical Issues Related to Service Marketing


Marketing professionals are presented with great opportunities towards realizing a sound career with much potential for career advancement. However, following the high road seems to be avoided by a growing number of marketing professionals (Jackson, 2015). As such, it takes a lot of self discipline to remain ethical and more so, arriving at sound moral decisions compels one to involve a high degree of intelligence as well as forethought. Looking into the moral fiber of any situation with regard to an organization’s operations can determine whether it will continue or grow its competitive advantage over other industry players. The use of unethical service marketing practices in most cases results in legal issues which eat into profits and brand image thus curtailing growth as well as putting a marketer’s career at risk (Smith, 2014). This paper seeks to discuss an article published in the Wall Street Journal on the 19th of August 2015 titled, Hackers Post Stolen User Data from Ashley Madison Breach, in an effort to discuss the ethical issues that challenge service marketing companies.

Service Marketing

Service marketing entails the dissemination of data to consumers with an aim of selling intangible services as products (Smith, 2014). Service marketing thus involves intangible, inseparable, variable and perishable products such as those offered by management consultants or law firms. These factors defining service marketing tend to influence the manner with which consumers react in the market place as well as how organizations interact with consumers.

Ethical Issues Relative to Service Marketing

It is common knowledge that service oriented businesses work towards offering information to the public as to the services on offer and as such look for marketing avenues with which to lure customers to become loyal patrons (Smith, 2014). To successfully attain such goals, most firms engage marketing firms to project to the public the purported advantages of acquiring these services. Unfortunately some of the marketing firms simply boast to the public of services which do not deliver the purported satisfaction to the consumers. As such, this raises concerns as to the ethical values such service marketing may generate which in the short or even long term tend to hurt the businesses brand persona and profitability.

There is a high likelihood that service marketing tends to propagate false advertising which misleads the general public as to the benefits accruing from purchasing such services (Smith, 2014). In most instances, these exaggerations result into ethical issues compounded by the use of disclaimers which seek to shield the parent business from any wrong doing in cases where consumers do not get value for their hard earned money.

Hackers Infiltrate Ashley Madison

On the 19th Of August 2015, the Wall Street Journal published an article that puts to light the ethical problems associated with service marketing (Yadron, 2015). is a website owned and run by an organization referred to as Avid Life Media Inc. This website runs a rather controversial business which tends to promote extramarital affairs. According to the Yadron (2015), the black hat hackers sought to blackmail Avid Life Media Inc. to close down this website. This happened at a time when the company was looking to offer public stocks in the US financial markets valued at 200 million dollars.

This has not only created a high sense of degree among the consumers of this rather very successful web services but also put the company, Avid Life Media Inc. in a rather precarious position. The site is quite popular and boasts over 37 million customers and as such there has been a huge outcry among users (Yadron, 2015). Some have been seeking to know whether they are among those whose confidential data such as credit card transactions have been exposed while other are looking to find out whether their spouses are members of the Ashley Hudson website. This unfortunate outcome is a case of service marketing gone bad.

Ethical Issues exposed with Regard to Service Marketing in the Ashley Hudson Hacking

As with other social networking sites, has grown since its inception on the back of service marketing campaigns which promise confidentiality of user information (Smith, 2014). Many of these social networking websites use service marketing tools that project that client data is kept with utmost discretion. As such, the recent hacking incident has simply put to light that these claims are exaggerated and in essence erroneous. This has led to a situation where the company may soon have to face legal action from its clients which may affect its scheduled IPO thus adversely affect the parent company’s and more so, affect it competitive advantage in the short or long term (Yadron, 2015).


Service marketing is distinctively different from the marketing of tangible products. As such, it calls for more ethical and moral considerations to be taken into account when marketing product information to consumers. The unfortunate outcome of the hacking has only served to highlight the sensitive ethical aspects associated with service marketing and the potential it has to push a successful organization into insolvency.




Jackson, A. (2015). What Potential Ethical Issues Could Arise in Service Marketing & Delivery? Retrieved from:

Smith, N. C. (2014). Morality and the Market: Consumer Pressure for Corporate Accountability. London, UK: Routledge.

Yadron, D. (2015, August 19). Hackers Post Stolen User Data from Ashley Madison Breach. Retrieved from: