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Are Marketing Departments Crossing the Line?

I have a question that involves privacy issues. It is the job of the marketing division to analyze through market research what the customers wants and needs are but are they going to far today by tracking everywhere you go and what you purchase? For example your smartphone sends out signals constantly that companies can pick up to track movements. A marketing department can use this to determine how customers flow through a store, how long they are stopping at different displays, how long customers are in the store, and if customers are repeat customers. This is something that can't be turned off on your phone and is technically not a privacy violation at this point but Coldewey points out the issue of others gaining this data like if your employer found out you were out shopping or in a bar when you called in sick, then it could cross the line of privacy violation.

Do you think marketing departments are crossing the line in how they do their market research so far?

Solution Preview

There are a few different points that need to be addressed. Marketing companies need to remain ethical in two different areas, in regards to marketing data. They need to remain ethical in how they collect the data, and also how they use that data. This also includes the storage and maintenance of the data. If a company is collecting information ethically to determine the next product that would be the most useful to customers, or the main products customers are purchasing, and the company then uses that data as needed for marketing analysis and stores the data in a way as to where it cannot be accessed by other companies that may try and unethically use the data, we could see where the collection of such data is ...

Solution Summary

This solution explains if marketing departments cross the line in how marketing research is conducted.

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