Product classification: an ethical perspective

Harris, Fiona (2009). Product classification: an ethical perspective. Marketing Review, 9(2) pp. 127–138.




Concern about the social and environmental consequences of consumption has led to increasing ethical scrutiny of marketing activities. The nature of the product appears central to many criticisms directed at marketing. There is mounting pressure on organisations to demonstrate ethical credentials. Philip Kotler highlighted the importance of taking into account a product's impact on consumers' long-term welfare. This paper extends Kotler's (1972) classification of products matrix by including ethical consideration of consumers' needs and wants. The resulting 3D matrix provides a tool for considering products from an ethical perspective. It also offers organisations and marketers a means of analysing product concepts at an early stage and of identifying directions in which an existing product for which there is a questionable need can be developed to strengthen its justification.

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