An international marketer is marketing goods and/or services in a variety of countries. The threshold question before beginning such an enterprise is to understand if the laws and customs of the other countries make them an appropriate market at all. Products seen as normal and beneficial in one culture could...
An international marketer is marketing goods and/or services in a variety of countries. The threshold question before beginning such an enterprise is to understand if the laws and customs of the other countries make them an appropriate market at all. Products seen as normal and beneficial in one culture could very well be viewed as harmful or insulting in another. For example, countries where dogs are viewed as vermin will not make a good market for dog beds. An ethical approach at a minimum requires not harming or insulting the customer.
Next, the question asks which particular ethical and moral approaches the marketer may take in their enterprise, whether utilitarian, rights-based, or justice-focused, or another ethical approach. A utilitarian approach ostensibly seeks the greatest good for the greatest number, and has a surface rational appeal. However, customers in other countries may have a very different idea about what is truly "good." Which should control—what the marketer feels is "good," or what the customer feels is "good"? When baby formula companies sought to enter undeveloped markets to fight malnutrition, in some cases the problems were made worse when mothers chose formula over breastfeeding, resulting in new health problems for the babies. A utilitarian approach that does not allow for societal complexity runs the risk of creating unintended consequences.
The question also asks about rights-based and justice-focused approaches. Generally, a rights-based approach is grounded in law and for that reason would be the choice best defended as democratic, assuming the foreign country in question is a credible democracy. This is because in a democracy the citizen has a say in creating laws through the franchise. A justice-focused approach, on the other hand, assumes societal inequalities are built into the institutional structures of the country and is probably a more realistic and effective approach in countries where corruption and authoritarian practices are common. Marketing to either of these situations would necessitate expertise with needs and gaps in enforcement of legal rights. In the case of dealing with customers who live in corrupt countries, one should be well versed in laws of bribery and other pertinent laws in their own country first and foremost.
Another ethical approach that is not mentioned in the question would be to treat customers in the foreign markets as one would like to be treated, after first taking into account cultural differences.
To find three examples of where "the company" acted according to one of these ethical approaches and three where they should have chosen another approach, multinational corporations that sell chemicals, food products, or technology would provide fertile opportunity for research.