October 29, 2015
You work for MarketUS, an online marketing company that devises campaigns for clients in the technology industry. One of the strategies used by the company is comparison marketing with competitors and similar products. MarketUS wins a new client, a big video game manufacturer. You have been put in charge of the account. Your manager tells you that this account is very important to the company and to devise a strong marketing campaign, reminding you that you are up for promotion at the end of the quarter. The client has requested that the online campaign focus on comparing their product to the leading competitor, XYZ Gaming. Your spouse works for XYZ Gaming and told you in confidence that their latest product is flawed. Impressing this client would be very useful when you apply for promotion later this year.
Answer the following questions in your discussion post:
Q1. Yes, you absolutely tell your manager about the conflict of interest. It’s even somewhat surprising that this agency doesn’t have some type of family and household information cross check for its employees that would have raised this as a yellow flag assignment to begin with. However, while there is a “potential” for a conflict of interest, I do believe it can be managed if the new client understands that his account manager has said conflict and is willing to accept that he will not share his client’s information, nor will he seek out information from his wife.
Q2. Assuming that the supervisor accepts the potential conflict of interest, and that the client is also okay with it, he should inform his spouse that they will be very limited in what they can discuss and share from each other’s employ. Again, this can be managed effectively. Additionally, he should inform his spouse that any previous knowledge is confidential and if necessary, would be validated by additional sources through trade or other news sources.
Q3. This is obviously the toughest question of the three and I think it may depend on the approach you take. If it were me, I would conduct an online search to see if there were at least two other separate, independent sources that could verify the information on the flaw. Taking a journalist approach, I would inform my supervisor that several other sources have confirmed and/or reported on a flaw in the competition, if I felt this was the best approach to the campaign. If there were no other sources with this information, then I would strongly suggest he look into other points of difference between the new client and the competition. It’s very likely that there is only this one potential programming flaw that separates the companies and a good strategy session on benchmarking points of difference, campaign activations, etc. should be able to provide additional options.
Conflict of Interest, Ethics, MMC6213, Strategic Communications,