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Target Pregnancy Predictor Essay

1409 words - 6 pages

Case Study 4 – BMGT-203-N091 – Tiffany Holtzman
Relevant Facts
Companies like Target are looking for new ways to get customers to shop at their locations. They have learned through market research that there are certain times in a person’s life when they are more open to changing their buying habits. The most significant of these times is when a woman is having her first child since products will be needed for the baby.
By carefully examining purchasing habits of twenty-five products, Target is able to determine the likelihood that a woman is pregnant and when her baby is due. This gives them the first opportunity to market to the expectant mother instead of waiting on birth information that is available through public records like companies used to have to do. They can then carefully time coupons and offers around key dates that items might be needed.
Target does offer a privacy policy that states that information can be provided to other companies outside of the Target family. The question is whether or not Target provides their analysis data on when they believe a woman is pregnant to other companies since this is not clearly stated in their policy. However, Target says that everyone has the option to stop marketing offers directed at them. Beyond that, there is no way to control information that is collected or find out where that information goes.
Key Ethical Issues
Target’s collection and possible sale of private information could go against basic principles of confidentiality since people trust that they are not revealing information that is confidential. One expects that their personal information is protected and not just provided to anyone who is willing to pay for it. At the same time, people expect Target not to be buying influence and taking things that don’t belong to you through purchasing data in order to construct a more accurate personal profile for marketing purposes.
Target is also taking unfair advantage of others by almost exploiting them when they are having a child. The company clearly wants to be first in line to a huge money-making opportunity before other shopping patterns are set. This almost seems like they are not being honest with their customers even though they are adhering to current legal standards.
Key Stakeholders and How They Would View This Situation
a. The stockholders for Target are looking to maximize profits. The ability to tell if a woman is pregnant has been increased their sales dramatically over the years. Selling that information could result in more money for the company; however, there is also a huge value in being the only company with that information. Therefore, the stockholders would probably want that information to remain within the company.
b. The shoppers at Target would probably be leery of Target knowing that much personal information about them. Although the lines of privacy become more blurred with each passing year, a couple having a baby expects some form of...

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