Marketing Mix: Ethics of Baby as Product (2)

I continue here with encouragement to law enforcement agencies in efforts aimed at nabbing owners of illicit baby businesses, owing to appraising happenings ‘through the eyes’ of these devilish operators, and applying elements of the marketing mix as springboard. The place of product, the first of marketing mix elements, was reviewed in the earlier piece, while others (price, place and promotion) are featured here in the light of baby being regarded (irrespective of ethics) as a physical product by owners of these ventures.

This is comprised of what a buyer pays to acquire product from seller. It reflects the value placed on what is being exchanged, hinged on how customers value what is being sold and what they want to pay. A couple, according to a news story, needed a set of twins so much that the woman convinced her husband to part with N1.8 million to a dealer (an operator of a “baby factory”) in Rivers state. ‘Mother luck’ was not on the side of this man and wife, hence an official of the United States embassy in Lagos smelt a rat and nudged the police, as the couple tried to obtain visa for relocation to the US (with the twins as their newly acquired “products”).

Price is the element of the mix which creates sales revenue, as the other three are costs. It does not require much convincing to make out that product, place and promotion are variable costs. In typical production process, it costs to produce and design a product. The same applies to “baby factories”, as there are clear elements of costs in their business – Teenage girls turned ‘baby-producing machines’ in a motherless babies’ home in Imo state, willing to give birth in anticipation of payments that range between N80,000 and N350,000 (depending on terms of the deal). Even the 23 year old man who was commissioned to feature as ‘impregnator’ of 17 expectant teenage mothers (stated earlier) obviously did not embark on the tedious task of ‘sowing seeds’ for free.

Price supports other elements of the mix – It costs to distribute a product, and also costs to promote it. Many are justified to regard price as the most important element of the mix, since it is the only mix that yields a turnover for the venture. Going by reports, operators of these baby businesses regularly smile to the banks if one considers the pricing aspect of what goes on. This is strengthened by these scenarios – Teenage mothers willing to part with their babies at prices as stated above; casino pa natet een 25 year old man, from Amuzi Obowu, also in Imo state, cashing in on his wife patting ways with him and abandoning their one and half years old son, to put the boy up for sale. A 45 year old woman of Umudi Abayi, Osisioma in Abia state got interested and agreed to pay N500, 000 for the boy. The question remains if she was willing to part with such sum (before the police nabbed her) due to a genuine craving to adopt the child or desire to source for human parts to appease demands of body-parts merchants.

I marvel at how decadence in the society has impinged on the deterioration of value attached to life. It really gives me the creeps, realizing that a baby is now readily available as essential commodity, to be given a price tag.

Just like for other businesses, price as a mix, aside taking fixed and variable costs into account, also impacts on the following in line what obtains for these “baby factories”: Competition (b.v.. keeping an eye on what others in the same type of business offer to prospective teenage mothers willing to part with their babies in the ‘production process’; and favourable retail price to desperate childless mothers edger to own a baby at any cost, against higher price of a competitor); company objectives (b.v.. “baby factory” operating as motherless babies’ homes officially, while clandestinely function as described here to make huge returns on whatever investment); positioning strategy (b.v.. outfit being positioned as a humanitarian concern that creates better future for abandoned children; offer hope to mothers desirous of adopting babies, while something nefarious takes place ‘beneath the surface’); target group and willingness to pay (b.v.. childless couples willing to go to any length to have a baby they can call theirs)

The police and other law enforcement agencies should reason in consonance with what influence pricing (outlined here) vis-à-vis the activities of these ‘bad guys’, to check these unfavourable trend.

Plaats (more commonly tagged ‘distribution’) as an element of the marketing mix represents the activities which make products available to customers when and where they want to purchase them. This illustrates making it possible for consumers to have the product easily, and at the right place. Place is indeed any means through which the customer easily obtains a product or receive service, hence the popular expression about distribution system being “getting the right product to the right place at the right time”. Typically, distribution is achieved by using one or more distribution channels (b.v.. wholesalers, retailers, etc).

While initiators of genuine business efforts which churn-out physical products, utilize known channels, such as depot, wholesale and retail outlets, to make their finished products available to customers, illicit baby businesses deceive unsuspicious public using motherless babies’ homes.(Wordt vervolgd).

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