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This article comprises two distinct components. First is the delineation of a typology that encompasses the various approaches by which marketers can track the behavior of an individual in the marketplace. A total of 17 broad approaches were identified. Associated with each technique is the issue of whether personal information is being extracted via the tracking process, whether consumers’ involvement is voluntary, and – if voluntary – what action was required on the part of the consumer. The 17 approaches are far from reflecting a homogeneous approach to the data gathering process. The second part of the study focused on two specific techniques: Shopkick and shopperception. But these techniques merely represent opposite ends of a continuum in that Shopkick is purely voluntary whereas shopperception is involuntary, and consumers are likely unaware that their behavior is being monitored. A sample of 307 respondents indicated reasons why each approach might be acceptable, and why each might not be. Comparing results from two independent samples, it was found that consumers consider Shopkick to be considerably more ethical than Shopperception. The implication is that surveillance techniques that are voluntary, transparent, rely on consumer involvement, and provide tangible benefits to the consumer are viewed as less invasive and more acceptable than are the more surreptitious alternatives for observing consumers in the marketplace.

About the Authors

Sam Fullerton received his PhD in Marketing from Michigan State University. He is a Professor of Marketing at Eastern Michigan University. He has also served as a visiting professor at the Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings March 2018 22 Copyright of the Author(s) and published under a Creative Commons License Agreement http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/us/ University of Michigan, the University of Waikato (NZ), the University of Southern Queensland (Australia), and the North West University (South Africa) where he was awarded the title of Extraordinary Professor. His research primarily focuses on ethics, sports marketing, and marketing education. In recent years, his research has appeared in Sport Marketing Quarterly, the Journal of Applied Marketing Theory, the Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, the Australasian Marketing Journal, and Health Marketing Quarterly. He has received eight best paper awards at the AMTP and SMA conferences. He has also authored books on Sports Marketing, Contemporary Selling, and Marketing Research.

Roger Brooksbank is currently an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand. He has been a visiting professor at Southern Cross University in Coolangatta, Australia. His BA is from the University of Sunderland in the UK. His MBA with a Marketing focus and his PhD in Strategic Marketing were awarded by the University of Bradford Management Centre in the UK. He has previous experience as a Sales and Marketing Manager, Marketing Director and Business Owner. His research interests lie in all aspects of strategic marketing and business competitiveness and he is the author or co-author of numerous publications in these areas. His teaching focuses on strategic marketing and personal selling.

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