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A note on research into the marketing of discreet services

Jones, Peter and Pratten, John D. and Brindley, Clare (1998) A note on research into the marketing of discreet services. ISSN 0140-9174

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Abstract

Identifies discreet activities in marketing – defined as a service in which customers keep their interests and participation secret or hidden; such as Manchester’s gay village, betting shops, telephone chat lines, massage parlours, dating agencies and blood sports (to name a few). Cites some of the problems market researchers may encounter in gaining access to any of these establishments and suggests the best method of obtaining access is to develop an open relationship of trust with the staff and customers of the discreet service organization. Provides an example with the case of Sh!, a female only sex shop in London. Proposes alternative means of gaining access to the above-named establishments – posing as a customer or undertaking some professional work (such as accountancy) for the organization. Raises ethical questions about such a covert approach.

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