Saturday, 11 January 2014

A Question of Ethics

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A few months ago, when I was traveling in Russia, I met a group of international volunteers. On meeting we exchanged greetings and got onto the subject of careers.
I explained – very proudly – that I was a marketer.
A man from the group drove into a speech about corruption, unhealthy food, persuasion and mind games of the public. Ending with the sentence “you tell people what to buy, what to do and how to feel without letting them think for themselves”.
The thing is he wasn’t too far off the truth.

The ability to Market well truly is a great power as it impacts heavily on people’s lives.
It is a question of how you decide to practice.

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Marketing Ethics
Practicing ethically should be the hub of business; there is no excuse for creating or promoting something, which ultimately exudes ugly consequences.
There really is a lack of literature on the topic of Marketing Ethics. This is shocking considering there are heavy unethical implications to marketing, and danger in contributing towards this directly.

I began to think about my personal boundaries as a Marketeer and came up with some areas I wouldn’t be okay with engaging in:
  • Promoting unhealthy food to young children
  • Promoting products with addictive side effects
  • Services which scam and trap people in terrible financial difficulties
  • Promoting products which are formed through supply chains who engage with: child labour, poor working conditions and without fair trade
  • Working for organisations who do not uphold corporate social responsibility

What are your views on Marketing? – is ethics something important to you?
Do you think more should be done to enhance the ethical teaching in marketing?

I recommend reading this article from Marketing Week.

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