Overview

marketing ethics


Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

The basis and standards upon which the practice of marketing is conducted. Waves of business scandals and malpractice have shown the damage that can be caused to the reputation of a company that has acted unethically. Treatment of customers, competitors, and employees is another area of focus. Examples of unethical marketing that an ethical marketing code can combat include: deceptive advertising, for example promising the audience of potential customers something that cannot really be delivered or is heavily qualified in ‘small print’; misleading sales literature or sales tactics, particularly high-pressure selling that forces people to buy without a ‘cooling off’ period; price fixing or cartel-like collusion, for example in airline fares, mobile phone charges, or oil prices; attacking competitors unfairly, for example making misleading accusations about their product quality or performance; solicitation of competitor information by deception, for example setting up interviews for fake jobs with a competitor's employees with the sole intention of extracting information about the competitor from them.

deceptive advertising, for example promising the audience of potential customers something that cannot really be delivered or is heavily qualified in ‘small print’;

misleading sales literature or sales tactics, particularly high-pressure selling that forces people to buy without a ‘cooling off’ period;

price fixing or cartel-like collusion, for example in airline fares, mobile phone charges, or oil prices;

attacking competitors unfairly, for example making misleading accusations about their product quality or performance;

solicitation of competitor information by deception, for example setting up interviews for fake jobs with a competitor's employees with the sole intention of extracting information about the competitor from them.

Positive elements of ethical marketing include: public relations: corporate reputation should always be founded upon a strong ethical base. Companies with weak or equivocal ethical standards will, over the longer term, decline in reputation overall. Mistakes should be admitted; cover-ups should not be promoted. A cover-up creates a ‘*double jeopardy’ in the event that it is later discovered. A violation of integrity and honesty, however small, dilutes the company's overall ethical strength. It is important for ethics to be manifest in actions rather than words. As the US presidential candidate and politician Adlai Stevenson said: ‘It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them’; the sponsorship and active support of good causes; contributing to the local communities and charities without immediate or manifest commercial gain; marketing ‘ethical’ products, such as those mutual/unit trust funds that invest in companies that help the environment or which have programmes for the underprivileged. Many marketers refuse to market tobacco, nuclear power, arms, or personal care products that have used animal testing; communicating with employees frankly, openly, and honestly. A reputation for integrity begins within the company itself: it is very difficult for a company to have a reputation for honesty and integrity if its own employees do not trust it.

public relations: corporate reputation should always be founded upon a strong ethical base. Companies with weak or equivocal ethical standards will, over the longer term, decline in reputation overall. Mistakes should be admitted; cover-ups should not be promoted. A cover-up creates a ‘*double jeopardy’ in the event that it is later discovered. A violation of integrity and honesty, however small, dilutes the company's overall ethical strength. It is important for ethics to be manifest in actions rather than words. As the US presidential candidate and politician Adlai Stevenson said: ‘It is often easier to fight for principles than to live up to them’;

[...]

Subjects: Marketing.


Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.