If you are hired to work in marketing at a typical company, there will likely be clear ethical standards defined in a company policy and some level of compliance among employees at all levels in the company. You will witness ethical breaches and need to decide whether to report them or not. You will see examples of outstanding ethics and have the opportunity to participate in debates about ethical disagreements and issues. No company is perfect, but most are trying to be ethical.
How can you, as a marketer, make a difference? Marketers have a specific set of responsibilities when it comes to preventing and addressing ethical issues. These are described below.
Demonstrate Respect for Your Target Customer
Marketing is not a game of manipulation. Good marketing provides compelling solutions and informs customers to help them make good selections and realize value. Recognize the customer’s need for an offering that is easy to use and includes clear instructions and appropriate warnings. Remain available to customers to hear complaints. Be humble enough to recognize that not everyone wants to hear your messages. If you demonstrate respect for the consumer, you will find new opportunities to provide value. If you treat consumers like a commodity to be manipulated, a host of ethical issues will clutter your path.
Prepare the Sales Team to Sell Effectively and Ethically
Demonstrate High Personal Standards in Business Relationships
Provide Fair Value to the Target Customer
Many ethical issues result from some level of deception involving misstatement of value to the customer. Be accurate in communications to customers about the value that a product provides. Be clear in pricing and contracts. Pricing strategies that confuse customers and cost more than the customer initially believed are never a good long-term strategy.
Play Nicely in the Competitive Environment
Price Fixing is Unethical and Illegal
Watch the 2018 Global News report that revealed the practice of all major grocery manufacturers to fix the retail price of bread for Canadians for over 14 years! Food inflation has been very high over the last decade and well-known grocery brands such as Loblaws (Westin & Superstore), Sobey’s and Walmart were colluding to fix the price for all its customers with a manufacturer Canada Bread.
- Russell, A. ( 2018, January 31). 7 Canadian companies committed indictable offenses in bread-price fixing scandal: Competition Bureau. Global News. https://globalnews.ca/news/3998023/bread-price-fixing-scandal-competition-act-crimes/ ↵