Marketing ethics refers to the basic principles that govern the business conducts of those who are involved in the promotion of goods and services. It is one of the areas in business that has generated heated debate from various players in the marketing industry considering that different people often have various opinions on what is right or wrong. Generally, marketing ethics seeks to promote fairness, honesty and responsibility in all aspects of promotion of products.
Based on the subjective judgments that people have on right and wrong, marketing ethics is not a hard and fast list of rules, but a general set of principles or guidelines aimed at assisting companies in the evaluation of their marketing strategies. It is important to note that certain sections of marketing ethics overlap with media ethics considering the fact that the two are closely related to each other. One of the principles of ethical marketing that can also be said to apply to media is that all marketing communications share the common standard of truth.
Another example of marketing ethics is that marketers should be transparent about the people that they pay for product endorsements. Besides, it is also important for all marketing companies or individuals to treat consumers fairly depending on the nature of the product and also that of the consumer. For instance, if a marketing campaign is being produced for children products, so much care should be exercised to ensure that it does not have any negative impacts on children.
Another important marketing ethics principle that every marketing professional should take note of is that the privacy and confidentiality of the consumer should never be compromised. In case there is need to protect the identity of the consumer and the advertising company has guaranteed the same, under no circumstances should that be breached without their consent. Marketers should also act in compliance with the regulations and standards that are established by the government and professional organizations.
Even though most aspects of marketing ethics involve practices and things that most people are well aware of, they should never be assumed. Not all marketers are conversant with the recommended marketing ethics, thus all those who are involved in promotion of products and services should honestly and openly discuss all the marketing decisions with regards to the policies of every organization.
It is usually not very easy to claim that a given marketing company is ethical or unethical in its practices since the whole concept comprises of a gray area with several fine lines and boundaries that keep shifting. You can find that certain companies conduct their advertising ethically in one way and unethically in another. There are companies that go against the requirements of marketing ethics in order to gain a competitive advantage over other players in the industry. Unethical marketing practices are not necessarily against the law but may not be a good avenue to be pursued by companies that are looking towards improving the images of their brands and developing lasting relationships with consumers.
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