What is the right and wrong way of marketing? There is a set of standards that we must all follow as marketers are from the American Marketing Association (AMA). The statement of ethics from the AMA states:
"As marketers, we recognize that we not only serve our organizations but also act as stewards of society in creating, facilitating and executing the transactions that are part of the greater economy (About AMA: Statement of Ethics, 2017).”
This list includes some basic and common knowledge such as; not to cause any harm to those we follow our brand or products. The next step is to gain the trust of the people by creating this safe environment and not to mislead your followers. The last step would be to affirm these core values in your marketing strategy; honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency, and citizenship.
Let’s go a little deeper and define each of the ethical values and best practices.
Honesty- We must be truthful to our customers and stakeholders who invest in the company. We need to offer products that have a value to our customers by being honest in what we are offering. An example would be diet pills ads we see online or tv. Most of them don’t work and their honesty about customer X losing Y number of pounds is probably a lie. They must list if the person on tv is an actor or not.
Responsibility- We must accept any results and consequences of the marketing we have put forth. Our responsibility is to serve the needs of the consumer by producing a product they need. We must also consider the environment in our decision making.
Fairness- We must balance the need of the consumer with the needs of the seller. We must clearly state what we are selling in our advertising. We must avoid any misleading, deceptive promotions. Such as gas companies, we must not use price gouging or bait and switch tactics.
Respect- “Acknowledge basic human dignity of all the people involved through efforts to communicate, understand and meet needs and appreciate contributions of others” (Anastasia, 2015). We cannot stereotype or be prejudice in a negative way which may be in a dehumanizing way. My mom always said to treat those the way you want to be treated. We must also acknowledge any contributions from our fans, or other business by giving proper credit.
Transparency- Creating an openness in the market system. This means the little fine print about rules or limitations are all clearly stated for the public to read when speaking about your product. You also list all prices and costs for things. Such as when buying a car, they list the fine print which doesn’t include the sales tax and special financing.
Citizenship- “to fulfill the economic, legal, philanthropic and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders” (About AMA: Statement of Ethics, 2017). Companies who volunteer, donate, and product of the environment.
If the company is lacking these ethics they could be sued for false information, you can also be sent a cease and desist order such as when you are promoting the local NFL team to make some profits at your restaurant. We have been informed at my work before when creating an ad for the weekend that we would not use any logos, just simple text about the football game this weekend.