June 26, 2020
As marketers, there is a responsibility that we owe to the consumers, stakeholders and society as a whole to be ethical.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) has a Code of Conduct that should and is expected to be followed. The code of ethics can be found under the AMA’s Statement of ethics https://www.ama.org/codes-of-conduct/. Saving this to your web browser as a point of reference is recommended. The key to being a good and ethical marketer is that if you find yourself questioning if what your company or you as an individual is ethically right or wrong, it is best to not do it. Always air on the side of caution and don’t do something if it does not seem ethically right.
The ethical values are:
I believe that being honest and transparent with your audience is most important. Consumers want to be assured that what they are being sold in goods and services is being done so in a truthful manner and that it will not bring harm to themselves or families. Part of the ethical code of conduct is to ensure that no harm comes to consumers and that there is a strong sense of trust established. The safety of consumers is most important. We as marketers must never want to put people in harms way or lie to our audience just to sell something.
As marketers, and as humans, we must:
- Do no harm- meaning to avoid omitting any information during a marketing campaign that could potentially be dangerous to a consumer and staying well within the laws and regulations of a business and citizen.
- Foster trust in the marketing system- meaning striving for good faith and fair dealing. We should avoid deception in product design, pricing, and communication.
- Embrace the ethical values. Building relationships with customers will enhance the trust they have in you as a marketer, a person, and as a business. Trust needs to be established early and upfront on both ends.
Issues can arise quickly if these ethical values are not upheld.
For example: If as a marketer you are creating a marketing campaign for a product to be sold in both small and large retail stores and the price of the product is decided on and it is actually priced at a fairly high amount, more than the product should be marked for, this would be considered price gauging. As a marketer, you do not want to make it unfair for certain markets, like the elderly, the economically impoverished, and other markets who may not be able to afford what you are selling. It is our duty as marketers to create a fair campaign and communicate information of the product(s) we are selling in a clear and fair manner. Failure to keep a level playing field for prices or not marketing the prices at all can result in the loss of trust of the consumer base attempting to be reached and it can also hinder the reputation of that brand as a whole. In a world where information is at our fingertips, it only takes one review to affect the reputation of a product, service, and brand. It is best practice to be transparent, upfront, and honest about pricing and all of the facts about what is being sold, so the consumer can make the decision on their own without feeling manipulated or swindled.
The Code of Conduct is set in place to ensure marketers are being upheld by not only society but themselves to the highest level of honesty and integrity. As humans, we should be doing no harm to other humans and keeping the playing field as level as possible. The best advice to follow would be to listen to the voice within your own head and if something does not feel right, to not do it. Having a copy saved of this Code of Conduct is extremely beneficial, it can be referenced at anytime and it acts as a constant reminder to always do the right thing and remain ethically sound.