Marketing Ethics

Sometimes those who teach ethics are the ones that don’t have good ethics. School districts around the country are not held accountable for what they spend their money on. They use taxpayer dollars to pay a communications department (aka public relations department) to tell us only the “good news”.

Remember learning about the 6 pillars of Character? It came from the Character Counts Coalition — Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Citizenship, Caring and Fairness were the 6 pillars that “built” the foundation to good character. There was even a kids song about it. We need to remember those pillars in the marketplace — or in the public sector.

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As the past communications coordinator for the Eagle County Schools, I know how hard it was to make things look good there. And that was my job — to make it all look good. There was spending that was going on that was unconscionable and as a coach, I still see it today.

If I were in charge — I would hire an independent auditor, and publish those results in the newspaper. Then, the changes would take place — tight budgets with accountability. The money needs to spent in the classrooms.

ETHICAL NORMS – Any time we are in the throws of marketing, we must remember the following to do no harm, by avoiding harmful actions or omissions. We need to foster trust in the marketing system, by striving for good faith and being fair in our dealings so that we contribute toward the efficacy of the exchange process. This also includes avoiding deception in product design, pricing, communication and delivery. We also remember to embrace ethical values by building positive relationships and enhancing consumer confidence. The core values are honesty, responsibility, fairness, respect, transparency and citizenship — almost parallel to those pillars of character we all learned at a very young age.

ETHICAL VALUES – Honesty. Being forthright in dealing by striving to be truthful in all situations at all times is the way to go. Offering products and services of value that do what they claim in our marketing, and standing behind those claims. We must honor our commitments and promises.  That’s what allows us to sleep well at night.  Responsibility. We have to accept the consequences of our marketing decisions and strategies, and serve the needs of the customers. This includes environmental stewardship in our decision-making. Fairness. Balancing the needs of the buyers with the interests of the seller can occur by being honest and forthright. Avoiding conflicts of interests and price fixing practices goes along with this. Respect. Basic human dignity of all stakeholders has to happen. Transparency. A spirit of openness and striving to communicate clearly with everyone involved is important. Citizenship. Fulfilling the economic, legal, philanthropic and societal responsibilities that serve stakeholders.

It’s all goes back to basics. Know right from wrong…and do what’s right!

RESOURCE:

American Marketing Association’s Marketing Statement

Eagle County Schools

Eagle County Times

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