How can ethics be integrated in marketing?
“Unethical marketing harms customers and society as a whole” (Philip Kotler and Gary Amstrong (2013), Principles of Marketing (page 601), 15th edition, Pearson. And the goal of marketing, given the definition is to create value for customers and not to harm them. In that sense, even more marketers are using ethical principles in their relation towards customers. Ethical problems can be found at two different levels, within corporations and toward customers. Inside companies, corporate marketing ethics policies should be implemented in order to give some guidelines when troubles come up. We’re talking more about morals than ethics in companies.
Relation to customers is regulated ethically by the American Marketing Association Code of Ethics). This code states some ethical fundamentals that have to be respected by companies. It deals with honesty, transparency, responsibility, fairness, respect, and citizenship. You can find the exact list with all the detail by clicking on this link: http://www.marketingpower.com/AboutAMA/Pages/Statement%20of%20Ethics.aspx.
We can wonder if marketers act in a moral and ethical ways when for example they are targeting the vulnerable, hiding disturbing details about their products, or going very deep in private life of customers during market research.
This marketing class led me to think about a special example that can illustrate the ethical issues. Indeed, it was dealing with targeting very young children for luxury clothing brands. Before looking at my personal point of view, I suggest you try thinking twice about it and make your own opinion.
(If you cannot open the previous file, here is the PDF version: Ethics related to marketing)
Image’s reference: http://www.aboutweston.com/ethicswilton.htm