Ethical Marketing – What’s That?

“Ethical Marketing” – I came across this word a while back, and somehow it stayed in my mind… I mean let’s for a minute step back and look at the meaning of the two words in question:


Definition 1:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” BY Americal Marketing Association (AMA) Board of Directors

Definition 2:
“The science and art of exploring, creating, and delivering value to satisfy the needs of a target market at a profit.  Marketing identifies unfulfilled needs and desires. It defines, measures and quantifies the size of the identified market and the profit potential. It pinpoints which segments the company is capable of serving best and it designs and promotes the appropriate products and services.” BY Dr.Philip Kotler

Definition 3:
“The action or business of promoting and selling products or services.”


Definition 1:
Moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.

Definition 2:
The moral correctness of specified conduct.

At first look, isn’t there some element of inherent contradiction in the definitions itself?

I mean the purpose of any Marketing initiative is to lead into a potential sale (And a sale always has a commercial implication!). And hence the aim of any marketing initiative is to highlight the GOOD, and downplay / be silent about the NOT-SO-GOOD!

Now, let’s take a look at the definition of “ETHICAL MARKETING” – According to Wikipedia, “Ethical marketing refers to the application of marketing ethics into the marketing process. Briefly, marketing ethics refers to the philosophical examination, from a moral standpoint, of particular marketing issues that are matters of moral judgment. Ethical marketing generally results in a more socially responsible and culturally sensitive business community. The establishment of marketing ethics has the potential to benefit society as a whole, both in the short- and long-term.”

That’s theoretically RIGHT.. But what about in practice?

Food for Thought
* Are marketers / organizations truly ethical in their marketing initiatives? If not, is it realistically possible?
* What can any organization do to promote and encourage ethical marketing? Will this come at a price?
* What can be done to get more marketers to even think and talk about “ethical marketing”?
* Will ethical marketing reduce / diminish the competitive landscape of an organization?
* Will ethical marketing impact top-line and bottom-line growth of organizations?

What’s your view? Leave a comment to let me know

Suggested Readings



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