Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Has the Morality Gone out of Marketing?

Magazine article Marketing

Opinion: The Marketing Society Forum - Has the Morality Gone out of Marketing?

Article excerpt

The duplicitous use of premium-rate phone lines by broadcasters and massaging of prices by retailers to create apparent 'discounts' have led to accusations of a lack of integrity among marketers.

RAOUL PINNELL, CHAIRMAN, SHELL BRANDS INTERNATIONAL

Abuse the customer at your peril. Bad marketing and bad business are synonymous. Marketing has to challenge the business to think long term, value the customer, be their voice and champion and understand that they are the source of cash flow. To do otherwise is to turn off the tap of good will.

Marketing isn't a 'trick' and those in the business who think otherwise should spend time working in a call centre, buy the products and services of the company as a customer and attend focus groups.

In my view, these experiences reduce an exploitative short-term approach to business and help create the right mindset. It's not just about morality but about good business.

CHARLES VALLANCE, FOUNDING PARTNER, VCCP

Quite the reverse. Marketing has never been more ethically driven. In a world of near-perfect information it becomes ever-more counterproductive to wrong your customer.

But it goes further than this. It is also ever-more counterproductive to wrong suppliers, staff and your environment. Brands understand this better than most other moral authorities because they are more accountable. For instance, while Nike and Starbucks have made great strides in the developing world, the EU-imposed common agricultural policy destroys the livelihoods of millions of families there.

If you want morality, vote for brands - they're easier to hold to account than politicians. …

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