Ethics in marketing – good business? or idealistic foolishness?

There was a thread the other day, on one of the marketing forums I belong to, that touched upon a point of morality and ethics in marketing.

One of the members was called out for blatantly lying to, and deceiving his market, in order to promote himself as being a master marketer.

That member shot back, and basically told his detractors “The best marketers adjust the facts, so get off your high horses and start living in the real world!”

He then went on to justify his claim, demanding that he could “honestly” say he produced tens of millions of dollars for past clients, because he once worked for a company that did so.

And even though he wasn’t personally responsible for those transactions, he wasn’t lying. He was simple “adapting the truth” to fit his own needs.

Now, I don’t know how you feel about his justification; But to me, with that type of logic, a cashier at Walmart could say they’re a front line financial expert, managing an entire sector, at a multi billion dollar company.

Is it a lie? Or, is it simply an adapted truth?

To me, it sounds deceptive… what do you think?


The thread on that forum has since been deleted by the moderators (which is just as well, because it eventually morphed into a self righteous battle of personal attacks, on both sides, instead of a valuable discussion).

But, it did raise an interesting question (a question I never thought I’d need to ask… yet here we are).

When it comes to ethics in marketing

Is there a moral “line in the sand” that you will not cross when it comes to marketing and selling? Or, do you believe that it’s OK to twist the facts (beyond recognition), and deceive your market without conscience, as long as you make a buck?

Personally, I have no problem with someone who shouts their accomplishments, while whispering their shortcomings, in order to make their resume’ look a little better. Especially when they’re first starting out.

Hey look, I get it… I’m a marketer, and I fully understand the need to emphasize the good points, and minimize the bad when selling something. (it’s what we do for a living)

But blatantly twisting the truth and deceiving people, is just plain unethical. And just plain wrong!

Anyway, that’s my thought on the subject. So now I guess it’s time for me to climb back up on my “high horse” and ride off into the sunset. (clip clop, clip clop, clip clop)

So until next time, let’s keep it ethical.

All the best,

Posted in Business Advertising Strategies, Customer Relations, Marketing, Offline Marketing, Online Marketing and tagged , , , .

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