All You Need To Know About Marketing Ethics

All You Need To Know About Marketing Ethics

Many people think that “marketing ethics” is nonsense. In career ethics surveys, sales and marketing professionals are generally ranked toward the bottom of the list. This unpleasant view stems in part from frequent media reports of unethical or illegal marketing behavior.

Who has not suffered as a consumer the feeling that he was not receiving the agreement? Who has not been involved in a contract that due to lack of information has not been able to exercise his right to cancel it? We are all aware of some developments in the financial sector. We are marketing and sales professionals but we cannot forget that we are also consumers.

The idea that companies or entrepreneurs should not consider moral values ​​in their decision-making comes from a narrow view of economic activity, making decisions based only on financial criteria such as profitability. There is a persistent belief that much of marketing is “sell in any way to achieve the objectives.” And it is not necessarily true.

However, marketing managers are faced with many ethical issues. For example, marketing decisions can affect product safety, advertising truth, price fairness, and fair treatment of distributors. Every day, we can hear alleged bad practices that negatively affect consumers in terms of these variables: complaints in certain sectors, investigations of price agreements, concealment of information in advertising …

Therefore, sales and marketing professionals need to be aware of different ethical issues in their decision making. The test is a useful way to examine the ethical issues that arise in the relationship between the company and its clients. It is particularly suitable for consumer marketing and can help us make decisions in our department.

According to this test, marketing and sales professionals can evaluate their decisions along three dimensions: consumer capacity, information sufficiency, and consumer choice.

As a summary example, in some countries , tobacco marketing generally fails on two dimensions of the test, if not all three. Research shows that most people start smoking in their teens (violation of consumer capacity) and, due to the addictive nature of nicotine, have greater difficulty quitting (violation of choice). In these countries, the harmful effects of tobacco on health are less reported (violation of the information dimension).

However, marketing ethics issues is not a hegemony of our profession: it can grow by involving other agents. Marketing ethics require marketing and sales professionals to engage in “analysis”; that is, they must consider not only the effects of their decision on consumers but also on other affected parties.

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Table of Contents


  • Manufacturing, purchasing, financial and human resources departments play an important role on the final consumer and can harmonize a global ethic of the company that is transferred directly to the markets. Example: manufacturing with child labor to save costs.


  • Distribution intermediaries can filter out those products that do not comply with generally accepted ethical values, or that go against their own values
  • In short, I do not mean that all professionals in the field of marketing and sales systematically use bad practices, on the contrary, in times when misconduct has not been experienced, it has negative consequences, starting with adverse advertising. , the company’s reputation is lowered, employee morale is lowered, consumer boycotts occur, and even legal sanctions occur.
  • Rather, ethical conduct can contribute to a good corporate reputation, higher morale, and increased sales and customer loyalty.

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