For nearly 13 years, I’ve created content and copy for small businesses. Helping business owners find the right words to communicate with their customers brings me great joy, and I consider myself lucky to make a living doing what I love. While in the marketing world, I’ve seen countless marketing tactics come in and out of vogue. Every marketing seminar I’ve attended has been replete with new strategies, technologies, and “networking opportunities.” Yet not a single one has addressed what I consider to be the elephant in the room: marketing ethics.
This blog will tackle the challenge of defining and refining marketing ethics. In it, I will explore white hat and black hat tactics. I’ll ask questions that may not have answers (at least not yet). I’ll pose real-life dilemmas and offer real-life solutions that are both fiscally and ethically responsible. And just as writers must kill their darlings, I’ll invite you, the reader, to challenge the ideas and beliefs that I hold most sacred. The posts to come will explore the contemporary role of marketers, the science of persuasion, and the philosophical and psychological implications of consumerism in order to more holistically define the discipline of marketing ethics.
It’s a mouthful, I know. And quite ambitious. But it’s work worth doing. The impact of marketing on our society today is undeniable. (The recent Fyre Festival debacle is a perfect example of unethical marketing practices taken to the extreme.) As marketing professionals, we hold great power over our audience—impacting their daily lives, moods, and desires—and with great power comes great responsibility. Asking hard questions about something that has such a profound effect on our culture is merely due diligence. Admittedly, much of my passion for the topic of marketing ethics is spurred by my own selfish desire to sleep soundly at night. I want to know that I’m making the world a better place. If you’re reading this, then chances are you do, too.
When Do We Start?
This blog has been a long time coming. The identification of black hat and white hat tactics is nothing new. Still, I’m excited to jump in midstream and contribute something meaningful to the conversation. The best time to start may have been 13 years ago, but the second best time is now.