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Marketing ethics

21 October 2011

Frameworks of analysis for marketing ethics Possible frameworks: •Value-oriented framework, analyzing ethical problems on the basis of the values which they infringe (e.g. honesty, autonomy, privacy, transparency). An example of such an approach is the AMA Statement of Ethics.[1] •Stakeholder-oriented framework, analysing ethical problems on the basis of whom they affect (e.g. consumers, competitors, society as a whole). •Process-oriented framework, analysing ethical problems in terms of the categories used by marketing specialists (e.g. research, price, promotion, placement). None of these frameworks allows, by itself, a convenient and complete categorization of the great variety of issues in marketing ethics. [edit] Power-based analysis Contrary to popular impressions, not all marketing is adversarial, and not all marketing is stacked in favour of the marketer. In marketing, the relationship between producer/consumer or buyer/seller can be adversarial or cooperative. For an example of cooperative marketing, see relationship marketing. If the marketing situation is adversarial, another dimension of difference emerges, describing the power balance between producer/consumer or buyer/seller. Power may be concentrated with the producer (caveat emptor), but factors such as over-supply or legislation can shift the power towards the consumer (caveat vendor). Identifying where the power in the relationship lies and whether the power balance is relevant at all are important to understanding the background to an ethical dilemma in marketing ethics.[2] [edit] Is marketing inherently evil? A popularist anti-marketing stance commonly discussed on the blogosphere[3] and popular literature[4] is that any kind of marketing is inherently evil. The position is based on the argument that marketing necessarily commits at least one of three wrongs: •Damaging personal autonomy. The victim of marketing in this case is the intended buyer whose right to self-determination is infringed. •Causing harm to competitors. Excessively fierce competition and unethical marketing tactics are especially associated with saturated markets. 

 

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