Stephen A. Oyewole
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Definition and Meaning of Market Ethics
Ethical Behavior and Marketing Influence
Factor Influencing Ethical Decision
Ethical Issues and Marketing Mix
Consumer Legislative Issues in Marketing
Legal and Ethical Issues
Advantage of marketing ethics
Ethics - A set of principles of right conduct or a theory or a
system of moral values (Jones, 2007, p. 120).
Can consider ethical behavior as “doing what is right” according
to the standards of society. This, of course, begs the question “of
whose society” as what might be considered ethical behavior in
one culture (country, religion, and ethnicity) might not be so in
Marketing ethics is the application of marketing ethics into the
marketing process with the moral principles behind the
operation and regulation of marketing (AMA 2004).
Marketing ethics are standards of ethics that are relevant to
Ethical marketing sets out the framework to provide customers
with the good marketing practices.
Laws can be considered as simply enforcing
certain ethical behaviors. This leads to two
familiar ideas: what is ethical is legal and what is
unethical is illegal.
◦ Is all unethical behavior illegal?
◦ Is all ethical behavior legal?
Ethical codes of practice help determine whether
specific laws should be introduced. Ethics fills the
gap between the time when technology creates
new problems and the time when laws are
Ethics are all about principles present in an individual
showing the right conduct which helps in shaping the
decisions of the customers as well as of the
Ethics play a very important role in influencing the
behavior of the individuals to help them in their buying
decision. Firstly, when an organization behaves ethical
manner, customers develop a positive attitude about
the organizations and its products or services.
Secondly, the organization will get more frequent
responses from its customers.
It is true that marketing involves buying and selling of
products, services or ideas to the people in different
ways, some are ethical but some are unethical.
The U.S. Constitution (Kennedy's Consumer Bill of
Rights 1962) provides protections for basic consumer
rights as long as they meet five conditions:
- The Right to Safety
- The Right to Be Informed
- The Right to Selection
- The Right to Confidentiality
- The Right to Privacy
The essential factors can be classified into four
- Individual Factor
- Organizational Relationship
- Ethical Marketing Decision
Product Issues Price Issues
Place Issues Promotion Issues
Ethical Issues and the
Since the 19th century, laws about consumer rights
to privacy have been constantly evolving with time
and with technology. In recent years privacy has
become a major issue for everyone.
The process of marketing has attained new
success since the explosion of credit cards to
the advent of personal computers and
Presents policies and framework that must be
enacted into law and monitored by national
Marketing’s Impact on Society as a Whole
◦ False wants and too much materialism
◦ Too few social goods
◦ Cultural pollution
◦ Too much political power
Marketing’s Impact on Other Businesses
◦ Acquisitions of competitors
◦ Marketing practices that create barriers to entry
◦ Unfair competitive marketing practices
◦ Corporate marketing ethics policies
Distributor relations, advertising standards, customer service,
pricing, product development and general ethical standards.
◦ Guiding principle in policy determination
Free market and legal system
Individual companies and managers
◦ International ethical policies are a special challenge
Legislative Issues in Marketing
Concerns activities that appear ethical but are
in fact illegal.
Presents an ‘order protection rule’ under
which an activity that is acceptable to one
facet of the investment community was
deemed illegal under the new regulation.
Result of this regulation is that financial
services firms are now required to collect
market data so that they can demonstrate
that a better price was indeed not available at
the time the trade was executed.
Federal Trade Commission
Federal Communication Commission
United States Postal Service
State and Local Regulation
- Better Business Bureaus are sponsored by private
businesses and organizations to prevent promotional
abuses through common sense regulation.
- The Marketing Association inconjuction with the
Federal Government have provided ethical guidelines
for use by their members and others desiring to
adhere to them.
Issues over Truth and Honesty
In the 1940s and 1950s, tobacco used to be advertised as promoting
health. Today an advertiser who fails to tell the truth not only offends
against morality but also against the law.
Issues with Violence, Sex and Profanity
Sexual innuendo is a mainstay of advertising content (Hawkins, Best,
& Coney, 2004, p.732), and yet is also regarded as a form of sexual
Violence is an issue especially for children's advertising and advertising
likely to be seen by children.
Issues with Taste and Controversy
The advertising of certain products may strongly offend some
people while being in the interests of others (Waller, 2004).
Examples include: feminine hygiene products, hemorrhoid
and constipation medication.
The advertising of condoms has become acceptable in the
interests of AIDS-prevention, but are nevertheless seen by
some as promoting promiscuity.
Negative advertising techniques, such as attack ads. In
negative advertising, the advertiser highlights the
disadvantages of competitor products rather than the
advantages of their own.
The methods are most familiar from the political sphere.
Democrats and Republicans
◦ Senior managers such as board members,
presidents, Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and
data administrators are increasingly finding
themselves liable for any violations of these laws.
◦ Steps to consider include -
Develop an organization-wide policy for legal and
Professional organizations and codes of ethics.
Intellectual Property (IP)
AMA (American Marketing Association)
Direct Marketing Association
NAD (National Advertising Division)
- Part of Better Business Bureau
National Advertising Review Board
- Represents advertisers and agencies
- A division of the NAD
Ethics always play crucial role in attracting the
attention of customers.
The transparency in selling or buying is always
liked by people and they show great interest in the
Ethics synergizes a mutual relationship between
the customer and the organization which is built
on trust, good faith and fair dealing in their
It helps the customers to take the right and fast
decision in choosing a particular product.
The philosophy of marketing is not lost with this newfound
ethical slant, but rather hopes to win customer loyalty by
reinforcing the positive values of the brand, creating a
strong citizen brand. However, this new way of thinking
does create new challenges for the marketer of the 21st
century, in terms of invention and development of products
to add long-term benefits without reducing the product's
Ethics in professional lives is not a new thing. Ethics have
been around for ages. Today every profession have it’s
codes that their professionals live by. Marketers are no
exception. So remember, where ever you go and whatever
you do remember the rules.
American Marketing Association Statement of Ethics
(2004) Retrieved from
Chickenhead Productions, Truth in Advertising
DeBock, T., and Van Kenhaove, P. (2010). Consumer
ethics: The role of self-regulatory focus. Journal of
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Grant, K. Hackney, R. Edgar, D. (2010). Strategic
Information Systems Management, pp.349.
Hawkins, D., Best, R., and Coney, K. (2004). Consumer
behavior: Building marketing strategy (9th ed.). New York:
Harding, C. Kohl, U and Salmon, N. (2008). Human Rights in
the Market Place: The Exploitation of Rights Protection by
Economic Actors. Ashgate Publishing Limited.
Jones, C. (2007). Philosophy and Organization Taylor and
Kottler, K. and Keller, K. (2009). A Framework for Marketing
Management (4th Edition) Pearson Education.
McDermott, A. J. (2012). Copyright: Regulation out of line
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The Origin of Ethics( 2003). Retrieved from