With all that we hear about in marketing these days, what we rarely hear about is the ethics of marketing or how to be an ethical marketer. You may ask “what does ethics have to do with marketing?” “After all, business is business.”
Marketing boils down to how you present an offer or product to people. You can present that offer in a way that reflects the truth behind the offer, or you can present that offer in a way that hides certain truths about the product or offer.
For example, I can market a book that says you can make $10,000 in one month just by following the procedures outlined in the book. Though it may be possible to achieve that figure in a month, it is not likely that you will achieve it due to certain pieces of information that are left out of the book…or at least left out of the advertisement and Marketing materials.
You may have to spend $5000 in hopes of getting that $10,000. You may have to engage in other forms of advertising or marketing to have a chance of getting near that figure.
This is why most marketers concentrate on “selling the sizzle, not the steak“. It is a proven and valid method in any form of marketing. However, too many marketers are selling the sizzle for hot dogs and hamburgers, not steak!
Indeed, it is very difficult to be an ethical marketer.
An ethical marketer markets products that he or she believes in. An ethical marketer markets products that he or she knows to be proven invaluable to their clients or customers.
An ethical marketer knows which products or services are valuable because they have probably already used those same products or services themselves. An ethical marketer is also transparent with the products that are recommended, meaning they will divulge if they have actually use the products or not.
The customers may also be part of the problem. If you are an ethical marketer who is promoting something that takes three months to make money, your competition could be another marketer who is promoting the same item by stating that it will only take two weeks or month to make money. You may be more ethical in your approach, but the other marketer is a one who will make more sales. The greater the speed and ease of the promise, the more likely people will be to buy into it.
How can an ethical marketer compete?
One of the best ways than ethical marketer can compete and succeed in the marketplace is through transparency. Being completely open and honest with your customers is the best way to endear them to you. You can build a loyal following by following this approach.
Most people know when they are being marketed to them being sold to. They would prefer to be convinced in a way that makes them feel that they are making the choice, not that the choice is being imposed upon them.
If people can identify with you, through your name or your face, they will grow to trust you and like you. You become someone who is a real. You become someone that they can connect with. This will already give you a major advantage over unethical marketers, who would prefer to hide their identities for fear of encountering numerous disgruntled customers and unpleasant questions.
Being an ethical marketer is not necessarily marketing “right” or “wrong” products. It does not even have to be products that you’ve actually used, as long as you make a note of this fact and that your potential customers are aware of it.
Being an ethical marketer means that you are aware of the true limitations and/or pitfalls of the product that you are marketing. It means that you are willing to pass this information along to your customers, so that they can make the best decision as to whether or not they truly need it.
Pursuing the path of an ethical marketer is definitely a path less traveled. However, is a past that reaps the greatest rewards and less stress over the long haul.
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