Richard Christys presentation

•Ethics? Marketing??
•Avoiding bad
•Doing good
•Being good
Ethics? Marketing??
 Marketing is all about understanding and providing
what people want…
 …sometimes even before they know they want it
 Part of a process that has driven vast increases in
material prosperity
 But some just can’t see ‘marketing’ and ‘ethics’ in the
same sentence
 …without rolling their eyes
 Why is that?
Ethics? Marketing??
 Marketing does have some issues of its own…
 …truth-telling, privacy, product performance etc
 …but it can also get the blame for broader issues:
 Resource depletion
 Waste
 Materialism and greed
 Ill-health etc from over-consumption
Ethics? Marketing??
 Is a hedonistic society attributable to consumer
No – marketing serves,
but does not create basic human motives (status, power,
pleasure etc): ‘materialism became part of the human
condition long before the first advertising executive’
Abela (2006) and O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy (2007): debate
continues and broadens
(Booz & Co 2010): anyway, ‘frugality’ may be the new trend
for consumers
 O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy (2002):
Avoiding bad
 Game theory and reputations
 Building trust is the familiar way out of the prisoners’
dilemma – behave yourself, because you do better that way
Especially in the age of the Internet
 Regulation and self-regulation
 Example of the ASA – decades of effective control of badness,
run by the industry
 The power of the Nudge
 Understanding ‘choice architecture’ can help marketers
design offerings so that customers choose good things of their
own free will
Doing good
 Self-interest: competitively innovating products that make
life easier, more pleasant, safer etc
 Self-interest: design offerings that credibly appeal to ethical
 Cause-Related Marketing: linking brands with good causes
for mutual benefit
 Corporate Social Responsibility: using company resources
to pursue social projects
 Altruistically?
 Or to win approval from stakeholders?
 (n.b. long-running argument about ‘hypocritical window-
Being good
 Porter and Kramer (2006) – strategic CSR: seek new
ways of deploying competitive advantage to do good
 Virtue of diligence in marketing relationships (Murphy et
al 2007)
 Create an ethical network of relationships (Lindfelt and
Tornoos 2006)
 Help customers to do the right thing (Carrigan and de
Pelsmacker, 2009)
Being good
 “We're doing this because it's what
you want us to do. It's also the right
thing to do. We're calling it Plan A
because we believe it's now the only
way to do business.” (M&S Plan A Website)
 “Our founder's vision of a
successful business powered by its
people and its principles defines our
unique company today. The profits
and benefits created by our success
are shared by all our Partners.” (John
Lewis Website)
 Being good in marketing is more than just avoiding bad
 …but avoiding bad is where you start
 Being good is neither guaranteed by meaning well, nor
negated by:
 Acting in self-interest
 Acting prudentially
 Professional presentation(!)
 And companies that are seen as good are trusted to lead
and educate, not just follow.
Abela, A V (2006), Marketing and consumerism: a response to O’Shaughnessy and O’Shaughnessy,
European Journal of Marketing, Vol 40, 1, 5-16
Booz & Co (2010), The new consumer frugality: adapting to the enduring shift in US consumer
spending and behaviour,
accessed 18 March 2010
Carrigan, M and de Pelsmacker, P (2009), Will ethical consumers sustain their values in the global
credit crunch?, International Marketing Review, 26/6, 674-687
Friedman M (1970), ‘The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits’, New York Times
Magazine, 13/9/1970
Lindfelt, L and Törnoos, J (2006), Ethics and value creation in business research: comparing two
approaches, European Journal of Marketing, Vol 40, 3, 328-351
Murphy, P E, Laczniak, G R and Wood, G (2007), An ethical basis for relationship marketing: a virtue
ethics perspective, European Journal of Marketing, Vol 41, 1, 37-57
O’Shaughnessy, J and O’Shaughnessy, N J (2002), Marketing, the consumer society and hedonism,
European Journal of Marketing, Vol 36, 5, 524-547
O’Shaughnessy, J and O’Shaughnessy, N J (2007), reply to criticisms of marketing, the consumer
society and hedonism, European Journal of Marketing, Vol 41, 1, 7-16
Porter M E and Kramer M R (2006), Strategy and society: the link between competitive advantage and
corporate social responsibility, Harvard Business Review, December 2006, 78-92
Thaler, R H and Sunstein, C R (2008), Nudge: improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness,
Yale University Press

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