Ethics are moral guidelines which govern good behaviour. So behaving ethically is doing what is morally right.
Behaving ethically in business is widely regarded as good business practice.
An important distinction to remember is that behaving ethically is not quite the same thing as behaving lawfully:
An ethical decision is one that is both legal and meets the shared ethical standards of the community.
Specific issues in marketing ethics
Here are some examples of potential ethical issues in marketing:
Target customers and market:
Advertising and promotion
Picking one of the above topics (price fixing), it is possible to see how the law acts to prevent or deter unethical marketing practices, in some cases.
Price fixing is illegal. It is considered to be anti-competitive as well as unethical. So a business cannot:
Advertising (promotion) is another marketing activity that is regulated in order to deter unethical practice.
Advertising in the UK is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority, which regulates advertising across all media, including TV, internet, sales promotions and direct marketing. The ASA's role is to ensure ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful by applying the Advertising Codes. Visit their website to get some great examples of this regulation in action!
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