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Your Marketing Ethics

 Marketing is an old concept. Early societies succeeded when they cooperated in the satisfactory exchange of food and tools. Both sides were satisfied because a want or need was filled with a product or service. We operate pretty much the same way today. I give you something you want, and you give me something I want in return.

The satisfactory marketing exchange is based on cooperation and trust and in turn, these build loyalty and long term satisfactory relationships. Our best choice as shown in Albert B. Tucker's Game Theory and  Prisoner's Dilemna, always is to cooperate with the other person, then both sides win. If both the buyer and seller approach the exchange in a trusting manner, hand extended, willing to cooperate, both come away satisfied, trust is enhanced and loyalty begins to build.

If either buyer or seller chooses to break the trust, being dishonest or unfair, slapping away the hand extended in trust, the best choice for the injured party is to slap back. And that's exactly what we do. It's why when we aren't happy with the food or the service in a restaurant, we go out and tell 10 people how bad it was. We're slapping back. Also worth noting: initial trust is very fragile, and when broken, it is very difficult, if not impossible, to regain.

Tom Daschle and Hilary Clinton

Both sides approach the exchange initially trusting that the other person plays fair. When a buyer wants the rake shown in the catalogue and pays the asking price, that person expects to receive a rake that is representative of what was advertised. If the person receives a shovel instead of a rake, or a broken rake, or a red rake instead of the green one ordered, and the buyer is told to like or lump it, the buyer's initial trust in the seller is broken.

Tom Daschle and Hiliary Clinton/

Photo by Pulitzer Prize Winner Joe Marquette

The buyer not only won't be back, but likely will tell all friends and relatives about the experience and urge them not to buy any rakes from the seller either.

Likewise, if the person who buys the rake pays for it with counterfeit money, or a bounced check, or damages the rake and blames it on the seller, the seller's initial trust in the buyer is broken. The seller slaps back with a call to the sheriff and a penalty fee. The spirit of cooperation goes out the window.

Further, we always remember those "who done us wrong", and we wait for the chance to get even. Think about yourself. When you come away happy from buying something, is it because you believe you got exactly what you wanted in a fair and honest transaction? When you come away mad, is it because you didn't receive a fair and honest exchange? Did you tell anybody? (The old saying, "The best way to kill a bad product is to advertise it" comes from this theory of reciprocity).

Your marketing ethics are critical to your business, because they are the pathway to the trust and cooperation needed for long term relationships and loyalty.

Your ethics are a big reason why your customers choose you over the competition.


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