The finest guidelines cannot resolve all of the difficult ethical situations

The finest guidelines cannot resolve all of the

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The finest guidelines cannot resolve all of the difficult ethical situations that the marketer faces. If marketers choose immediate sales-producing actions in all of these cases, their marketing behaviour may well be described as immoral or even amoral. If they refuse to go along with any of the actions, they may be ineffective as marketing managers and unhappy because of constant moral tension. Managers need a set of principles that will help them figure out the moral importance of each situation and decide how far they can go in good conscience. But what principle should guide companies and marketing managers on issues of ethics and social responsibility? One philosophy is that the free market and the legal system should decide such issues. Under this principle, companies and their managers are not responsible for making moral judgments. Companies can in good conscience do whatever the market and legal systems allow. A second philosophy puts responsibility not on the system but in the hands of individual companies and managers. This more enlightened philosophy suggests that a company should have a “social conscience. History provides an endless list of examples of company actions that were legal but highly irresponsible. each company and marketing manager must work out a philosophy of socially responsible and ethical behaviour. Under the societal marketing concept, each manager
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must look beyond what is legal and allowed and develop standards based on personal integrity, corporate conscience, and long-run consumer welfare. THE SUSTAINABLE COMPANY Sustainable companies are those that create value for customers through socially, environmentally, and ethically responsible actions. Sustainable marketing goes beyond caring for the needs and wants of today’s customers. It means having concern for tomorrow’s customers in assuring the survival and success of the business, shareholders, employees, and the broader world in which they all live. Sustainable marketing provides the context in which companies can build profitable customer relationships by creating value for customers in order to capture value from customers in return—now and in the future. Notes 1 Marketing ethics can be defined as "moral principles and values that support marketing decisions and activities." Examples of ethical issues in marketing are provided in Table 4.1 on page 133 of the textbook. The textbook asserts that every company has to develop a corporate marketing ethics policy that provides guidelines and standards for setting marketing decisions or conducting marketing activities (p. 132). The challenge, though, is to identify the principles and values that can help marketers distinguish between what is right and what is wrong in their marketing practices. The textbook (p. 132) discusses two philosophies that can be used in drafting an ethics policy: the free market and legal system philosophy, which stipulates that what is legal is ethical or right. The ethical requirement is limited to respecting the regulations; it does not take
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