Responsible Marketing

Irresponsible marketing: Where have you seen it?

By January 15, 2008August 19th, 20203 Comments

Poor casting. Bad design. Lack of planning. Greenwashing. Broken promises. Marketing to children. The list goes on and on.

It’s too bad irresponsible marketing happens, but we can learn from others’ mistakes.

Where have you seen irresponsible marketing? We’re all ears.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Patrick,

    Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this. I think your idea of “Responsible Marketing” is a good one.

    It always seems to come down to context and definitions, especially when you are introducing a new premise. The criteria you’ve provided seems reasonable to me. In fact, I think I can even overlay your ideas with the philosophy I’ve adopted over the years and answer your questions.

    Here’s my starting point (a Kotler comment):

    “Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make.”

    To wit, Responsible Marketing is Authentic Marketing.

    2. Where have you seen irresponsible marketing lately?

    Marketing that is done for marketing’s sake is unfortunately everywhere. I think this happens when companies are too inwardly focused on what they are selling. They tend to believe that their business excels in the areas of quality products, great service and reasonable prices. They also tend to have a “moving inventory” type of orientation. Moreover, they seem to take their customers for granted; thinking that a percentage of them will always buy whatever it is they have to offer.

    For example, Ford, GM, & Chrysler, are each having to play catch-up now with Toyota. This has occurred in part because of their decision to continue looking at the world through their inward focus. GM has recently made strides towards improvement. Only time and the market will tell if they will pass the test.

    Also, banks are notorious for this kind of thinking. However, there are also many other kinds of companies that are oriented this way.

    Thanks again for the opportunity.


  • Eliot says:

    Hi Patrick.

    Hope all is well. From your blog, it sounds like work is going gangbusters.

    I know you have a number of criteria for what is responsible, but for the socially irresponsible I nominate the Betty Crocker Cake Decorating Kit, which has been heavily advertised on Cartoon Network. My son, at age five, now feels the need to own a 200 piece frosting set made of plastic. (“But it shows you how to write letters. I’m not good at letters.”) I’m sure they’re selling millions of them, but it seems wrong that they’re marketing to the audience of children’s cartoons. And with the blitz they’ve had over the recent past, it’s got to be costing them a pretty penny—although I doubt the ad cost much to shoot.

    (We went to Seattle Restaurant Supply and Mrs. Cooks to get our own “starter set” of cake decorating tools)

    Thanks for giving me a chance to vent about this. It’s been on my mind lately. 😉



  • Well, there’s that guy who was selling ENZYTE, the male enhancement supplement. He’s being indicted for fraud. It appears that Bob isn’t swinging a big new club after all.

    On the other hand, anyone dumb enough to believe …

    But my nomination would be the predatory lending practices of mortgage brokers! I know first hand how they juggled numbers to put people into shaky ARMs, and then gave themselves nice, fat prepayment penalty bonuses hidden in the contracts. I learned the hard way.

    Caveat emptor in all things these days.


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