Responsible Marketing: Where have you seen it?

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  • 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.

    Have you seen Responsible Marketing in action?

    Yes I’ve seen what I would consider responsible marketing. I think this happens when companies make the decision to focus on helping people address their personal issues and/or business concerns. In other words, they have a business model that is “cause-oriented.” Here are three examples:

    a. Helping companies reduce accidents, injuries, and workers’ compensation costs is a noble cause. The company I’ve seen do this very well is JJ Keller & Associates. They’ve produced a Safety Management Tool and created an award called the Safety Professional of the Year.

    http://www.kelleronline.com/safetyaward/

    b. Helping families make good decisions with their money is also a noble cause. There are lots of firms wanting to do this these days, but there are few that can do this without selling products and earning commissions. Erickson Financial Solutions is a firm that can. In fact, it has united one community around the idea of teaching children financial responsibility. They’ve created the Family Smart Money Award® which rewards a family with $5,000 for helping their children be smart with money (see attached entry form).

    http://www.ericksonfinancialsolutions.com/

    c. Helping parents ensure that their teens are driving safely and responsibly is a noble cause as well. This is at the center of Allstate’s Parent-Teen Driving Contract.

    http://allstateteendriver.com/contract

    At a minimum, what we see with initiatives like these is the advent of great dialogue. These ideas touch on the points that matter most; safety and responsibility. Moreover, when marketing is responsible (and therefore authentic) it should have this kind of affect. These kinds of ideas are not limited to certain companies or certain industries but rather to the imagination of those with the responsibility of creating customers and keeping them.

  • Great stuff, Michael.

    Love the Kotler quote. I instructed the Integrated Marketing Communications course from 1997-2002. It was modeled after Philip Kotler and Don Shultz’s work at Northwestern so I’m a fan.

    The Allstate Teen Driver program is a great example. Safeco has a similar program called Teensurance (http://teensurance.com) Sign up and you receive a Teensurance Safety Beacon using GPS technology “to deliver real time notifications and encourage responsible driving.”

    It’s a bit big brother, and to some teens an invasion of privacy. But hey, knowing the way I drove when I was a teen, it’s probably a good thing!

    Full disclosure: Safeco is a long-time Outsource Marketing client. I’d love to claim responsibility for the Teensurance program, but I can’t. Sigh.

  • Jorge Pealayo says:

    Patrick, I’ve seen many instances in which multinational companies (both US-based and from other origins) relax BY DESIGN their ethical and general business standards when marketing in Latin America. Responsible marketing at home, irresponsible marketing abroad? Is this happening as well when these companies market to Hispanics in the US (vs their “general market” practices)?

    Another point… I’ve worked at Latin American subsidiaries of multinational corporations. At least in my case, those subsidiaries were the most profitable worldwide in terms of margin as % of sales, and definitely the most profitable in terms of Profit Per Marketing Employee (what I call PPME). The reason? HUGE work overload and meager when not miserable personnel compensation. Don’t get me wrong… they were all great experiences. Yet the fact remains that marketing areas in those subsidiaries were working miracles with very limited resources, and burning their personnel in the process.

    So, Patrick, the question I put before you and whomever wants to comment on it is… shouldn’t responsible marketing include a measure of responsible management of responsible personnel?

  • Hello Jorge,

    Thanks for your post. It’s a good one. I believe Responsible Marketing applies regardless of locale. And yes, absolutely the responsible management of personnel plays a part.

    Would love to hear more on this topic!

    Patrick

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