Time to Startup!

The BizFilings blog covering business tips and trends.

The Evolution of Marketing and Its Ethical Implications

May 17, 2011, 08:29 AM by
Read 'The Evolution of Marketing and Its Ethical Implications' at 'Time to Start Up,' the small business blog by BizFilings.
Earlier this month, FedEx released a survey that found 55 percent of small businesses plan to increase their marketing budgets this year. That figure is up from 42 percent last year and provides a striking indication that businesses are finally witnessing improved economic conditions and are looking to expand their operations. However, overall news has been mixed, as the National Association for Business Economics recently scaled back its 2011 GDP growth projections this week to 2.8 percent, having reached 3.3 percent in February. Nevertheless, consumer confidence is improving and retail sales remain in the black, suggesting businesses are pulling in more sales and turning those profits toward hiring and marketing. "Even though there's a slight downward revision for growth, employment has picked up more rapidly," said NABE President Richard Wobbekind in a statement. "The positives are more rapid hiring in the short run and a lower unemployment rate both this year and next." But as businesses rejuvenate their expansion plans, with hiring and marketing at the forefront, it's important that they consider how the marketing world has changed since the recession began and how easy it is to overlook some of the new ethical considerations. "As we engage more directly with our customers through social media, it's more important than ever to be trustworthy," writes marketing expert Janet Kyle Altman in Bloomberg Businessweek. "Give credit and say thank you," Altman adds. "It's so easy to get information and much of it is free. But if you use information from the internet, credit the source. If possible, link to it." With blogging, social media and search engine marketing, content has taken a front-and-center role in marketing, as businesses are increasingly pressured to provide unique and engaging material that will attract consumers and leave them wanting more. Web-based resources have also put more power in the hands of consumers, as they now control the conversation and determine who - what businesses and organizations - to allow into their social networks and Twitter feeds. For that matter, it is essential to be honest about your business' products and services. In this day of total transparency and diminishing privacy, maintaining an illusory public image is futile and will ultimately damage one's reputation, especially among young entrepreneurs forming a company.