Ethical Questions for Marketers – Part 1

Welcome to the newest installment of our weekly blog series, Ethical Questions for Marketers. Each week we plan to introduce a new topic and explore it in detail, preparing marketers for the day when they face such a problem at their organization.

This week’s topic: Customer Privacy

Privacy is a subject that is all over the news these days. Usually, that news focuses on one specific form of privacy – cell phones, government surveillance, consumer rights, etc.

For companies, and marketers more specifically, the big concern is customer data. While today’s digital landscape makes it very easy for businesses to collect and store massive amounts of information about its customers, the ethical questions rarely get the attention they deserve.

Should we be storing such data? How much data do we need? What data is deemed too sensitive to store?

The risks with storing such data is that it can be used in ways against our customers’ interests. Even assuming for a second that your company would never take advantage of customer data (which is more than can be said for many companies), hacks and accidental leaks are inevitable. And so what happens when your customer data finds its way into someone else’s hands?

It is important for marketers to ask these questions internally, and stand up for the rights of your customers, because we are the managers of our brands. Brands that will certainly suffer as soon as private customer data gets exposed.

We need to be sure that the companies we work for are taking steps to keep information limited, confidential, and secure. While data helps marketers do their job, it’s better to have less of it than to risk its exposure.

Stay tuned next week for another installment of our Ethical Questions for Marketers series. If you have an ethical topic you’d like to see addressed, write us.