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A Marketer's Influence: What's Our Responsibility?

A Marketer's Influence: What's Our Responsibility?

As a marketer, it’s my job to craft copy that will educate potential customers about my company’s brand and products. It’s my job to craft tweets, blog posts, website copy, video content, and more–all with the goal of sharing our brand with a larger audience in hopes that we’ll connect with the people who’ll find our product most useful. As part of this job, I’m held accountable for engagement metrics, awareness stats, click-through rates, prospect numbers, as I suspect many of you are, too.

Marketers have great power to craft the communications that drive interest and loyalty in the brands they represent; working for a national or international brand can give a marketer the chance to influence hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people. It’s a big responsibility, and one we need to take seriously.

Sure, there are regulations in place to ensure we won’t purposefully mislead our audience, violate ethical standards, or offend people with the content we create, but I believe it’s also our responsibility to hold ourselves to a higher standard: to create marketing that carries us forward, not backward, that lifts our audience up rather than putting them down, and, if we can, that makes them think or teaches them something larger. Marketing that does something good: a moral ROI, if you will.

For me personally, this means I’ve pledged to do the following whenever I create marketing content, copy, visuals, social media posts, blog posts, forge event partnerships, speak to an audience, or educate an audience about my company’s product in any way:

  • Be aware of how powerful words (and images) can be, and choose them carefully. This means avoiding language or imagery that reinforces negative gender/racial/religious/etc. stereotypes–even subtly–or language that is in any way discriminatory.
    • To this point, I love what The Representation Project is doing to spread awareness of the limiting representations of gender we encounter daily in the media, and offering ways we can help change them so everyone, regardless of gender, race, class, age, or circumstance can fulfill their potential.
  • To market only products or services I believe in, that I can stand behind knowing that the success of my marketing efforts will mean my company does more good than harm.
  • Never to spread messages of hate.
  • To be aware of the response my content creates, and be receptive to the feedback if someone points out an interpretation that wasn’t what I may have intended (we all make mistakes, especially unconscious ones!).
  • To read, and re-read, my work with these principles in mind before launching any of it.

Fellow marketers–do you use similar principles to guide your work? How do you evaluate whether your work is good and does good at the same time?

[This post originally appeared on Marketing on the Rocks.]

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