Is Marketing Bad for Society? Introducing the Abra Marketing Ethics Spectrum
August 8, 2022
Is marketing bad for society?
The simple answer is that marketing can be both good and bad. Like anything, it really depends on how it’s being used.
This question led me to the concept of Higher Marketing.
There is marketing for good and there is marketing for evil and to help assess marketing activities, I’ve created the Abra Marketing Ethics Spectrum.
Types Of Marketing
Higher Marketing is when marketing connects someone to something that makes their life better. Aren’t there times when you’ve seen an ad, bought something, and you’re just so much happier. That’s an incredible connection that marketers get to make happen.
Lower Marketing is when marketing gets someone to buy something that they really don’t need.
Taking that concept a bit farther, the Lowest Marketing is selling someone a product that actually hurts them. A good example of this is someone who’s able to market the investment opportunity of a lifetime that in reality is a Ponzi scheme.
On the other end of this spectrum is the Highest Marketing. This is marketing that saves someone’s life. And I would add at the highest level this would be literally, but in just slightly lower degrees it applies figuratively.
I’m happy to say, most of Abra Marketing’s work has been on the higher to highest side of the Higher Marketing spectrum, particularly because we do so much healthcare marketing.
There was this guy Byron who lived up in Mount Shasta. I believe he was in his 60s if I remember right. He had been active his whole life, hiking with friends, doing things in the great outdoors. In fact, those activities were what his life revolved around, in spite of losing the better part of one of his arms in an electrical accident. But he started having increasing ankle problems that over a few years got to a point he could barely walk down the street. I remember him explaining to me how he’d do this awkward side shuffle and endure excruciating pain just to move half a block. And he lived like this even though there were medical solutions to correct the problem.
Think of all the people living like Byron who have a medical issue that has taken their life away and they have no idea there is something that can completely change that.
That’s higher marketing and rewarding work to be a part of. Here’s the commercial we did for Shasta Orthopaedics featuring Byron after his total ankle replacement.
We’re currently working to support the re-opening of the former Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol, California, which had served the community since 1941. The leadership of the new Sonoma West Medical Center has marketing a priority and I’m excited to be a part of what is certainly in the category of the Highest Marketing.
It adds an incredible sense of focus to be working on campaigns that will literally one day help lead to saving someone’s life.
As Abra Marketing has returned to Sonoma County, we’ve made it a priority to make sure our work is helping make the world a better place. That means focusing clients that lead us to Higher Marketing. And it’s fitting that our first client in Sebastopol, the town where we began in 1999, offers the opportunity to work in the realm of Higher and Highest Marketing.