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Ethical and Professional Considerations

Ethical and Professional Considerations

Legislation and Codes of Practice

There is plenty of legislation in place to protect consumers, as well as voluntary codes of practice established by professional bodies.

United Kingdom

Chartered Institute of Marketing code of practice which is available from their website at

Market Research Society Code of Conduct: available from

The Advertising Standards Authority is the independent body set up by the advertising industry to police the rules laid down in the advertising codes. These Codes are available from their website at

Marketing to business and Consumers are covered by the Business Protection from Misleading Marketing Regulations 2008 and the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. There is information about this and consumer protection on the website of the Office of Fair Trading at

There is a factsheet on misleading advertising on the Department of Trade and Industry website at

Similar legislation applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Republic of Ireland

The website of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland contains a summary of consumer rights and legislation.

There is also information about consumer rights on the Citizens Information website at

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland contains its code of practice at

The Chartered Institute of Marketing also operates in Ireland. Its website is

Your own University will have procedures in place for marketing, for example on the use of the university brand. They will also be able to check that you are not in breach of any laws and regulations.

Think about…

…finding out what the marketing and branding guidelines are in your university and who you should contact.

Environmental considerations

Most discussions of ‘green’ or ‘environmental’ marketing concentrate on what is being marketed, rather than how the marketing is being carried out. Of course it would be undesirable to market a ‘green’ product in an environmentally damaging way. You may offer some ‘green’ products – such as volunteering opportunities with environmental organisations – but it is unlikely that in general you will wish to stress the ‘environmental credentials’ of your service as a major part of your marketing strategy.

However, in “A stakeholder theory approach to designing environmental marketing strategy” Michael Polonsky (1995) suggests the following:

“One definition can be made through an adoption of a basic definition of marketing; that is: Green or Environmental Marketing consists of all activities designed to generate and facilitate any exchanges intended to satisfy human needs or wants, such that he satisfaction of these needs and wants occurs, with minimal detrimental impact on the natural environment (Stanton and Futrell, 1987)” (Pages 30-31).

This indicates that you need to take into account the ‘ impact on the natural environment’ of all your activities. Some things to consider in a marketing context are -

Paper and printing - is it acceptable to give out fliers and send out mailings which will go straight in the bin? Consider electronic mailings – which are also likely to save money.

Balloons- the Marine Conservation Society has called for a ban on mass balloon launches because of the harm caused to marine animals from balloons.

Giveaways’ - novelty items, especially plastic ones, which are also likely to be thrown away within a short time. Try to think of an alternative which will be useful and which can be disposed of with less environmental impact.

Travel and transport – if you travel to an event, do you make sure that you try to minimise your environmental impact, for example by using public transport or taking the minimum number of cars?

Promoting opportunitieswhich some people will regard as unacceptable in environmental terms. Of course this is a personal choice but be prepared to answer questions about how the jobs you advertise relate to the university’s environmental policy.


Carry out a ‘green audit’ of your marketing/publicity activities. A good place to start is the University’s environmental policy (if it has one!).

Anti-oppressive practice

You must make sure that the marketing material you produce reflects the whole range of potential customers you wish to attract.

For example Ford doctored advertising literature featuring UK workers, removing all black faces. The altered pictures were intended for use in Poland - where few employees are non-white. However, the photos cropped up in UK showrooms in 1996

The four workers whose images were altered received £1,500 compensation

As well as thinking about what you produce you also need to take into consideration how you produce it. For example, producing material in languages other than English (Welsh, for example) or other formats such as large print or Braille.

Another important consideration is the placing of advertisements and publicity material. There may be publications which appeal especially to minority groups which you wish to reach or places where your material could be placed which are popular with certain cultures. Widening your horizons is not only good practice but good marketing.


Go back to the customer list you produced earlier. Thinking about the way you address them through your marketing, can you identify any areas where you could improve?