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A professional blog offers the opportunity to demonstrate one’s expert knowledge. This expectation has perplexed me as I’ve considered and rejected possible blog topics. I’m still learning about marketing–but then I remind myself, so is everyone else. It’s such a fast-changing field that a professional marketer needs to work hard to keep abreast of the latest trends. Still, as this checklist suggests, sticking closely to the planned editorial calendar is a sign of professionalism. I’m publishing this blog post a day later than my editorial calendar dictates. The delay has been due to several understandable reasons, including the distraction of presidential politics. Haven’t they distracted everyone?

People more experienced than me have warned me that if I want to do a professional blog, “stay away from politics. You might offend somebody!” Certainly, this election has aroused a lot of bitter feelings. (In a future blog post, I’ll discuss the hard fact that sometimes picking the worthiest words means that you’re going to have to offend somebody.) Yet the best politicians try to use the most effective words for the ethical purpose of improving the world. Given that, a blog discussing worthiest words that ignores politics completely might be absurd.

As I mulled over this, I ran across this article about evaluating the political candidates for president, specifically, how to evaluate the candidates ethically. It occurs to me that a marketer could adapt these questions to evaluate a potential marketing campaign ethically, too.

Ethical considerations for marketing

Am I looking at the facts or my feelings? The marketer’s spin on this question: Don’t allow yourself to be carried away by the excitement of “that’s such a cool idea!”  Is your campaign based on something that you can truthfully deliver to your customer?

Have I done the reading? For a marketer, this means, “Have I done the research?”  Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of your product and do you know your customers?

What are some of the issues I should focus on?  For a marketer: Have you segmented your customers? Does this marketing campaign concentrate on their specific problems?

Which way do I want the country to go?  This translates to, “Which way do I want my business to go?”  Does the campaign attract a type of customer you really can’t (or don’t want) to serve?  Is the campaign too ambitious or not ambitious enough?

Which candidate understands and articulates my concerns? Thinking about this in business terms: Are you keeping the customer’s problems (and not yours) uppermost in your mind? Is your message clear?

Has that candidate proposed specific policies on how to address those problems?  A marketer asks: Is your true intention solving the customer’s problems as the marketing campaign suggests? Or are you interested solely in their money?

Does the candidate have the ability to enact those policies?  Recast this question like this: Do you have the budget for this campaign? Do you have the ability to deliver what you’re promising the customer?

What are the candidates’ negative qualities?  Consider: Is there any aspect of your campaign that could turn off your customers, or worse, actively repel them?  Is your message based on respect or on hurtful stereotypes?

Have I seriously considered a third option? Stop and think: is this really the right campaign? Do you need to redesign any part of it? Would it be best to go back to the drawing board entirely?

Is it better to not vote at all?  Marketing is the lifeblood of any company because it leads to the sales that keep the doors open.  But if you don’t have the necessary budget or capacity to handle the extra demands of the campaign, now might not be the right time to launch a campaign.