Saturday, June 22, 2019

Book Marketing Ethics

Marketing Ethics
The American Marketing Association has a statement of ethics on its web site,  The organization is committed to promoting the highest standard of professional ethical norms and values.  Just because you may not be a member of the group or particularly identify yourself as a professional marketer, do not feel you are exempt from following some type of code of business ethics.  Most are obvious and common sense should prevail.  However, when in doubt, err on the side of caution and fairness when marketing your book.

Do You Compete Fairly?
Aside from following the law, respecting industry standards, and acting in a way that is consistent with business ethics and good old decency, do you compete with a sense of fair play? This means you should spend less time – or no time -- trashing others and instead build up your own good name and support your own brand. I never talk about a competitor by name. If someone had not heard of them before they may decide to look them up after I mention them. If I badmouth another competitor, the person I am talking to may see it as petty or may feel that I am being defensive. Instead, it is better to highlight your strengths first and foremost. They are not buying your book because you say another author sucks – after all, they can choose to buy neither book or to buy a third option.

Give people something positive to go on. No one should buy from you because you need the lesser of two evils; you want them to think that you do something for them, that you offer value.

You are always competing with people who sell other products or books. And with yourself. You just need to keep a positive, optimistic mindset and always take a higher-road approach.

Ethical Digital Marketing Standards
Although common sense, reason and fairness should dictate most of your life’s activities, people sometimes need guidance or reminders on standards as it relates to what is appropriate when marketing or promoting online. Below is a sample list of professional trade organizations. They will list ethical standards on their sites:

·         Public Relations Society of America Foundation
·         Public Affairs Council
·         International Association of Business Communicators
·         Institute for Public Relations
·         Arthur W. Page Society
·         PR Council
·         Global Communication Certification Council

Here’s An Outline Of Ethical Book Marketing Activity You Should Embrace:
1.      Do no harm in how and what you market.
2.      Act honestly and with integrity.  This means be explicit in your promises and stand by your commitments.
3.      Treat others fairly and with compassion.
4.      Sell something of value and make sure it does what you claim it does.
5.      Take responsibility for your marketing and for what you are marketing.
6.      Avoid using coercion, lies, or unsavory manipulations.
7.      Recognize that there are vulnerable people who should be sold to at their level and are not to be taken advantage of: mentally ill, impoverished, seniors, children, illiterates and others who are substantially acting out of a disadvantaged state of mind.
8.      Fairly represent your book or service
9.      Never resort to price-fixing, price gauging, bait and switch, or other lowly tactics.
10.  Avoid participating in conflicts of interest.
11.  Treat the customer with respect, gratitude, and professionalism.
12.  Explain any risks or additional actions that may be needed in connection with the use of your book or services.
13.  Strive to contribute to the overall betterment of marketing and its reputation.

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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2019. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America.

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