Evil? I sure hope not
On February 23rd, Seth Godin wrote:
Just because you can market something doesn't mean you should. You've got the power, so you're responsible, regardless of what your boss tells you to do.
The good news is that I'm not in charge of what's evil and what's not. You, your customers and their neighbors are. The even better news is that ethical, public marketing will eventually defeat the kind that depends on the shadows. Just ask Bernie Madoff.
His question: Is marketing evil?
My response: Sometimes.
On this, we agree, and Godin derives a slew of realistic examples defining the good and bad, the evil and not-so-evil aspects of marketing. But what I love most about his account is that, in the end, good prevails.
This illustrates a lovely parallel to my previous post on storytelling (below). Modern definitions of a "good" story always seem to conclude with a fairy tale-esque happy ending -- good defeats evil and the people rejoice. In a story, power resides with the author. In marketing, relates Godin, power resides with the marketer, or rather within his/her moral and ethical grounds.
Either way, whether we market change for the betterment of a country or market sub-prime mortgages for the betterment of banks, perhaps good will claim victory unfortunately often accompanied by a reality much harsher than once upon a time.