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Code of Ethics

Members of the American Marketing Association are committed to ethical professional conduct. They have joined together in subscribing to this Code of Ethics embracing the following topics:

Responsibilities of the Marketer

Marketers must accept responsibility for the consequences of their activities and make every effort to ensure that their decisions, recommendations and actions function to identify, serve and satisfy all relevant publics: customers, organizations and society.

Marketers' Professional Conduct must be guided by:

  • The basic rule of professional ethics: not knowingly to do harm;
  • The adherence to all applicable laws and regulations;
  • The accurate representation of their education, training and experience;
  • The active support, practice and promotion of this Code of Ethics.

Honesty and Fairness

Marketers shall uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the marketing profession by:

  • Being honest in serving consumers, clients, employees, suppliers, distributors, and the public;
  • Not knowingly participating in conflict of interest without prior notice to all parties involved; and
  • Establishing equitable fee schedules including the payment or receipt of usual, customary and/or legal compensation for marketing exchanges.

Rights and Duties of Parties in the Marketing Exchange Process

Participants in the marketing exchange process should be able to expect that

  • Products and services offered are safe and fit for their intended uses;
  • Communications about offered products and services are not deceptive;
  • All parties intend to discharge their obligations, financial and otherwise, in good faith; and
  • Appropriate internal methods exist for equitable adjustment and/or redress of grievances concerning purchases.

It is understood that the above would include, but is not limited to, the following responsibilities of the marketer:

In the area of product development and management:

  • disclosure of all substantial risks associated with product or service usage;
  • identification of any product component substitution that might materially change the product or impact on the buyer's purchase decision;
  • identification of extra cost-added features.

In the area of promotions:

  • avoidance of false and misleading advertising;
  • rejection of high-pressure manipulations, or misleading sales tactics;
  • avoidance of sales promotions that use deception or manipulation.

In the area of distribution:

  • not manipulating the availability of a product for the purpose of exploitation;
  • not using coercion in the marketing channel;
  • not exerting undue influence over the reseller's choice to handle a product.

In the area of pricing:

  • not engaging in price fixing;
  • not practicing predatory pricing;
  • disclosing the full price associated with any purchase.

In the area of marketing research:

  • prohibiting selling or fundraising under the guise of conducting research;
  • maintaining research integrity by avoiding misrepresentation and omission of pertinent research data;
  • treating outside clients and suppliers fairly.

Organizational Relationships

Marketers should be aware of how their behavior may influence or impact the behavior of others in organizational relationships. They should not demand, encourage or apply coercion to obtain unethical behavior in their relationships with others, such as employees, suppliers, or customers.

  • Apply confidentiality and anonymity in professional relationships with regard to privileged information;
  • Meet their obligations and responsibilities in contracts and mutual agreements in a timely manner;
  • Avoid taking the work of others, in whole, or in part, and representing this work as their own or directly benefiting from it without compensation or consent of the originator or owner; and
  • Avoid manipulation to take advantage of situations to maximize personal welfare in a way that unfairly deprives or damages the organization of others.

Any AMA member found to be in violation of any provision of this Code of Ethics may have his or her Association membership suspended or revoked.

American Marketing Association Code of Ethics for Marketing on the Internet

Preamble

The Internet, including online computer communications, has become increasingly important to marketers' activities, as they provide exchanges and access to markets worldwide. The ability to interact with stakeholders has created new marketing opportunities and risks that are not currently specifically addressed in the American Marketing Association Code of Ethics. The American Marketing Association Code of Ethics for Internet marketing provides additional guidance and direction for ethical responsibility in this dynamic area of marketing. The American Marketing Association is committed to ethical professional conduct and has adopted these principles for using the Internet, including on-line marketing activities utilizing network computers.

General Responsibilities

Internet marketers must assess the risks and take responsibility for the consequences of their activities. Internet marketers' professional conduct must be guided by:

  • Support of professional ethics to avoid harm by protecting the rights of privacy, ownership and access.
  • Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations with no use of Internet marketing that would be illegal, if conducted by mail, telephone, fax or other media.
  • Awareness of changes in regulations related to Internet marketing.
    Effective communication to organizational members on risks and policies related to Internet marketing, when appropriate.
  • Organizational commitment to ethical Internet practices communicated to employees, customers and relevant stakeholders.

Privacy

Information collected from customers should be confidential and used only for expressed purposes. All data, especially confidential customer data, should be safeguarded against unauthorized access. The expressed wishes of others should be respected with regard to the receipt of unsolicited e-mail messages.

Ownership

Information obtained from the Internet sources should be properly authorized and documented. Information ownership should be safeguarded and respected. Marketers should respect the integrity and ownership of computer and network systems.

Access

Marketers should treat access to accounts, passwords, and other information as confidential, and only examine or disclose content when authorized by a responsible party. The integrity of others' information systems should be respected with regard to placement of information, advertising or messages.