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Toward a Code of Ethics for Marketing Consultants

My philosophy of consulting has always been that 1) I want every client to remain a (satisfied) client for as long as possible, and 2) I want every ex-client to be referenceable. To me, that seems common-sensical enough, but I'm disgusted by how many outside vendors don't share that approach to clients, whether through price gouging, incompetence, non-responsiveness, or just plain dishonesty.

It's not that there's a shortage of ethical codes, just a shortage of adherence to them. Codes abound, from ethical guidelines for management consulting and search engine optimization, public relations and blogging.

My personal contribution to the genre would be:

- Start with an honest assessment of your strengths. No single individual can be good at everything, even with a narrowly-defined area such as website design. Accept projects only in your strength areas; you'll be more likely to avoid delivering poor quality work.

- Develop a network of talented people in your non-strength areas. Closely related to the point above, in some cases you'll want to be able to bid on a larger project. By having a network, you can take on these projects and still provide quality. Plus, you'll have other talented individuals referring work to you in their non-strength areas.

- Price fairly. It's not only ethically wrong, but just doesn't make good business sense, to overcharge a client for short-term gain while sacrificing long-term loyalty and referenceability.

Trust goes a long way in maintaining current business and generating new projects. It's hard to get it back once it's lost, so it's better not to lose it in the first place.

*****

Terms: marketing consulting code of ethics, management consultant ethics, public relations, blogging

The website marketing strategy portal: WebMarketCentral.com

Contact Mike Bannan: mike@digitalrdm.com

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