I've been fortunate in my career to often work with people much smarter than I. I'm constantly learning from social media experts, PR pros, demand generation leaders and general marketing smarties. It's a privilege to be part of such a thoughtful, vibrant community.
Yet, there's a dark underbelly to our profession. In the past few years, I've seen completely unqualified people passing themselves off as marketing "professionals." I've seen unethical business practices and clients completely flimflammed by a slick sales presentation and a cordial demeanor. It's depressing to see a small minority stain the discipline of marketing.
I think it's time that marketing as a profession develop its own Hippocratic Oath, the traditional pledge made by newly minted doctors that declares a commitment to ethical behavior and professionalism, above all else.
Here's a first draft. Would love to hear your thoughts, additions and changes:
I swear by Godin, the Purple Cow, by Peters, Cialdini and Kotler, and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses of marketing to keep according to my ability and my judgment the following Oath and agreement:
To consider dear to me the discipline of demand generation, and to share my intelligence with the world, especially to younger marketers, to teach them this art.
I will prescribe content for the good of my customers according to my ability and my judgement and never do harm to anyone.
I will not spam, nor prescribe messages that are for my own good and not the good of my customers, my prospects and my colleagues. I will not take advantage of the power I have been given to conduct conversations in polite company with smart people.
I will preserve the purity of my profession and of my art.
I will not take shortcuts to professional success, even if it is to my short term economic benefit. I will not profess to expertise that I do not have.
In every opportunity to invest in marketing content, I will do so only for the good of my audience, keeping myself far from intentional ill-doing, especially when enticed by poorly informed colleagues or supervisors.
All that I learn about customers and prospects in the course of carrying out my business I will keep secret and not share with third parties, whether by barter or by sale.
If I keep this oath faithfully, may I enjoy my life and practice my art, respected by my colleagues and family for all time; but if I swerve from it or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.