July 23, 2021

Upcoming Research Plans

It has been a very eventful first half of the year and with school winding down for the summer and my business quieting down as it usually does around this time; I get to move my attention towards research.

My work with the ethical move has helped me figure out what the direction of my research moving forward will be, the topics and the structure it will all take in the coming years. I was originally working on the research to turn the ethical move into a standard, like Fair Trade or Leaping Bunny, but looking at methodology and empirical research, it is clear that this is not a direction we can take the research to. I will, however, hold off on saying more about this until Alice and the rest of the team are ready to share the full action plan moving forward.

As for me, the research is going in the direction of putting together a series of papers hopefully published in peer-reviewed journals, along with some white papers and my bachelor’s thesis at university. I have recruited my partner to join me as coauthor, because we have published together in the past and are very complementary to our skill set research-wise with his background in economics and mine in marketing and media.

So the plan for my upcoming research is as follows:

The first part explores the concepts of ethical and unethical marketing, their relationship with concepts like persuasion, manipulation and coercion, and the ethical considerations of influencing consumer behavior. We look into the popular perception of marketing as deceitful and the reasons for it.

The second is an in-depth analysis of specific marketing tactics that have been identified as unethical in the literature, and those that meet the definitions from the first part, describing the mechanisms by which they operate and the results they seek to render. This section concludes with the development of a taxonomy of unethical marketing practices.

The third explores the reasons for the use of unethical marketing practices, the motivation of industry professionals and the results expected by marketing practitioners and merchants when using these tactics.

The fourth section focuses on the larger scale implications of unethical marketing in terms of social, economic and financial, political, healthcare and environmental implications.

The fifth section focuses on best practices for ethical marketing, an overview of empirical evidence suggesting negative consequences for businesses who are found to be using unethical marketing practices and evidence of potential benefits for ethical marketing practitioners, along with a proposed methodology for evaluating the ethics of a given marketing practice.

It is very ambitious and will take a while to complete but as of now, I’m taking the first steps which involve reviewing the literature, and there is A LOT of literature to review, so with that I will go on to enjoy my summer and do some reading in the sun.

Video description: A 10 second video showing a phone screen on a dark green background. On the screen, scrolling is a database of hundreds of peer-reviewed articles I will be going over this year.