A facebook discussion got me thinking about this question “Is it harder to be ethical during a Recession and does it affect the value that you offer”? – Started by Shel Horowitz.
What do you think? Me? I think the two (value & ethics) are separate questions to some degree.
Ethics is something that's at the core of my business during any point in time. I measure that by three gauges:
- “How would I feel if this email/video/or discussion were broadcast in front of those I love.” (This includes my kids. Does it represent me favorably?)
- “How would I feel to receive this message?” (Would I feel that it was beneficial or a waste of my time?)
- “What would I say if my mother or best friend who is in marketing were to receive this message?” (Slightly different from #1 as it's more related to the quality of the recommendation rather than the “gut” feeling of the email.)
If my gut doesn't sit right when asking myself those three questions, then I have to look at why and adjust – fast. OR if I get a queasy feeling after the fact, I need to apologize to my readers if I've made a mistake, either knowingly or unknowingly when I made it.
For instance, I've recently decided not to participate in any more time-sensitive product launches, unless the following three criteria are met:
- It's for someone who I know personally and respect.
- I have reviewed the product and find that it's useful, valuable, and quality. (Of course.)
- I have thoroughly reviewed the sales funnel.
I've promoted a few launches for GOOD products that I felt could really help my readers, but the sales funnels made me personally uncomfortable, so I'd rather lose money than lose my integrity. I can always make more money. 😉
As for value vs. integrity, I think they can go together. A person with integrity would want to offer great value. However, a person can offer value but not have integrity.
Can you tell that I think with my fingers?
ok. Here's what I'm actively working on right now.
I am removing several promotions from my autoresponders that recommended the products or services of people who I have since then found to not be people who I'd have in my home or give money to, myself. Initially I based the promotions on value, but not on integrity. Or, to be more accurate, I didn't have enough information to base them upon integrity.
Now, my decisions are based upon a much stricter criteria than they were previously – only since I have a broader base to pull from now and a better feel for what people are like behind the scenes.
So, to directly answer the question, my instinct during financial stress is to be even MORE protective of my readers, because most of them have less money to invest right now, and I do not want to be responsible for leading them to spend it unwisely. In fact, I try to include a “Do not buy this if… ” disclaimer in my promos if I think a product is only right for a certain type of marketer. My readers have said “I bought this on your recommendation” and so I choose to filter a lot of junk to get them to the best stuff – and more importantly, try my best not to add to their feelings of overwhelm and confusion. Do I always succeed? Nah. I wish. But, I do make my best judgment call at the time.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Please comment below.