7 Ethical Standards for a Digital Strategist

No one licenses digital marketing strategists. Marketing is a free for all, and everyone and their brother have an opinion. In that sense, it’s a little like religion – it comes in every shape, and you never know what you’re getting until you get it. The following is a proposed set of standards for ethical behavior. They come out of the MadPipe Ethos:

  1. The Logic Rule: A digital strategist should take a rational, systematic approach to growing your internet marketing, not one that builds and hopes or just guesses and uses you as the guinea pig.
  2. The Transparency Rule: A digital strategist should communicate in plain terms what he’s going to do, and not do magic tricks behind marketing curtains, surrounded with jargon.
  3. The Standards Rule: A digital strategist should utilize well-documented, proven industry standards of internet marketing techniques that are validated and vetted by the industry as a whole. Do not claim to use a magic blend of secret sauce that requires you to follow only us, or ultimately bites back when search engines enforce the standards.
  4. The Candor Rule: A digital strategist should tell you straight-up what we think, even if it costs us your business – you should have access to legitimate consulting advice rather than us merely figuring out what you’d like to hear most and pretending it’s true (e.g. everything is simultaneously easy, cheap, and effective).
  5. The Secure Rule: A digital strategist should keep client information confidential, honor mutual non-disclosures, and use a secure document storage method.
  6. The Green Rule: A digital strategist should run green and lean (e.g. a paperless office, green servers, cloud technology). In other words, attempt to impact the marketplace, not the planet.
  7. The Good for the Goose Rule: A digital strategist should follow his own advice, where applicable. While we tailor the advice we give, we shouldn’t give you the ‘public’ version, and keep the good stuff for ourselves, or pass off on you things we aren’t willing to do also.

Once you force people to accept standards, you drive up costs and ensure there’s more attention paid to compliance than creativity. I don’t think that should happen with marketing. But I do think ethics are important, and having a clear ethos in place should be one of the requirements for your engaging a digital marketing strategist. Keep it in mind, and contact MadPipe if you want a second look.

Daniel DiGriz

Daniel DiGriz is a corporate storyteller and Digital Ecologist® at MadPipe, which provides creative direction, marketing leadership in marketing, and campaign direction for firms that want a stronger connection with their audience. A Digital Ecologist® applies strategic principles from both natural and digital ecologies to help organizations thrive across multiple ecosystems. Daniel hosts podcasts, speaks at conferences, and his ideas have appeared in Inc, SmartBlog, MediaPost, Forbes, and Success Magazine.
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