And They Will Know You By How You Live

Today’s lesson concerns how we live…ethics.

I learned marketing many years ago and sometimes consult with companies about their marketing strategies (or lack of as is often the case). So, I’m always reading about the topic.

Luke writes at the end of chapter 2 while describing the explosive growth of the new movement of Jesus-followers, “having earned the goodwill of all the people.” People all around the Mediterranean rim at the time were attracted to Jesus because of the way his followers lived.

Jesus even told us that his followers would be known by the way they lived–love being an action verb.

How does that relate to marketing? How does marketing relate to our lives?

A couple of nice examples presented themselves this week.

Some marketing people, and presumably the CEO, of Keurig had a brilliant idea. The company makes household appliances including a one-cup-at-a-time coffee brewer. I have one. Love it. Just like the razor blade model or the ink jet printer model where the company makes money from the continual lock in of replacing blades or ink regularly, Keurig marketers thought they would force customers to use its coffee supplies packaged in K-cups.

Within hours, technology blogs were posted with ways to defeat this lock in so that we could still use our own coffee beans. Sales of the Keurig 2 machine–and for the company–dropped.

The CEO acknowledged the reason for the drop in sales as customers just wanted to use their own beans and so bought rivals’ products. Duh. That’s not unethical, just stupid. Not knowing one’s customers.

But stupid leads to questionable ethics.

I’m watching my granddaughter play a “game” on an Amazon tablet. She’s 5. Building necklaces for the Strawberry Shortcake character.

Strawberry says that you can add a picture of her or one of her friends to the locket. So, little girls tap one of her friends and is taken to a page where you can buy the friend package for $9.95 each. My granddaughter realizes she can’t use those pictures and just starts tapping other things. Mostly she likes taking pictures of herself or other people.

But how can a group of people sit in a conference room and discuss how to increase revenue. Well, we need “in-app” sales. How can we entice our under-10 customers to buy additional items? Let’s make it appear that they can add something only to be diverted to a page for purchasing. If an astute parent has not set blocks and controls, a considerable bill could be accumulated. Or much discord strewn in the home while little Susie whines about wanting more stuff.

Thank you marketers.

I have invested in a coffee shop (hence my Keuring example about coffee) where the fundamental value accepted by all investors and managers starts with ethics. Treat people from the farmer who grows the beans to the employees to the customer to the community with the best ethics.

Others can also decide to build companies on ethical foundation. And all of us can look for ethical companies for our purchases.

People will want to know about us by the way we live, by the way we transact business, by the way we treat all people.

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