Don't Be Like Ryanair. Seriously

A friend of mine was telling me how she wants to start a paid meditation course.

I whipped out my marketing brain and asked my favourite question:

How are you going to sell that stuff?

Her reply:”We’ll make the core service available for free and make money with upsells”.

Books, CDs, incense, meditation mats and comfy linen clothing, that sort of thing.

On the surface it looks like a good idea but actually it isn’t.

I told her: “So you want to be Ryanair”.

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Who Are You to Know What’s Best for Others?

As if he’s asking: How do you know what’s best for me?

Let’s do a little thought experiment related to ethics and morality in marketing.

Yes, it’s a mouthful. But don’t worry: I don’t have the answers to this one so I won’t pontificate. Much.

The other day, my cat fell ill, and he rapidly got worse. Feline leukemia can exist in the body for years without causing illness, but once it does the cat won’t survive for very long.

At some point I had to decide: Have him put to sleep, or try to keep him alive a bit longer? If you think I’m cruel for wanting him to live on despite an illness – I’m not cruel.

There was no indication that he was suffering, none at all. He was skinny and he slept a lot, but he still washed, ate, drank… like any healthy cat, just more slowly.

In the end of course, his condition got so bad that there was no other choice, and the vet came round to… well you know.

It makes me wonder: As human beings, we can decide on behalf of animals. We can determine that the suffering has lasted long enough. We’re the ones who ‘know’ that ‘it’s cruel’, or ‘it’s inhumane’, or that ‘he should be put out of his misery’.

To me, it raises a moral question: How well do we really know what’s best for others?

This isn’t just about pets: It also relates to people, and specifically to business. More specifically: Marketing.

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