Business ethics and ethical marketing are two of the most complex topics in the modern business world.
Finding the balance between profit and ethics is a challenge that nearly every business faces and looking at how to implement ethical marketing can leave businesses with tough decisions to make.
This poses the question: is it ethical for businesses to profit from ethical marketing?
The answer to this question is difficult; in an ideal world, every business would act ethically and be honest in their marketing and promises to their customers.
With major disparities developing present between big corporations and their customers in recent years, consumers are looking more than ever for marketing for small businesses and large corporations to be transparent and ethical in their marketing.
- 1 What Is Ethical Marketing?
- 2 Information Is More Available Than Ever Before
- 3 Get Involved in Your Community or With Ethical Causes
- 4 Can Businesses Profit From Ethical Marketing?
What Is Ethical Marketing?
Ethical marketing is just as much a philosophy as it is a business practice.
It can be broadly defined as a process which companies use to generate interest in their products/services, build customer relationships and create value for stakeholders, all by incorporating social and environmental considerations into their marketing and promotion efforts.
Ethical marketing goes beyond ‘doing the right thing’. Ethical marketing displays a brand or companies choice to boost their public reputation and connect with their customers on a more meaningful level.
What Marketing Practices Are Unethical?
It should go without saying that any marketing or advertising should avoid any discriminatory language or stereotypes. Alongside this, according to Entrepreneur.com there are six forms of unethical marketing that brands and companies should look to avoid:
- Exaggeration – any false claims made about a particular product’s quality or popularity.
- Puffery – When subjective claims’ puff up’ a company’s products, e.g. unverifiable claims such as ‘try the best-tasting coffee in the world’.
- Unverifiable claims – products that promise results without any specific support or evidence for such claims.
- False comparisons – if a business makes false or misleading claims about competitors products.
If you notice any of these practices slipping into your marketing and advertising efforts, then make sure you do your best to remove them accordingly.
What Marketing Practices Are Ethical?
Now we’ve looked at some of the unethical marketing practices to watch out for, let’s take a look at some ethical marketing practices you can look at implementing.
Stay Away From Sleazy Marketing Tactics/Sensationalism
There’s a difference between promoting the positive aspects of a brand to attract customers and confusing or misleading customers with false or misleading statements/promises.
No matter what kind or size of business you’re running, it won’t take your customers long to cotton onto false claims or misleading statements in your marketing.
While it’s nearly impossible to keep every single customer satisfied all of the time, you should be aiming to have as high a customer satisfaction rate as possible.
Decide Upon Your Target Market
If you’re struggling to come up with advertising ideas or how to pivot towards ethical marketing, deciding upon your target marketing will help you do so. When you know who your target market is, you can drill deeper into what they do and don’t value.
By taking the time to research your ideal customer and what they look for in a company/brand or product, you can determine what message you want to convey in your advertising and what you’ll want to avoid.
Attract Customers Through Transparency
In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for corporations and businesses to keep a few secrets from their customers. This could have ranged from where products are sourced and what the environmental impact of them are to not being clear about any company initiatives aimed at targeting contemporary issues.
In this day and age, customers want to know everything about a product they buy, which means companies should take time to provide useful insights over why they should be chosen over the competition.
While it’s important to show how your brand or company differentiates from your competition you should do so in a transparent way. With 93% of consumers looking at online reviews before making a purchasing decision, it’s imperative that you tell the truth to your customers.
Your Customers Want Real Connections
With the rise of social media, and more and more brands sharing more about their business and employees than ever before, and this transparency is being reflected in consumer purchasing decisions.
While you should always respect employee and business privacy, the right amount of brand transparency allows you to show the human side of your business while building genuine relationships with your customers.
Information Is More Available Than Ever Before
With the amount of data available at the click of a few buttons, there’s never been a more important time for companies to be transparent with their customers.
Even if you’re still working out your company’s values and vision, encouraging input from your customers and employees will help to improve employee satisfaction and drive customer loyalty.
Get Involved in Your Community or With Ethical Causes
With customers wanting to know more and more about the companies they buy from, there’s no better time for a business to get involved in their local community or to get involved with an ethical cause.
To get your business involved with your local community you could consider sponsoring an event, teaching a class, let employees volunteer or donate to a local charity of their choice or ask run a poll asking your customers
For more ideas on how to get your business involved with your local community, check out this post from ThriveHive.
Can Businesses Profit From Ethical Marketing?
There’s no reason why a business conducting their marketing in an ethical way can’t be profitable.
As we’ve explored in this post, there are plenty of benefits to introducing ethical marketing practices into your business and marketing strategies.
Ethical marketing increases customer loyalty and deepens the relationship and trust between a business/brand and it’s customers and audience. If you’re looking to introduce ethical marketing into your business or start-up get started with a recognised digital marketing agency for start-ups today.