Ethics in Marketing

Ethics are important. A revolutionary statement I know. But really. They are really quite important now however you look at it.

I have always tried to do the right things and think about the consumer first in my marketing efforts. There have been many times when I know I could have gained more sales or grown my database by taking different decisions but they wouldn’t be right. But this blog is not here to preach about how fantastically ethical I am.

There are two important considerations in marketing ethics in my mind. One is from the marketeers perspective and the other from the consumers perspective. Both benefit the marketeer and the consumer if we get this right.

Firstly, there is the marketeer angle. Being ethical means doing the right thing. We should always be looking to understand our consumers and serve them with the appropriate messaging and products. This has multiple benefits. Our consumers will only see what they want to see. This means they will have a favourable view of our brand which increases word of mouth advertising, loyalty, repeat business and therefore lifetime value. It means we don’t waste money on ineffective campaigns and we receive positive reviews and high quality data sets. It also means we naturally stay in the right side of regulations – an ever growing area. The consumer avoids the spam and is getting a fair and pleasant experience from a brand that they develop a positive relationship with.

Secondly, there is the consumer angle. One of the biggest trends today, especially amongst younger audiences who will be the largest audience for most businesses in the not too distant future, is buying from ethical companies. Many businesses have seen success due to their ethics. You can be cynical of course and say that real ethics and the ethics you project through marketing are not always the same but consumers can now see through this veil more than ever before. The power is with the consumer these days through social media, review sites etc. We need to ensure we are a business that they want to work with. They have plenty of choice and size is not the obvious strength it was in the twentieth century and can in fact be a disadvantage. If we genuinely behave ethically we have the opportunity to ride this trend whilst trying to make the world a better place.

Ethics are important to me and I’d like to think most of you would try to do the right thing regardless of the obvious advantages mentioned above but, if not, I hope this goes some way to explaining the advantages of ethical marketing and business in today’s world.

Read more about digital, marketing and business strategy, including values, in my international best-seller, Digital Marketing Strategy.

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