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    Added on 14 August

    Why Ethical Marketing Practices Are So Important

    14 August

    When we consider potential marketing strategies and approaches, we often think about who are target audiences, how we can persuade them, and what the most cost-effective strategies for reaching them are. Less commonly, we think about the ethics of what we're doing.

    But realistically, ethical marketing practices are important – not only for consumers, but also for marketers and the brands they represent. What makes marketing ethics so important and how can you practice marketing more ethically?

    The Value of Ethical Marketing

    Let's examine some of the most important impacts of ethical marketing.

    • Health and safety. Not everything is perfectly safe. Sometimes, the risks are totally unknown; for example, asbestos was used in a wide variety of applications for decades before it was identified as a cause of mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer. Other times, the risks are well understood or reasonably suspected. In some cases, you may be legally obligated to disclose health and safety information to consumers. But even if you're not obligated to do so, it's a wise move; doing so can help your customers stay healthy and safe.

    • Reduced liability. Ethical marketing practices can also reduce your potential liability. Misleading customers or falsely advertising can land you in significant legal trouble, ultimately costing you thousands, or even millions of dollars, depending on the scale of your strategy.

    • Consumer trust Focusing on the ethics of your marketing strategy is a great way to build consumer trust. If you're consistently honest, accurate, and direct in how you market to your customers, they're going to have much more faith in your brand. That means they're going to spend more money, and likely going to stay with you for longer.

    • Client retention If you're executing a marketing strategy on behalf of your clients, you should know that pursuing ethical practices can also help you boost client retention. Not only are you going to make your clients look better, but you'll also safeguard them and better position them for long-term success.

    • Recognition and potential partnership Being an ethical marketer positions you for better partnerships and more recognition within your industry and its adjacent sectors. For example, Google (like most other big tech companies) has explicit standards for how businesses can represent themselves on the platform. If you avoid controversies, you'll be much more likely to get your marketing and advertising messages featured on platforms of your choice.

    How to Practice Ethical Marketing

    So what exactly is ethical marketing and how do you practice it?

    Obviously, there's some room for subjectivity here, but these are some of the most important fundamentals for ethical marketing:

    • Honesty and transparency. The most important thing you can do is practice honesty and transparency. Lying to your customers, deceiving them, manipulating them, or hiding things from them is only going to work against you. This is especially true in today's age, when information can spread like wildfire and consumers are interested in making informed, ethical decisions. Never misrepresent your products or your brand. Also, if your brand is ever involved in controversy, or if you ever make mistakes, get ahead of the news and take accountability.

    • Accuracy. Similarly, it's important to strive for accuracy. It's tempting to manipulate data or present it in a way that makes your brand or products look more favorable, but it's usually better for you in the long run if you remain as accurate and objective as possible.

    • Consumer protections. In many cases, ethical marketing provides layers of protection for consumers. If you proactively inform them that your product is risky to use under certain conditions, or if you advise them on how to use your products safely in your advertising, your customers will be safer and feel safer.

    • No emotional exploitation. Emotions can be very powerful, which is why many brands appeal to strong emotions like fear to sell their products and services. However, there's a fine line between persuasion and manipulation. If your marketing messages or advertisements are considered exploitative or predatory, consumers will be turned off. It's better to keep your messages grounded in realism.

    • Sustainability. You may also need to think about the sustainability of your products as well as how you advertise those products. You don't have to disclose all the dirty details of how your products are created, but you also shouldn't misrepresent them. Additionally, you should avoid any marketing or advertising methods that could be considered unsustainable or unethical.

    • Customer concerns. Occasionally, your customers may present concerns about your products or how your brand is operating. When this happens, acknowledge those concerns and do your best to address them while following the other guidelines in this list.

    Practical, ethical marketing is good for your customers. It's good for your brand. And it's good for your clients, assuming you have them. Best of all, it's relatively easy to practice; a bit of conscientiousness goes a long way.

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