Ethical Marketing – is your business doing it and why does it matter?

As you’ve probably ascertained, ethical marketing is about socialresponsiblity. But surely all companies behave this way – in which case why advertise the fact? 

The truth is, not all organisations and companies adhere to an ethical marketing strategy. Many, instead, value profit above standards.

Examples of unethical marketing include:

  • Making false claims about a product or service
  • Pressuring customers to buy using scare tactics
  • Making fallacious accusations about rival companies

In this short introduction, we’ll define ethical marketing, its key concepts, and why it matters. 


What is ethical marketing?

Your company is built upon a core set of values. Whether you choose to advertise them is a moot point. What matters is these values drive all that you do.

Advertising a set of standards – but not living by them – isn’t ethical. After all, cowboy firms can create values and use them to lure in unsuspecting customers.

Although ethical marketing principles vary, they’re broadly the same – no matter what sector a company operates in and regardless of the product or service it sells.

Key principles of ethical marketing

Social responsibility is about living by the standards you’ve defined for your business.

Some of the more universal values include…

#1 Truthfulness

Rather than misleading customers, you present the facts – so fully informed decisions can be made. An example might be an insurance provider explaining the exclusions in one of its products.

#2 Fairness

Although your firm exists to make a profit, it refuses to do so at the expense of its customers and employees. That’s why your prices are fair – and you pay team members generously for their efforts.

unethical marketing

#3 Responsibility

Giving back to the community by investing in local causes or sponsoring a charity are two examples of how your firm commits to ethical marketing. 

This requires investment in terms of your time and money. Unethical companies out to make fast cash, meanwhile, won’t commit to such actions.


Explaining what you do and how builds trust with your customers. For example, you could create a web page detailing your employee wellbeing programme or carbon emissions policy.

Ethical marketing strategies

Creating values is straightforward. You don’t even need to be a marketing expert. But that’s not the challenge. Ethical marketing only becomes difficult when put into practice. How can you prove to customers and stakeholders you live by your standards?

Here are three ideas…

#1 Use your social media feed to be…

…socially responsible. This means writing often about causes you’re passionate about and demonstrating what actions you’re taking to support those issues. 

Perhaps you’re against animal cruelty – and therefore support the great work performed by charities like Peta by donating your time and money. 

#2 Advertise your values on your…

…website – which is the most powerful digital weapon in your arsenal and a great way to demonstrate your commitment to ethical marketing.

Why not create pages that promote:

  • The charities you support and what steps you’re taking to support those wonderful causes
  • What you’re doing to reduce carbon emissions – for example, encouraging employees to work from home
  • How you support employees’ mental health – resulting in a happier and more productive workforce

what is social responsibility in marketing

Why is social responsibility so important?

Creating a set of values and living by them takes time and commitment. They’re not a set of arbitrary standards cut and pasted into a web page. And so, by weaving these ethics into your marketing strategy, you’ll separate your company from those out to extort profit from their customers at any cost.

Ethical marketing:

  • Builds brand credibility through association with good causes and a commitment to treating customers fairly
  • Improves content strategy by providing a broader range of topics to share on social channels and web pages
  • Differentiates companies from inferior competitors or rivals with no bona fide ethical marketing plan

Contact us for help or advice by booking a free call with a member of our team today.
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