Ethical Marketing: A Contradiction in Terms?
Ethical marketing, what do advertisers know about being ethical? As a marketing agency, we are hyper-aware that consumer trust is crucial to a successful business. As millennials we are also aware that now more than ever, people are extremely skeptical of advertising. When our generation was polled for industries they felt practiced their craft with integrity, only 4% said marketers and advertisers did. Ouch. I have to admit that it stings a little. However, it makes sense. When your goal is to sell, sell, sell, people naturally assume that we’d do anything to accomplish that goal.
So how can your business get the word out if any messaging is automatically met with suspicion. The answer; ethical marketing.
A Quick Definition of Ethical Marketing
So we’re on the same page, ethical marketing isn’t telling people that you sell the 7th best donuts on the market, just because it happens to be true. Ethical Marketing is sharing the honest good that your business brings to the community/world. In order to do that your company must be committed to charitable works and community service. You business must consider the environmental and social implications of their products. That’s right, ethical marketing is largely responsible for all those buzzwords like Fair-trade, Made in America and 100% Recycled.
You Get What You Give
The best part of ethical marketing is it works! Here are a few statistics worth considering:
- 45% of consumers say that they will buy a product if the company is ethical. Pretty good right? Well keep in mind that 56% said they will not buy products from an unethical company.
- 35% of consumers say that they would tell friends about ethical companies.
- 71% say that a company’s charitable givings and community service influences their purchasing habits. (23% often or always, 48% sometimes.)
Real Ethical Marketing is a foundation, not a facade.
So ethical marketing sounds pretty good right? What’s next, donate to a charity and then tell people all about it on social media? Obviously you don’t want to appear as if your pandering like a political candidate on the baby kissing trail. An effective ethical marketing campaign should be baked into your basic business strategy. Basically, think about your product, really think about its true environmental, social and economical impact on the communities that buy and produce your product. Appearing as if you are trying to offset any harm done or trying to create gains across all points of manufacture and distribution will attract ethically minded consumers. This will give you a clear advantage over your competitors and can even trump premium vs bargain prices.
Rooting for the underdog
Being ethical seems like something that only big, finically secure companies have time to even consider. Guess what though? They rarely do. It much more likely for a small, mom and pop like company to benefit in the long term from a competent ethical marketing campaign. They can create niches in already crowded markets. Furthermore, they can claim that the primary difference between their products and the competitors is that it’s made and distributed responsibly.
We encourage all of our clients to think about how they can conduct their businesses more ethically. Every business should, because in our day and age there is nothing easier to sell than ‘doing the right thing’.