Marketing Ethics, Are They Even Important?

Marketing Ethics, Are They Even Important?

2 mins read243 Views Comment
Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Feb 17, 2023 16:47 IST

Are your marketing tactics ethical or questionable?


Customer data protection, green marketing, and societal marketing practices appeal to all consumers. Some businesses actively show that they are socially responsible and spend their marketing efforts showcasing that they’re ethically inclined to the concerns of the consumers. Such businesses flourish forever.

Not all incorporate such ethical practices into their marketing philosophy, though. Some businesses also mislead or manipulate the market or target segment, which gives rise to many ethical issues. These practices can damage a brand’s future growth and reputation.

Just check out the 10 digital marketing trends of 2023 and see how marketers focus on what’s ‘right’ for today’s consumer.

Having that said, let’s explore what marketing ethics entail.

What is Marketing Ethics?

Marketing ethics is the application of ethical principles and standards in marketing decisions and practices to protect customers, stakeholders, and society from harm. It provides the guiding principle for all kinds of marketing communication that are fair and responsible. Incorporating marketing ethics means you are removing any unfairness or deception.

One definition of marketing ethics from Skyword goes like this –

Ethical marketing is all about doing the right thing as a business, doing the right thing in marketing, and using marketing to emphasize that you are doing the right thing.

Where Can You Apply Marketing Ethics?

Marketing ethics can be applied in all activities and practices. To increase customer loyalty, some approaches are expected to be used in the following. 

Where to Draw the Line in Marketing Activities?

When it comes to creating marketing strategies, ethics are often overlooked. Companies may be focused on increasing sales and profits, but they should also consider the ethical implications of their marketing tactics. Ethical marketing is important because it can help build trust with customers and create a positive reputation for the company.

It is harder to distinguish between right and wrong in marketing practices today. Some audiences may not have ethical dilemmas with some promotional tactics, but to some, the same tactics may hurt their sentiments or cause harm in other ways.

Tactics such as Guerilla marketing border on shock-and-awe, but sometimes it can induce fear. A paper in the American Journal of Economics and Business Administration states that some types of public guerilla advertisements have the potential to induce anxiety, cause traffic accidents and are not child-proof.

While it is difficult to say that guerilla marketing is unethical, marketing activities such as greenwashing outrightly are. Greenwashing is misleading the public about the brand following sustainability practices. Zara and H&M are among the popular fast-fashion brands that have unjustified claims on sustainability.

Ethical issues in marketing can also arise when targeting a group of youngsters below 12, the elderly and anyone who is vulnerable.

Selective marketing is another unethical practice that was prevalent in the past. The idea of selective marketing was to exclude minority groups or undesirable groups from the communication altogether.

Parting Thoughts

Incorporating ethics into a marketing strategy can improve brand perception. But it needs to be transparent and honest with the audience.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio