Ethical Marketing: Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer

  • Marketing
  • March 19, 2024
Ethical Marketing: Meeting the Demands of the Modern Customer

Today, customers demand more than just the best products. They also expect a certain level of ethical practice from decision-making and production to sales and marketing practices. While companies and brands could get away with deceptive and non-ethical marketing practices in the past, the level of awareness among the public today combined with the widespread nature of social media today make it almost impossible to win over customers using some of the unethical marketing practices of yesterday. In this blog post, we will take a brief look at ethical marketing and why it matters more now than ever.

What is Ethical Marketing?

Ethical Marketing is an approach or philosophy to marketing that seeks to uphold a certain level of integrity to dissuade possible fears from consumers. A successful ethical marketing approach can strengthen bonds with existing customers and convert them into advocates for a brand or product. It is not a new approach either. For example, the global ethical food market is already projected to reach $139Bn in 2023. What makes ethical marketing unique is that it can be applied on top of any existing or upcoming marketing strategies. It has become prevalent enough that top marketing agencies should be expected to be able to market a brand or business both effectively and ethically at the same time.

Why it Matters for Today’s Customers?

One of the main reasons for the rise of ethical marketing is simply that consumers want to be informed more than ever. For example, a survey found that 74% of consumers ranked data privacy as one of their top priorities while 81% said they lacked control over how their data was collected. Providing transparency in the data collection process by letting customers opt-in to specific types of data collection and telling them exactly what it will be used for is a good example of an ethical marketing practice to try and gain a customer’s trust. But it is not enough to be transparent for the sake of transparency itself. Consumers need to be informed on what is being collected and when. For example, a survey found that 56% of Americans did not even know what a privacy policy is.

So why go through the added effort? The answer is that consumers today are not only informed but are also willing to try out new brands or switch brands based on how much they think they can trust a brand. In 2020, 40% of consumers said they would be willing to spend 5% more for an ethical product, reaching as high as 53% among consumers aged 16 and 34. In contrast, 34% of UK adults stopped buying a brand or product due to ethical or sustainability concerns in 2022. More effort on ethical marketing may be the way to connect with the consumers of today if these statistics are anything to go by.

Is Ethical Marketing Worth Prioritizing?

One of the few downsides of ethical marketing is that it requires commitment from businesses, both in money and time. An ethical marketing approach will require keeping up with real-world changes, applying ethical compliance programs, and hiring specialized personnel such as an ethics officer. Despite this, it is important to understand what drives customers to spend, especially in a time when they are less likely to spend. A recent report showed that 60% of consumers are very worried about rising costs, with 50% opting to make less impulsive purchases and wait for sales, loyalty benefits, or special offers even from their favorite brands.

Marketers today need to be creative in today’s market to make sure that customers stay engaged with them. Whether that is as simple as an ethical label on an e-commerce banner for a product or a long-term approach like deciding to take an interactive approach to social media content marketing is something that each marketer, business, or brand will have to figure out for themselves. What seems clear however is that ethical marketing is here to stay and should be a core consideration for marketing to the customers of today.







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