What is ethical marketing and why should your business advocate for more ethical marketing practices? Alex Ford provides the answers.
Everywhere you look there is a focus on sustainability and ethical practices. Companies are using greener packaging or printing less to save paper – but is their marketing ethical?
Ethical marketing is a relatively new concept and many people are unaware that such a thing even exists. But at a time when social media platforms are engaging in questionable practices and our online worlds are becoming saturated with more and more digital junk, companies should question the impact of their marketing practices
What is ethical marketing?
Ethical marketing encompasses many different things depending on what marketing practices you are currently using. It covers topics such as privacy and data collection and how transparent your company is in communicating this. That includes digital trash – by pumping out piece by piece of content and uploading it to the cloud, you leave digital dust everywhere.
When looking at the ethics of your current marketing efforts, it’s important to consider where and with whom you’re spending your money, and for what purpose. Essentially, ethical marketing comes down to what you value as a company and whether your marketing practices align with those values - do you really believe what you say?
Given the ubiquitous nature of social media and digital consumption, many SMBs believe they have no other choice. If your customers are in these areas, aren’t you missing out on valuable engagement and sales?
Here are some ways you can advocate for more ethical marketing practices — without losing your audience.
Check your social media platforms
Given that Facebook and TikTok are the least trusted social media platforms in the US, you must have a pretty good reason if you want to stick with them.
TikTok has been in the news a lot lately for its unethical privacy practices. Last year they settled a $92 million class action lawsuit — the result of lawsuits filed primarily on behalf of children, some as young as 6, alleging TikTok was involved in “stealing private and personally identifiable information.” TikTok user data involved. “
Facebook was also under scrutiny, again affecting data collection but also its infamous algorithm. Worryingly, the more user interaction a Facebook post receives, the more likely it is to violate Facebook’s Community Standards. This has led to the platform being riddled with hate speech and misinformation, a frustrating result for small businesses who are struggling to reach their audiences amidst all this sensationalist content.
There are many other social media options out there, and if you’re looking to leave Facebook like us, the results are better than you think!
Reduce your digital waste
Digital waste is still a foreign word for many, but it exists. We’re not talking about hardware like computers and smartphones, although that’s a different issue. We talk about the data we generate taking up huge amounts of server space and consuming valuable energy resources.
In fact, a report by anti-virus software company McAfee states that the electricity required to transmit the trillions of spam emails sent each year is equivalent to the electricity needs of over two million homes in the United States – with the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions more than three million cars.
Instead of creating new content every week, try to reuse existing content to reduce your digital waste. It saves you time and helps you move forward towards a more ethical marketing framework.
Look at traditional marketing methods
Believe it or not, social media advertising isn’t the be-all and end-all. With nearly 3 in 4 users (74 percent) believing there are too many ads online, it’s time to get back to basics to reflect. Because social platforms are absolutely saturated with content, audiences can become overwhelmed and switch off — especially when 44% of users find the ads irrelevant to their needs.
You don’t have to run ads in newspapers or run the same old TV commercials — you can get a little more creative using traditional marketing. Think of taking to the streets with samples of your product or experimental installations to break everyday life. People are always looking for new things to share on social media, and you’ll get where you want to be without struggling with ad spend budgets and algorithms.
Alex Ford is the founder and CEO of Socialike. Ethical marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. Socialike was founded to look at digital marketing differently. Founded in 2018, we have established ourselves as an ethical marketing agency, aligned our actions to our values and created a future-oriented, sustainable business model. We’re proud to help Kiwi SMEs understand the impact their marketing efforts could have, and we encourage them to get involved in making a change. After all, ethical marketing is the way of the future.