The 7 Core Principles Of Ethical Marketing
One charge that is often laid at the doors of businesses, is that their marketing and selling tactics are unethical, and in extreme cases, they can be accused of outright lies. This can mean that business owners feel they are in a legal minefield when it comes to marketing their business, and why they often seek the guidance of a commercial lawyer to confirm or not if their marketing plans stand up to ethical scrutiny.
It is true that the vast majority of businesses are honest and often any criticism of their marketing efforts comes as a result of their lack of understanding marketing ethics, rather than any deliberate attempt to hoodwink the public. So, to give you a steer as to what you need to do to be seen as marketing ethically, here are 7 top tips.
Transparency: The more open your marketing is, the more trust you will build with potential customers. This extends to being open about any downsides to your product or service. The second prospects think you are hiding something or being deliberately vague, the trust disappears almost immediately.
Honesty: A close relation of transparency but this is a stage further because being transparent does not necessarily mean that you are telling the truth. By all means, paint your product or service in the best light possible so that it attracts buyers, but never, ever, saying anything untruthful or make claims about them which are dishonest.
No False Comparisons: No doubt you have competitors and obviously you want your products to be seen as better than theirs, which can be achieved using ethical marketing. What you should not do is make false comparisons, or worse, make unfounded and derogatory comments about your competitors. It serves no purpose and could potentially see a lawsuit heading in your direction from your competitor’s lawyers.
Integrity: We have all heard the horror stories of slick salespeople going into vulnerable people’s homes and making a sale as much by confusing the person than them genuinely having a need or a want for the product. Hopefully, that is something you would never countenance within your business, but even so, it is essential that you ensure everyone who works for you does so in a moral and ethical basis at all times.
Deliver On Promises: A promise can come in many forms such as promising that a product will perform a specific function to a certain level. They can also be in regard to special promotions and offers such as ‘Buy One Get One Free’. So, whilst promises can cover a huge array of specifics, one principle which must be at the core of all of them is that you intend to, and that you will, keep all of them.
Be Empathetic: The more your marketing relates to your customers, and more importantly some of the issues they have which your product will resolve, then the better relationship you will build with them. Stop talking about what your product is and say more to your prospects about how it can help them fix their problems.
Protect Data And Respect Privacy: With the ever-increasing emphasis on data security and individual privacy, it is essential that all your marketing meets the guidelines, and more importantly, the law, as it relates to these. This means no sharing of customers’ data, and also no using black hat tactics such as spam emails or cold calls to random phone numbers, for example.