Today’s episode may feel like a hard-hitter, but it’s an incredibly important topic - now more than ever. Today, we’re talking about all things ethical marketing.
Sometimes it’s far easier to define what ethical marketingisn’t than it is to clearly understand what ethical marketing looks like in practice, so today we’re breaking it down from concept to intention to action.
Let’s look at ethical marketing from a bigger picture to begin with, and I may need you to bear with me as we explore some of these examples and concepts.
In 1979 the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare brought together some of the top psychologists and advocates and researchers in order to outline a guide of conduct when researching the behaviors of people.
They outlined three guiding principles that I believe apply to any interaction we have with others, and can be directly applied to the way we show up in our business efforts and marketing strategies.
These principles are - a respect for others, altruism, and justice. Let’s take a look at each one.
A respect for others specifically refers to a respect for your customer’s autonomy as well as their ability and right to make informed decisions.
We as marketers should not say or design anything to influence them to make a purchase decision without their full consent and knowledge. Meaning, we respect their right to choose - to choose to buy our product or not buy our product.
Altruism means to act withselfless concern for the well-being of others.So, in our marketing, we should set out to have the best interest of our customers in mind, CARE about whether the product will truly better their lives. When you care about this, it makes its way into every marketing strategy you create, because you’re determined to keep them from buyer’s remorse.
Upholding justice means you intentionally strive to keep them from bearing a burden just so you can reap the benefits. In marketing, you want to enter into a purchase arrangement that benefits you, yes, but benefits them equally.
What does following these principles look like for us as business owners and marketers?
What do these principles look like in action, when it comes to crafting our own marketing content - from our websites to sales pages to social media content and advertisements?
My biggest tip to support your ethical marketing efforts is to focus on conductingmarket research - which may sound boring or like a waste of time, it’s not! There are a lot of exercises out there that help you map out your customer journey and extrapolate what they’re thinking in order to create a customer avatar.
These exercises are great, but can lure you into thinking you know your customer inside and out without actually knowingyour customer’s thoughts, needs, wants, and problems. That is, unless you conduct market research first!
Marketing research is the best way to ensure you’re ethically marketing and selling - because you get to know, in the words of your customers, what their needs are, what they’re looking for, and what problems they are facing.
You get to know their desired price points and you accurately understand how to (1) craft a product that truly benefits them, and (2) communicate the benefits and features of your product without extrapolating about their needs and writing unfounded sales pitches.
Market research doesn’t have to be overwhelming or long and drawn out. You can simply put out a call for a focus group on your social media or email list, give everyone an Amazon gift card in exchange for showing up to a Zoom call, and simply ask them some questions and take notes! You can also send out a survey via email and social media.
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