Ethics in Marketing

Ethics in marketing: Examples, definition, Communication, features, Ethics in digital marketing, Ethics in direct marketing, Ethics in healthcare marketing, Ethics in b2b marketing, Conclusion. 

Ethics in marketing: Examples, definition, Communication, features
Ethics in marketing: Examples, definition, Communication, features

Ethics are the set of principles of right conduct that give a proper shape to the decisions of people or organizations. Practicing Ethics is that you are deliberately applying standards of moral right and wrongs, and fairness as well for making the decisions relating to practice, behavior, and the making of organizations.

When it comes to the marketing economy, a business is expected to behave in a way it believes to be in its own best interest. The basic purpose of marketing is to create a competitive advantage.

Ethics in Marketing or Ethical Marketing is one of a great way of long-term effective branding, trust-building strategies for optimizing presence, sales, lead, word-of-mouth, and conversions of a service or product. Marketing ethics surround those principles of ethical standards and marketing that provides acceptable marketing conduct and it is defined as one of the important parts of marketing.

Another definition of ethics in marketing is that Marketing ethics include all those practices that promote social responsibility, empathy, honesty, and fairness by following ethical standards.

All the marketing decisions, standards, advertising of products, marketing tactics, and services involve ethical marketing practices that focus on how products will benefit the user along with how the products will fulfill the social responsibility and handle different ethical issues arising.

This develops a great effect on the consumer’s benefits and benefits they get from related environmental and social issues.


Let’s have a look at the examples of ethical marketing too. Some companies give us great examples of ethical marketing and in addition, they also provide us with valuable tips and tactics for promotion.


When talking to any environmental activist we will get one answer in common: that the fashion industry is one of the largest contributions to climate change. As per calculation, it generates 2.1 billion metric tons of greenhouse gas annually which is greater in proportion when compared to Germany, France, and UK combined. Moreover, businesses like Patagonia are changing the industry.

Talking about this brand, its philosophy is all based on being green making ethical marketing a natural part of the strategy. This brand shares the awareness about the environmental-friendly practices, Patagonia is also promoting anti-consumerism.

Patagonia instead of encouraging customers to make a great sale on Black Friday pledged to lessen consumption as this campaign raised awareness about the environmental impacts of consumerism in the industry and make people understand the effect of their purchases.


Kind of intense, right? Some of the important marketing slogans to which Allbirds is sticking. This brand is making efforts to shake up the clothing industry with its steady commitment to eco-friendly production. It measures everything that is contributing to its carbon footprint and it is so passionate about its campaign that it even publishes sustainability reports.

Allbirds is another brand that is focusing on environment-friendly practices while looking up its marketing strategy. They are spreading awareness for their unique supply chain which involves green energy, regenerative agriculture, and renewable materials.

This brand is even successful in advertising the carbon footprint of each product. For example, Mizzle shoes, and Wool Dasher generate 12.9kg of CO2 that is compensated afterward. The other marketing projects include;

  • Forest planting project with Berkeley School Forests.
  • Advocating for sustainable agriculture practices by promoting The New Merino Company, an ethical wool company.

The list didn’t stop and continues to go on. The use of ethical marketing makes Allbirds successfully different from others. You must also know that Allbird is satisfied with B Corporation with the greatest standards of verified social and environmental performance. Another big accomplishment for Allbirds is that their consumers appreciate them.


At first ethical marketing seems to be a contradictory concept as many bright people have tried to study the relationship between making a profit and doing the right things. But another thing is that consumers matter here.

Nowadays more and more customers prefer to choose a business that is dedicated to helping social and environmental causes. And it has been observed that the brands that paid attention and applied ethics to their marketing are winning customers’ trust. On the contrary, those who only pretend to be ethical may lose their customers afterward.

Let’s make the concept of ethical marketing clearer. Ethical marketing includes a set of right conducts and involves those companies that focus on the beneficiary of the society, consumers, and most importantly for the environment. It involves everything helpful in ensuring that advertisements are linked with the customers in a meaningful way.

It should be kept in mind that ethical marketing is a philosophy and not a strategy as previously companies considered ethical marketing only when they were making business decisions.


Business ethics is not only present in the relationship between consumers, society, environment, and organization but it is also of the same importance that attention must be paid to internal communication and relationship.

For the sustainable development of the business economy and equal opportunities for the organization as well as advantageous competition, it is necessary to communicate for harmonizing relations at the global and private level with generally accepted business standards.

Small businesses often use words and phrases for making their business attractive and enticing even when their message uses phrases that inflate and exaggerate. Moreover, ethical communication includes activities covering misstating facts, withholding information, and making misleading claims.

The understanding of ethics in business communication helps you in growing your advertisements, promotional activities legal and ethical, and public relations.


The features which make ethical marketing an integral part of the life of an organization are given as follows:

Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty is the most important feature when it comes to ethical marketing. With the adoption of ethics in terms of operation, business companies can win the trust, confidence, and loyalty of customers that can be moved on a long way into the future as it is the natural tendency of a human to go after the genuine brand that ensures promising gains in both present and the future.

Long-term gain

The foundation of a company or organization is dependent on its ability to face the present and to plan a bright future. With the use of proper marketing ethics businesses and brands can employ prospects including significant market share, better sales, increased brand value, better revenue, and loyalty to customers.

These practices put their right on the route towards the completion of both short-term and long-term goals with great efficiency.

Increased Leadership qualities

Increased Leadership qualities
Increased Leadership qualities

When a company follows the ethical practices set out by its leader, then the organization starts to benchmark its policies and strategies surrounding the company’s structure and functioning and as a result, numerous benefits are observed like higher sales, respect for others, mutual benefits, increased share in markets, etc.

Increased credibility

When an organization looks forward and fulfills its promises related to its product and services on a continuous and consistent basis, it slowly begins to move on a path carving itself into a genuine and authentic brand in the market and customer’s eyes.

Things didn’t stop for these two but a better process can even construct good respect in front of investors, competitors, peers, stakeholders, etc.

Reaching financial goals

If you want to function smoothly for a more extended period, then your company must work to look for good financial partners who can be helpful and make significant strides in the market. Once the brand begins the set of rules and ethical guidelines it will make paths easy for them on which they can walk for more ground necessary to such people.

Ethics in Digital Marketing

The question of how ethics affects marketing and consumers’ behavior is asked frequently and why it should matter to online brands. With the emergence of digital marketing including especially search engine optimization brands have felt that pressure is increasing on them which they have blurred the lines between ethical and unethical marketing strategies.

On the other hand, social media has provided consumers a much bigger place to stand on which they can stand and voice their differences as they find wanting.

Another question is that “What’s driving your business?’’ and we found that the answer to this question is straightforward. Every business is driven by the need to make a profit. Moreover, the answer to the next question is not straightforward and the question is “What is the ethical framework for driving profit from the market?’

The tightness between morality and making a profit is as sold as it can be compared to the proverbial snake oil salesman. Within the traditional forms of advertising, you can easily make the distinction between ethical and unethical marketing.

For instance, the promotion that you get if it lies or hides the information or deceives the unsophisticated buyer the one who advertised it can be called to account which means ethical marketing includes everything which avoids resulting in unsatisfying or negative customer experience.

A recent thought most of the readers can relate would be of Samsung and their exploding Galaxy Note 7. Though they don’t wish to deceive anyone the results were the same which may result in the development of distrust by a customer.

But Samsung can still market its day out if they hold ethics in all recall processes but to follow the same process will become for a small business that is entirely dependent upon online marketing. If a brand will attempt to work outside the guidelines set by those with whom they want to work, they will risk their marketing dollar straight down the drain.

Ethics in Direct Marketing

Ethics in digital marketing, Ethics in direct marketing, Ethics in healthcare marketing, Ethics in b2b marketing, Conclusion
Ethics in digital marketing, Ethics in direct marketing, Ethics in healthcare marketing, Ethics in b2b marketing, Conclusion

Direct Marketing involves direct communication with the public for the advertisement of their product and services through sending emails, marketing emails, or by phone calls.

While this is an excellent way to sell any product or service, the associated ethical and legal issues should not be put aside. Different ethical issues deal with customers among them two are the right to the informed, and the right to privacy.

The Right to be Informed

The first ethical thing that should be considered by the companies and organizations while they are dealing in direct marketing is the right to be informed. It is the consumer’s right to get all the information of alternatives as well as the right to get the exact information without any fraud and misleading notice or statement.

For instance, if you send an advertisement through the mail that all the food products that you sell are organic then this information must be true.

The company will land in trouble with the customers if it is not providing correct information on which the further actions of customers are based. Also, you must provide your customers with alternatives for stepping into the variety and making a decision. These ethical issues must be taken into account by the company when they are advertising through mail or telemarketing.

The Right to Privacy

The next right that the company should be aware of is the customer’s right to privacy which is a vast concept but in this case, it means the consumer’s right to be left alone in the market.

Consumer information is required when the company wants to send marketing material through calls or emails. Sometimes it happens that companies buy the information of customers from a third party which means that they are targeting those customers who are not interested in their products and services.

For instance, you receive marketing material in the mail from a company from which you have never purchased anything and you wonder how the company has received your information. This action is not appreciated by many consumers and they consider it unsolicited and unethical. Sometimes legal issues related to customers’ privacy also arose.

Ethics in Healthcare Marketing

Ethics in Healthcare Marketing
Ethics in Healthcare Marketing

Ethics in healthcare marketing has been a topic of hot debate for many years. Should hospitals, health care organizations, and practices spend a large amount on advertising to attract patients? Shouldn’t they rely on patients naturally floating towards the quality of healthcare organizations?

In today’s rapidly changing world healthcare has made marketing a requirement and not a choice. Now patients no longer choose the closest hospital or practice as a matter of course.

Those days are gone when referring to physician guaranteed appointments as now it is the time of marketing ethics in healthcare. But the main struggle is to convince the patient to come to your hospital. It sounds unethical to use marketing methods to lure them in.

For better understanding, you first need to know where the idea that marketing healthcare is unethical came from? For the answer, we all need to go back to 1847 when the American Medical Association unveiled its first code of marketing. It was the time when AMA was trying to disassociate true physicians from uneducated and fraudulent quacks and when snake oil salesmen were lauding their miracle cures.

When the business of healthcare shifted in the 1970s it presented major hindrances for medical ethics in healthcare. Patients stopped taking physician references and began to choose healthcare-based references. It is ethical for all physicians to look at their practices that the communication with their patients and clients must be trustful and not misleading, discriminatory, and deceptive. 

Advertisements related to medical practices and services must be communicated and should include all detailed information because of its size or cost or media limitations that have been selected. If the advertising form is not clear and accurate then an alternative media format should be provided in options.

Ethics in B2B Marketing

Business-to-Business Marketing sells to other institutions or businesses which then take business as a part of their business operations or use the products at the final stage when they are ready to sell to the consumers.

You may face challenges while monitoring marketing ethics in B2B marketing as these sales tend to be more personal and it is based on relationships.

B2B sales are more expensive and more complex so the whole marketing is often customized to suit the individual buyer. Moreover, the sales are not fixed often and are solved by talks between the seller and buyer.

To maintain trust, integrity, and commitment in B2B marketing ethical business practice should be applied at all times and at every point between businesses. To develop ethics, B2B organizations should consider every supplier and shareholder in the dealings.

Every party must be involved while making any decision as it may affect the relationship or the profit of either party. Every employee must be honest when it comes to dealings in business and any promise made should be kept.

For an agreement to work it is necessary to communicate all aspects of dealings in advance and then the work agreement can be put into its place with the consent of all partners. Transparency should be maintained with the clients to increase the credibility of the business.

Conclusion: Ethics in Marketing

Ethics may form one element of the firm or the whole firm’s marketing strategy may be based on ethics so they must be kept in mind when deciding to run a business.

Read also: Advertising Ethics

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