An ethical marketing survey sent to senior marketers, business leaders and publishers has revealed the worst examples of poor practice.
Respondents were asked to choose between seven campaign tricks that brands sometimes utilise including: greenwashing, newsjacking, collaborating with unethical influencers and non-transparent data use.
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Over the past year, marketing platform Semrush found there was a 287% increase in internet searches asking questions about ethical marketing.
Meanwhile in 2020, marketing database company Acxiom declared that 83% of consumers want to see a clear link between the data they share and the direct benefits this provides them.
CEO of Mindshare UK, Jem Lloyd-Williams, reveals how the media agency giant is dealing with this evolving issue of data usage.
“Respecting the privacy of the people you are marketing to is paramount. Whether on one of your owned platforms, or on a third parties’, great care should be taken to use someone’s presence, or the data they create or share, in an ethical way.
“We’ve developed a Data Ethics Compass at Mindshare that enables us to quickly qualify the use of data in media execution against a set of criteria. The Compass then uses its algorithm to score the tactic ethically. This gives clients surety that the tactics we’re using fit their ethical standards (and are legally compliant, of course).
Mel Dixon, editor at the Global Marketing Alliance, concludes by warning against companies pretending to be ethically-minded.
“Brands today seem to have a heightened focus on leveraging ethical values. Marketing executives and business leaders have read how millennials and Gen-Z are motivated by higher ideals than narrow interest when making buying decisions. The display of moral virtue has become the norm across the advertising world. Each brand is indistinguishable from the next. Shoe horns and crowbars are the weapons of choice as they seek to find a link between brand and fashionable cause of the day.
“Of course, brands can – and should – do good. And there are plenty of examples of brands getting it right. WHSmith’s recent campaign to increase reading rates in the UAE is a good example. The ethics espoused were sewn into the DNA of the brand – a part of its business model – not outsourced to a marketing department to convey based on a print-out of brand values. The latter amounts to exploitative marketing which is, in itself, unethical.”