marketing ethics

Marketing Ethics: Meaning, Importance, and Examples

Following marketing, ethics has become crucial in today’s time as they act as long-term branding, word-of-mouth, and trust-building techniques. These techniques let them optimize a product or service’s presence, leads, sales, and conversions.

Marketing ethics revolves around ethical marketing principles and standards that show acceptable marketing conduct. Ethical marketing is a vital part of the marketing definition, thus making it really crucial to understand.

So, without any further ado, let’s have a look at the marketing ethics definition, importance, role, and examples.

What is Marketing Ethics?

What is Marketing Ethics?

Marketing ethics serve as moral principles and values that should be followed during marketing communication. They are the guidelines that let companies decide about their new marketing strategies. But also keep in mind that it depends on one’s judgment of ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Any unethical behaviour is not necessarily unlawful. For example, if a company makes any claims about its products and cannot live up to those claims, it may be called unethical behaviour.

Marketing ethics fosters fairness and honesty in all advertisements. Any fraudulent claims to the customers, intruding on consumers’ privacy, stereotyping, and targeting the vulnerable audience (like children and elderly) are deemed unethical. Even trying to damage the competitor’s image is considered immoral.

Role of Ethics in Marketing

Ethical marketing refers to a marketer’s obligation to ensure all marketing activities stick to core ethics principles, involving integrity, humility, and honesty — both internally and externally.

Our economic system has become adequate at providing wants and needs for the public with time.

This has turned the market’s primary focus toward ethical values while serving customers’ needs. This is mainly due to two reasons: When there is ethical behaviour from the organization’s side, there is a more powerful positive public attitude to different services and goods. However, to make their efforts valid to the general public, they must stick to specific marketing standards.

In addition, ethical bodies and organizations manage to pressurize and hold organizations and companies responsible for their actions. As a result, there is a lot of inquiry and sets of guidelines, which have to be strictly followed.

Ethics in marketing plays a crucial role in ethical decision-making for a product or service’s optimized presence in its target niche. An ethical marketing technique is liable for paying heed to different factors such as-

  • Organizational aspects such as culture, norms, values, and opportunity
  • Individual factors such as righteous philosophies and values
  • Stakeholder interests and concerns
  • The intensity of ethical issues in marketing and organization setup
  • Ethical decision making
  • Evaluation of ethical outcomes

For instance, your marketing team hires a design agency for a new marketing campaign. However, halfway through the campaign, your team finds the agency doesn’t treat its workers lawfully and doesn’t align well with your values in terms of environmental and social responsibility.

It’s in your best interest to stop working with the agency as soon as possible and re-align yourself with agents that uphold the same standards you’ve established for your team internally.

Equally important, of course, is the public-facing element of ethical marketing.

Additionally, ethical marketing also implies treating workers reasonably, employing sustainable materials, and doing your part to help environmental or social causes that feel vital to your brand.

What Makes Marketing Ethics Important?

According to reports by Forbes, Over 90% of millennial customers like buying products from ethical companies. Also, over 80% of those users believe that ethical brands beat other market players that follow ethical marketing.

Ethical marketing is important to an organization’s overall growth and development over time.

The involved set of guidelines and rules leads to a purely good, organized roadmap for everyone to follow. These sometimes overlap with media ethics since they are closely connected with definition and functioning.

Here are the reasons why ethical marketing is an integral part of the life of an organization.

1. Customer Loyalty

Customer Loyalty

It is one of the most critical factors for ethical marketing. With the proper adoption of ethics in business and operation, the company can earn its consumers’ loyalty, trust, and confidence that can serve in the long run.

The natural human inclination to go after the genuine brand will surely give them promising gains, both in the present and future.

2. Long-term gains

Long-term gains

The company or organization’s foundation is based not only on its ability to survive the present but also on planning a bright future. By adopting appropriate marketing ethics, brands can engage prospects with high credibility, customer loyalty, significant market share, improved brand value, better sales, and better revenue. These ethical practices will place their right towards achieving both short-term and long-term goals with perfection.

3. Improved credibility

Improved credibility

When the organization looks forward to keeping its commitments surrounding its services and products on a constant and consistent basis, it slowly and steadily goes towards the path of cutting itself into an authentic and genuine brand in the market and customers’ minds.

It is not just limited to these two, and a good process can even make good respect in front of investors, counterparts, competitors, stakeholders, etc.

4. Advanced Leadership qualities

Advanced Leadership qualities

When a company pursues ethical practices for an extended period, it gradually presents itself as a leader who can benchmark its policies and strategies that surround its structure and functioning.

This eventually leads to numerous benefits like enhanced share in the market, higher sales, inspiration for others, respect, mutual benefits, etc.

5. Display of a rich culture

This structure offers a positive outlook when seen from the outside, but it also leads to a good structure and environment within the hierarchy internally. It gives rise to higher production owing to a confident and highly motivated staff.

6. The attraction of the right talent at the right place

Once the company can build brand value in the market, it becomes a beacon for prominent individuals for the association.

Various people like prospective employees, consultants, vendors, etc., look forward to associating and working with the ethical brands that encourage them exponentially. This further let them achieve their goals in a short period successfully.

7. The satisfaction of basic human wants and needs

Once an organization is on route to the appropriate marketing ethics, it solves its customers’ basic requirements and desires in the form of integrity, trust, and honesty. When this is displayed for a long time, various other benefits follow.

8. Reaching financial goals

Reaching financial goals

To function smoothly for long periods, the company has to have good financial partners that allow them to grow and make significant strides in the market. Moreover, it helps them earn the moral ground necessary to entice such people.

9. Enhancement of brand value in the market

Once a proper code concerning ethical marketing is followed by the organization, the public in the form of consumers, competitors, stakeholders, etc., look up to such organizations. They pursue such brands with religious dedication, providing a sufficient boost to mark the market.

Examples Of Marketing Ethics Are

Over the years, businesses have adopted various marketing practices that ethically and morally appeal to the public. These are a few examples of the same:

a) People Tree’s ‘Our Blue Planet’ Collection

People Tree’s ‘Our Blue Planet’ collection is one of the best examples of ethical marketing campaigns in which two companies banded for an ethical cause. People Tree teamed with BBC Earth to emphasize the significance of our oceans and marine conservation.

b) Dr. Bronner’s Activist Soap

Dr. Bronner’s marketing strategy is activist marketing, as they are concerned with ethical marketing campaigns associated with income equality, regenerative organic agriculture, drug policy reform, and animal advocacy.

c) Lucy & Yak’s Transparent Supply Chain

As a bespoke fashion company, Lucy & Yak’s Transparent Supply Chain is fully dedicated to combating the ethical issues caused by rapid fashion. They allowed users to see their entire production process, causing them to be fully transparent with their product or service.


After reading this blog, we can define marketing ethics as an area of applied ethics associated with moral principles behind the operation and regulation of marketing that ethical companies employ to differentiate between right and wrong marketing judgments and their implementations.


Shivani is a content writer at InviteReferrals. She writes SEO articles, blogs, and guest posts for businesses to improve website ranking on SERP. She follows a balanced approach for the quality of content and its marketing. She loves to do creativity, although she had an English major in her graduation.