immoral acts – In today’s age of increasing consumer awareness, business owners need to understand an important fact: Buyers prefer to invest in ethical brands.
In fact, many groups of buyers tend to spend more money on products and services that have sustainable resources, real advertising, reasonable prices, and real value to the consumer. Conversely, unethical policies can severely damage a brand’s reputation, force consumers to stay away from its offers, and cause long-term financial damage.
6 Immoral acts in marketing
For this reason, you need to consider the impact of marketing strategies ethically, especially given the growing sense of social awareness among young audiences. To explain what these potential issues are, we have comprehensively examined the importance of ethics and what you should avoid in your campaigns, and how you can adopt ethics. Here are six unethical actions you should avoid in marketing:
1- False advertisements
You need to be careful not to misrepresent the benefits of a product or service in your marketing or advertising communications to avoid false advertising charges. It is considered misleading if the advertisement misrepresents the value, uses, or results of a product and uses incorrect information in its content to attract the attention of buyers.
Although false advertising may succeed in attracting customers to the early stages of the sales funnel, it is ultimately very detrimental to gaining consumer trust and in the long run, when buyers inevitably feel frustrated and deceived, affects the negative image of the brand.
In addition, fake advertising can also be very costly for companies because they have to be legally accountable for this immoral act. Energy drink giant Red Bull provides a striking example of this. In 2014, the brand was sued for $ 13 million for claiming that its drink would increase consumers’ concentration, reaction speed, and energy (claims that are not supported by convincing research and evidence).
2- Selective marketing
Customer segmentation can be unethical if it leads to selective marketing. The term describes the exclusion of certain types of consumers, which is largely determined by their sexual orientation, ethnicity, weight, or physical activity.
This selective marketing discourages so-called “undesirable” consumers for the brand image by creating a feeling of being unwanted and undesirable, whether by not addressing a specific group of consumers in the marketing campaign, by targeting, or by deliberately restricting access to products.
Increasing access and inclusiveness, such as adding oversized clothing to product lines or diversifying products for physically disabled consumers, can significantly increase sales and ensure that the market stays relevant in the future.
3- Collecting immoral data is immoral acts
Market research is invaluable for businesses at all stages of their operations. Using accurate consumer data in the combination and implementation of market strategies can greatly increase the effectiveness and return on investment of advertising activities. However, data collection must be done ethically.
Before starting market research activities, you should carefully consider government information and privacy policies and ensure that these regulations are fully complied with. In Europe, businesses must refer to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while US-registered companies can apply their own privacy laws.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal of 2018 is a perfect example of the destructive effects of violating the consumer’s right to privacy by collecting information without their consent. Due to unethical collection processes, the company lost its overall credibility, came under legal scrutiny, and eventually closed down.
Companies do not need to resort to unethical tools to gain valuable and accurate market insights, so there is no excuse for doing so. A wide range of acceptable and alternative methods are available, including customer surveys, professional focus groups, interviewing the buyer, and observing buyer behavior.
Business owners need to keep in mind that adopting stereotypes in marketing and advertising campaigns is not only controversial but in many cases goes too far.
This stereotype often targets very broad consumer groups based on their gender, age, or ethnicity, assuming that their behaviors, preferences, tools, and needs are unique because of their common characteristics. For example, brands may portray traditional gender maps in advertising materials and portray women more often in advertising products for cleaning products and household goods, while men may be portrayed in advertising scenarios related to business or repairs. they give.
As buyers increasingly respond to relevant communications, appreciating a comprehensive marketing visualization reflects your brand’s acceptance of unique differences. Conversely, stereotypes in advertising campaigns can upset, repel, or anger potential consumers.
5- Negative advertisements are immoral acts
Although any business competes for consumer preference and loyalty over competing brands, it is immoral to advertise in a way that highlights the negative aspects of a claimant’s offer. These negative advertisements, often referred to as “smear tactics,” seek to discredit a competitor’s image in order to increase their reputation among consumers.
You can avoid this by setting clear standards for all activities and promotional messages and informing the company’s marketers.
6- Pricing strategies
There are many unethical policies that may also affect your company’s pricing strategies, each of which deprives the consumer in some way of making more profit from the brand.
These include price increases. This includes a method that raises your prices irrationally in a period of high demand because you know that many buyers have no choice but to buy at a higher cost. The increase in demand may be due to national emergencies; Such as the purchase of household goods seen in the early stages of the Covid 19 epidemic in 2020, or natural disasters such as increased sales of building services and repairs following floods, earthquakes, or hurricanes.
Instead of greedily taking advantage of the plight of disadvantaged consumers, you can often temporarily commit to supporting charities that want to do good in affected communities with a portion of the proceeds. Such actions, when necessary, create a positive understanding of the brand and consumer appreciation that will be sustainable in the years to come.
Predatory pricing of immoral acts
Predatory pricing is another unethical policy in which businesses promote their products at very low prices in order to unfairly beat competitors. These unusually low prices encourage consumers to choose a particular brand, which leads to a temporary increase in sales for the business, although this may not always lead to an increase in revenue.
This can also have a significant effect on medium-term demand for advertised products due to price fluctuations, and can also prevent new competitors from entering the market.
Bait ads and switches
Bait and Switch advertising is a dubious pricing strategy in which consumers are misled by initial low-cost advertising to get attention and then reveal that the product is not available to buy more expensive items instead and meet their needs. Be.
Instead of falsely attracting buyers this way, you can transparently share your fixed prices and focus on offering a specific value proposition to honestly justify those costs.
How can we follow ethics in marketing?
Here are some guidelines you can follow to stay ethical in your marketing:
Be responsible to avoid immoral acts
First of all, the organization must be able to take responsibility for its actions. The organization must ensure that any marketing decision or action meets the needs of customers. In addition, these marketing decisions and actions must respond to the wider needs of society. This responsibility also includes employees and other organizations such as suppliers or sales agents that the company deals with. The organization should not encourage unethical behavior by any of these stakeholders.
Recognize the rights of customers
Every organization has specific responsibilities to its customers:
- Customers should be able to expect the products and services they intend to use to be appropriate.
- Communication about products or services should not be misleading.
- The organization must intend to work in good faith.
- The organization should have an appropriate policy for dealing with potential customer complaints.
- The organization must pay attention to the rights and interests of vulnerable groups and must not abuse them.
- Be environmentally friendly
Environmental issues have become very important and have become a major concern in recent times. Several organizations have made changes to their methods to this end. Some have even adopted certain ways of appreciating the environment.
However, when organizations try to improve their understanding of their products or services bypassing these practices on to customers and other stakeholders, they are skeptical of the organization’s motivations and claims. The organization must be able to promote such motives and claims to be accurate and provable.
In terms of distribution, the organization must ensure that products are available to customers without any discrimination (for example, geographically). If the business is heavily dependent on retail, another set of ethical issues may arise. With the increasing focus of the retail business, retailers have gained considerable power to influence customers as well as suppliers. The retailer may engage in unethical actions such as stockpiling products only for some of the companies that make him more profitable. All these issues must be carefully resolved and the power of influence must be carefully divided.
The importance of corporate social responsibility
Typically, customers are primarily influenced by product/service features, price, and availability when choosing a product or service. However, as concerns about sustainable practices, environmental friendliness, and social responsibility increase, there is another dimension that influences customer decisions.
This is the dimension of the policies that a company adopts for its products and services. Customers have become increasingly sensitive to the production processes and the degree of social responsibility that organizations have over their employees, the money they invest, or the other activities they perform. Customers prefer the products/services of a company that has a relatively more social responsibility. Thus, it is an advantage for the organization to be morally correct. In order to measure the level of social responsibility of the organization, the following factors should be considered:
- Are the products safe and made with materials, sustainable processes, and responsible?
- Are the advertising methods honest, clear, and socially acceptable?
- Does this product provide value for money to customers in addition to providing profit to the organization?
- Does the organization engage in unethical sales practices?
- Does the organization ensure fair access to its products and services through distribution channels?
- Is solving customer problems easy for them and does the organization meet the needs of customers?
Conclusion of immoral acts:
Using ethical standards in marketing, both in the short and long term, can only benefit your brand. In fact, today’s buyers prefer to deal with companies that proudly display ethics and transparency in all areas of the business, from customer data management to pricing strategies, campaign messages, and more.
With increasing consumer access to the innermost details of business policies and operating philosophies, any dubious marketing approaches will surely be exposed sooner or later. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not invest your time and money in anything that could lead to failure and create a negative image of your brand.