Marketing ethically is when you take responsibly for your marketing and advertising message.Sharing a message via media, be it TV, radio, the web etc, is being in control of a lot of potential power. Doing so you have the option to hurt or help people and businesses. As marketers it is our job to help people find what they want and need, not to tell them what they want and need.
There are two major concepts to Ethical Marketing. Firstly, we must work with in a business’s or website’s TOS (terms of service). Taking advantage of loopholes or purposely bending the rules can hurt a business or company. You have been given control of a business or company’s reputation. I can assume that you do not want to be responsible for damage to a business’s reputation. Plus surviving negative publicity can be very expensive and it is much less expensive in the long run to not constantly be running damage control.
Breaking TOS can also leave you in a situation where your prior SEO efforts are no longer helping you… they are now hurting you. We saw many sites and businesses adversely affected in the organic search results by the Penguin and Panda updates.
The second concept is responsibility and accountability. As a marketer it is our responsibility to covey the truth. This does not mean that crafting a better message or finding the right demographic is out. It really just means that it is our responsibility to convey the truth. We should set standards and not slide below them for any reason. Lying or misrepresenting a product or a business can hurt a company’s reputation as well as heavily damage your own marketing business’s reputations. Always remember that you have a responsibility to the world in which you live and it is your job to help maintain the quality of that world.
I know many do not agree with my views of Ethical Marketing. I feel we would all be happier and healthier if we did. I am in no way perfect and do not expect anybody else to be perfect, but we can always try to be better people and better businessmen/women. Our spouses will thank us, our families will thank us, our clients will thank us, and the world will take notice of your effects and reward you with success.