Why ethics matters more for marketers in 2023

Feb 17, 2023 by
Why ethics matters more for marketers in 2023

We live in a more accepting and open society than we did even a decade ago, but that progress comes with a cost for those who might want to cut certain ethical corners.

In today’s market, consumers have never been more vocal about the brands they support and why they choose to support them and while the trend for ethical decision-making might skew a little younger, even those over 65 are generally more likely to trust a brand with a strong ethical stance.

But aside from all the buzzwords, what does ethical marketing mean in real terms and why does it mean more now than in previous years?

What does ethical marketing mean?

Ethics is a complicated and sensitive subject that can mean a million different things to a million different people. In the context of marketing, however, it’s about consumer perception. Because, while all businesses should be engaging in ethical marketing practices for obvious reasons, the world is a more transparent place than it once was, and dirty laundry gets aired in public whether you want it to or not. That means being open and above board with all marketing practices.

Collecting data

One of the most powerful tools in the digital marketer’s toolbox is data analysis but collecting data, whether it be in the form of cookies or personal information, might not be ethical if express consent was not given. The important thing here is for marketers and content creators to be authentic. If there’s a gap between what they say there’s going to do and what they end up doing, consumers will notice. And just because something is legal that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s ok!


Many brands have also been finding themselves in hot water recently when discussing their environmental clout. It’s become almost fashionable in today’s landscape to discuss the ways and means by which your brand is fighting the good fight. But overstating your green credentials is ostensibly unethical. The same could also be said of brands attaching themselves to causes (like the Black Lives Matter movement, for example).

Influencer marketing

The use of social media influencers in digital marketing has become commonplace, particularly given the rise in the popularity of TikTok. But there is a definite ethical quandary when it comes to paying people to essentially “pretend” they are fans of a service or product to sell your wares. The reason influencers have become so popular is that they are seen as genuine. But if they are being paid to market something, how genuine can they be really? Finding this line means focusing only on influencers that are relevant to your market.

Hustle culture

The concept of “hustle” is, in many ways, a damaging one. It typifies an atmosphere in which everything is always on and always working and it’s something that people began picking apart quite a bit over the pandemic when we were given a chance to breathe, in a sense. While hustle can be a good thing it’s also going to stand in the way of your work/life balance and cultivate an atmosphere that could be perceived as toxic.