Ethical Marketing Guidelines


 Ethical Marketing Guidelines

Learning Objectives Covered:

  • LO 01.03 – Understand the nature and roles of tools such as databases, decision support systems, and the Internet in business decision making.
  • LO 03.01 – Define and describe the importance of marketing ethics and the role of social responsibility and ethics in improving marketing performance.
  • LO 03.02 – Identify legal and ethical considerations in digital media and electronic marketing.
  • LO 03.03 – Discuss trademarks and copyrights in digital mediums, including royalty-free digital assets.

Career Relevancy

In your role in the marketing industry, you will need to be familiar with decision support systems and how databases contribute to decision-making. That being said, you need to make sure these efforts are conducted ethically. Additionally, you must keep social responsibility in mind as you design your various marketing campaigns to avoid alienating audiences or causing a public relations nightmare. Not only that, but operating from a point of social responsibility, you are also more likely to avoid legal or ethical snafus (such as trademark or copyright issues, among others), which builds confidence with your audience.


Databases and decision support systems (along with the Internet, in general) are great tools for making business decisions. This is true in any industry, from the medical field to the world of social media. Just remember that when it comes to collecting data, consumers must provide their consent and be told how that data will be used.

When marketers are trying to use these kinds of data, they need to make sure the data is current and hasn’t been skewed in any way. If the data was collected by the organization itself, it can be more reliable and valid as the organization creates its marketing campaigns.

Basically, data should be gathered and used ethically. The same ethical practices that apply to collect data apply to the rest of marketing efforts as well. Ethical marketing is closely linked with social responsibility, meaning that your campaigns avoid questionable content and include appropriate disclaimers. Media kits are also helpful when working with third-party affiliates. These kits help ensure your brand’s image is upheld. Authenticity is another ethical practice. Make sure you’re authentic with your audience—this will ensure your audience represents your brand well. Also, be authentic and transparent when an ad is “sponsored.” Have regular media audits to make sure your posts are up to the quality you’ve determined to set. Finally and this is really the root of the matter, provide upfront communication, which builds your brand’s overall image and integrity.

When it comes to legal considerations, privacy and data collection methods must be transparent for consumers. Furthermore, tell consumers how their collected data will be used and how it will be protected. Finally, understand the guidelines in terms of intellectual property such as trademarks and copyrights. For more information on trademarks and copyrights, view the following video (5:11):

Resources and References

Berklee Online. (2018, July 12). How copyright works: What is the difference between copyrights, trademarks, and patents? Retrieved from YouTube: (Links to an external site.)

Birkett, A. (2017, May 16). 5 questions to ask when approaching digital analytics data. CXL. Retrieved from

ProfileTree. (2017, February 7). Ethics and legalities of digital marketing. Profile Tree. Retrieved from


You’ve assembled a digital marketing team for your new magazine on the topic of your choice (health, travel, music, etc.), and it’s time to train your staff to ensure they are following ethical marketing guidelines. Create a 8-slide presentation including two citations and references that covers ethical and legal considerations for your digital marketing team.


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