Nov 19, 2018

No more marketing manipulation with these easy ethical practices.

To tame that monster we created.

In my last post, I talked about six cool things that happen when you practice ethical marketing. 

If you haven’t noticed, I’m an advocate for implementing ethical practices because marketing manipulation causes too much damage to people, animals and our environment.

Since we can now easily get into the heads of our consumers via technology, we’ve created a monster.

While it’s fascinating – and important – to know how your customers think and what they want, it’s horrifying to know how much damage this has caused our society and our environment.

According to the United Nations, “the fashion industry contributes 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions due to its long supply chains and energy intensive production.” Yikes!

And yet, we produce, produce, produce and buy, buy and buy some more.


Because persuasive marketers convince us that we need more stuff.

The way you market matters.

Most of us have fallen into the trap of buying stuff we don’t even want just because we felt seduced in that particular moment.

We don’t need new gadgets every two years or a new car every 3 years though. No one NEEDS a new pair of jeans every month, nor will anyone die if they don’t get the new version of some video game.

To curb destructive production and consumerism, I’ve made it my mission to talk about marketing manipulation and encourage strategic ethical marketing because the way you market matters.

The fact that you produce high quality products in an ethical way helps tremendously, but your main goal should not be to sell as much stuff as possible and continue nurturing this greedy monster, but rather to spread this message to the mass market so that they become conscious shoppers and buy your quality products instead of cheap garbage.

Your goal is to change the way people shop by helping them make more conscious decisions.

These seven practices will help you do just that.

I’ll write about each one of them in detail over the next few months, so if you want to read more, sign up for updates.

Marketing manipulation be gone!
Seven things to implement in your ethical marketing strategy:

#1: Use rounded numbers instead of charm prices.
#2: Be honest and transparent.
#3: Encourage abundance and patience.
#4: Build trusting collaborations.
#5: Implement brilliant customer service.
#6: Be social.
#7: Close the sale ethically.

 #1: Use rounded numbers.

Have you ever wondered why most items are oddly priced at $2.99, $347 or $997?

This kind of price manipulation was created over a century ago to generate more sales because when we see a smaller number on the left, it makes us feel like we’re getting a bargain.

But when telling a friend the cost of something, you usually just say $200 instead of $197.

This tells us that we consciously know how much we’re actually paying, but still use this pricing structure because of habit. It’s just a number and everyone else is doing it, so why bother even thinking about it.

Well, what also happens in our brains is that when we see a price tag with .99 at the end, we automatically put that product in the ‘cheap, low-quality’ category. We think it’s on sale.

Which is definitely not what your products are all about!

So, what if you only used rounded off numbers across the board?

You’d be telling your customers you don’t want to use marketing manipulation and that your products are of high quality so they deserve a more fitting price tag.

It also makes math a lot easier!

#2: Be honest and transparent.

If you want to build up a sustainable business, you have to earn the full trust of your customers.

This is nothing new, but it’s even more important inside this ethical space because if you talk to people who are passionate about all life and our planet, you’re talking to empaths who most likely have trust issues with businesses that use harmful production processes.

Which is why we read labels, do our research, compare quality and harm over price, read About pages and want to know how your products were made – in detail. We even want to know who your partners are and what charities you support. Yes, we’re that nosy!

And as more and more consumers become conscious about shopping, the more people you’ll be able to please with your ethical offer.

Although this may seem like more work on your part, you now have this incredible opportunity to gain the trust of your customers and keep it forever.

It’s a long-term relationship.

#3: Encourage abundance and patience.

When you practice abundance and patience, you won’t feel the need to use scarcity and urgency marketing manipulation tactics to get customers to buy from you. They just will without that kind of sleaze.

Pop ups, emails, CTAs and any other messages that read: “Last day of Summer Sale!”, “Only 2 Spots Left – Enroll Now!” or “Order now to receive tomorrow!” are such messages to give your customers the feeling that they’ll be missing out or fail miserably if they don’t buy from you or hire you right now.

Urgency tactics motivate us to act fast and scarcity tactics cause us to become anxious if we don’t act immediately.

Both cause negative emotions so why is it that there are many blog posts about how to use scarcity and urgency tactics in your marketing to enforce these negative feelings of not enoughness or downright failure?

Because they work on both the mass and conscious consumer. Unfortunately.

But not on everyone and since you want to create a more abundant and kinder world, you can make the conscious choice not to degrade your customers because it doesn’t feel right to you.

You’re a rare breed because you care about people and our planet more than profit. And your customers love you for it.

So, instead of stirring up all these negative emotions, arouse the feeling of abundance and patience in your customers. This will also help in the trust and loyalty department as well.

Just say no to scarcity and urgency tactics.

#4: Build trusting collaborations.

You want to save animals and our environment, but it’s almost impossible to make a great positive impact alone. This is where building trusting collaborations will help.

Although a rare breed, there are plenty of people who think just like you. Who have the same mission and would like to pool resources together to make more of an impact. Hey, I’m one of them!

In this section, I’ll talk about different ways you can form collaborations to help you reach your goals and realize your vision.

I’ll talk about my own collaborations and even why I hired my competition.

Collaboration is the new competition.

 What else to implement in your ethical marketing strategy: The 4 Cs = Communication, Connection, Collaboration and Creativity.

#5: Implement brilliant customer service.

I used to work for a medium-sized company whose managing director was obsessed with the competition. Mind you, the competition was SO much larger than the company I worked for, so for me, I didn’t feel threatened at all. In fact, I enjoyed talking with “the enemy”, I mean their marketing director at conferences.

The mere act of wanting to “beat the competition” causes anxiety. Another negative emotion, so why is it so important to many business owners?

Look at Apple vs. Microsoft. It appeared that MS was constantly looking to see what Apple was doing and Apple copped the attitude of, “Do what you guys want, we don’t care, we’re having a great time playing in our own sandbox!”

With that attitude, Apple built up the largest long-term raving fan group to date. Not because they “beat the competition” but because they paid attention to their own customers, not someone else’s.

There are also so many things you can learn from your competition.

Pay attention to your own customers, not someone else’s.

#6: Be social.

Let’s put the social back in social media. And I don’t mean this as Mr. Zuckerberg meant it with Facebook’s algorithm change in 2018.

I mean kindness and respectful communication.

In a world where many people post or comment without thinking first. Or troll. Or spam. Or even follow.

Because people don’t necessarily know the person they’re communicating with on social media, it’s considered to be a bit like driving a car as it’s easier to bad mouth a stranger than it is a friend.

However, I see way more rage practiced online than on the road. And what that does is make our society more aggressive, anxious and inefficient which is why many modern countries are split in half right now.

I’m really looking forward to writing about this topic in full detail. Like the other tips, I’m going to use examples of the good, bad and ugly, so if you want to stay informed, sign up for updates. No pressure though, just a kind reminder!

When you practice abundance and patience, you won’t feel the need to use scarcity and urgency marketing tactics to get customers to buy from you.

#7: Close the sale ethically.

How do you feel about selling? It’s icky, right? Do you now have this image of a dodgy car sales rep in your head?

What we know is that customers only buy when the perceived value far exceeds the price. This applies to both product and service-based businesses.

So, if you own a product-based business and only have an online shop, you’re faced with the challenges of having to find the right customers and justifying a high production cost.

If you’re service-based, you have to prove your expertise is going to get your clients the results they want when there are little to no guarantees.

These are tough challenges for non-salespeople.

But, it’s actually simple. All you have to do is to help potential customers make the right decision.

That could even mean NOT to hire or purchase from you.

You want this because if the wrong people buy from you and aren’t happy, they’ll never trust you again and may even write a bad review which will damage your reputation.

Being honest (#2) also helps you gain trust which is vital for your brand.

To help them make the right decision, you’ll need information. To do that, you’ll have to communicate with your customers (#5).

You can do this via surveys, contests, buyer insight interviews, polls, etc.

Once you have enough information, design and present your offer to appeal to your ideal customers and if they trust your brand, they will buy from you.

First communicate, create an incredible offer and then present it.

Want to learn how to create an ethical marketing strategy?

If you have any more ideas to avoid marketing manipulation, please share them so that others can learn and we can start to see changes in the marketing industry sooner.

Rock on,

Photo credit: tskirde on Pixabay.

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