7 Ways Marketers Can Stop Destroying Our Environment

Learn how to be an ethical marketer who helps customers make a more conscious decision.
7 Ways Marketers Can Stop Destroying Our Environment
Image credit: UnitoneVector | Getty Images
Guest Writer
Ethical Marketing Strategist
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There’s no denying it: Marketing is manipulative. If I had realized the damage it can do to people and our planet, I may not have gotten my marketing degree in 1991.

Or maybe that’s exactly why my path led me to marketing: To help stop destroying our environment. Let me explain.

The crisis.

As with many industries, marketing is also being criticized because it enables excessive consumerism which causes environmental damage and the extinction of species.

Sound extreme? Well, how many times have you bought something you didn‘t need only to try to make yourself feel better?

Or, how many times have you bought something you didn‘t want because you felt the fear of mission out (FOMO). Either that or it was a better deal unit-wise because you upsized?

Yeah, me too. We‘ve all done it as consumers and as marketers, it‘s justified because it’s supposed to increase sales.

We’ve created a monster and since the governments are not taking appropriate measures to make ecocide illegal and unfortunately probably never will, it‘s up to us -- the people -- to bring forth change.

Since I‘m a marketer and can make the most impact in my own industry, I‘ll start there.

Ethical marketing defined.

The role of an ethical marketer is to stop destroying our environment and the only way to do that is to help customers make a more conscious decision. Even if that means not getting the sale.

Since 92 percent of millennials are more likely to buy products from ethical companies, taking a more mindful approach to your marketing is also expected. That’s a good thing because you want happy and loyal customers, not one-time purchasers who end up dissatisfied because they were manipulated.

So, not only will you curb unnecessary consumerism when you implement ethics into your marketing, you’ll also create a tighter bond with your customers. Win-win.

Here are seven ethical practices for your marketing strategy:

 

1. Rounded prices.

If the number on the far left is lower or ends in a 9, e.g. $3.99, $549, we feel like we’re getting a bargain. These are called charm prices and are proven to work better for brands that play the cheap numbers game.

For high-quality ethically-made products or services, the last thing you want to do is cheapen your offer. Using charm prices is not the right strategy for you.

If you want to practice ethical marketing, take the Pricing Pledge from the ethical move. and just say no to pricing manipulation altogether.

2. Honesty and transparency.

Your customers want to know how your products are made, from start to finish. If you can’t provide full transparency about an environmentally-friendly and fair supply chain, then you should think about optimizing it because companies now have to prove their contribution toward a sustainable future.

They also want to know what cause you support. If you’re a social enterprise, this is engrained in your core values, but also remember to be specific in your message and don’t write: “We donate 5 percent to charities.” as that tells us nothing. Be specific and write what 5 percent means and who you support. Write about your cause in a way that inspires, not brags because it’s not you who donates, it’s your customers.

3. Abundance and patience.

Nothing good ever comes from taking desperate measures to pressure your customers into buying from you. And yet, most every marketer has used scarcity and urgency tactics such as “Only 3 Seats Left - Enroll NOW!”, “Selling fast” or countdown timers.

Urgency tactics move us to act fast and scarcity tactics cause us to become anxious if we don’t act right away. Nice, huh?

Just remember that your goal is to help your customers make a more conscious decision, not instill the fear of missing out (FOMO) into their brains.

If you show your customers how they will benefit from your product or service and that you aren’t desperate for their sale, you’re bound to gain their trust.

4. Trusting collaborations.

If you want to make a positive impact, take the lead and think of creative ways to collaborate with those who can help you move forward. Please stop worrying about what your competition is doing because the best path toward success is to concentrate on your own customers, not on someone else’s.

5. Brilliant customer service.

Designing a powerful customer service strategy will not only be more cost-effective since it’s less expensive to nurture your existing customers than to gain new ones, you’ll also allow your customers to help you market your brand via word of mouth.

According to Kissmetrics: 93 percent of millennials have made a purchase based on a recommendation from friends and family and 89 percent of millennials trust opinions of their friends and family more than what the brand itself says.

Think of ways to improve your customer service by finding out what your customers value either in a survey, interview, poll, etc. This may seem obvious, but still a missed mark because customer needs change drastically.

6. Authenticity in social media.

Since social media is also constantly changing, you don’t have as much control as with other marketing tools. What you do have control over is how you behave on social media.

The algorithms are concentrating more on engagement, not likes and follows and your new followers are usually ice-cold leads and don’t want to be sold to constantly, so create more conversations instead of promotional posts.

Also following accounts on Instagram to get their follow only to unfollow them is mean, no matter how popular you are. Be human, not a bully.

7. Ethical sale closing.

Consumers buy when the perceived value is higher than the price. That doesn’t mean to lower your prices. It means to show them how they will benefit so that they can make the right decision.

If you don’t believe there is a valued benefit for someone, then say so. Even online, you can write who your offer isn’t for and why it won’t benefit them.

Be honest because that’ll help you niche down so that you only have happy customers.

If you want to run a sustainable business and become an industry leader, make your marketing efforts match your customers wishes because they want to stop destroying our environment too. Also, use your internal manipulation radar and think of how you’d liked to be sold to. If it doesn’t feel right, it usually isn’t.

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