Prioritizing Strong Marketing Ethics

Self Made: NASE's Blog

Blog With Us

Welcome to the Self Made. This is a blog focused primarily on the self-employed and micro-business and full of fantastic posts by not only our team of experts but by YOU!  We realize that there are many ways to help the small businesses out there which is why we invite other business minded individuals to post here and help the rest of the community as well.

Prioritizing Strong Marketing Ethics

Oct 12, 2022
Business Tree

Starting a new business is exciting… and terrifying. You’ve poured your heart and soul into making your dream come true and you’re willing to do just about anything to nudge the budding business in the right direction. The late nights, the talks with investors, the marketing strategy meetings, and the emphasis on building just the right brand will all be worth it in the end.

Naturally, your main goal is connecting with new customers, reaching a large audience, and getting people engaged with your brand. There are a lot of ways to attain these goals and a lot of great marketing strategies out there. As you’ll quickly learn, some of them are better for slower, longer-term gains than others.

One of the easiest ways to trip your new business up is by abandoning your ethics in order to get ahead. There are a lot of tempting benefits to doing just that, but over time it can really have a negative impact on your business. Customers are looking for honest, passionate business owners that are willing to put them first. Sticking to your ethics and the real reasons you started your business are the ultimate keys to success.

Here are some of the most dangerous pitfalls you may find yourself considering.

Customer Data Collection

There is no mistaking that data collection and targeted marketing strategies are a movement of the future. Nearly every major company is interested in getting their hands on more information about their customer base. Such information can be powerful for increasing sales and expanding toward a larger audience.

Although your company will likely benefit from some level of customer data collection and targeted marketing towards your best customers, there are limits on the data that should be collected. A lot of people — upwards of 40% — are worried about online privacy and do not trust companies to use their data in an ethical manner.

Fortunately, there are ethical means of collecting some of this highly valuable data. The big thing is transparency. Don’t collect information about customers without telling them that you’re collecting it and what you’ll ultimately be using it for. Additionally, keep the data you do collect secure, and don’t sell it to third parties without complete disclosure. Building trust and remaining honest are critical to successfully using this tool in the long run.

Spreading Disinformation

Another pitfall that can be tantalizing is the spreading of disinformation. Many companies are tempted to overstate facts or skew information in order to sell more products. Not only is this dishonest and runs a significant risk of backfiring, but it also has the potential to greatly impact customers’ lives in unexpected ways.

Social media is the marketing lifeblood of many companies. It is a powerful tool that can be utilized to reach new audiences, connect with customers, and build a well-known brand identity. However, it can also be a cesspool of disinformation and lies for many customers. Managing to avoid this while still taking advantage of all the good that social media has to offer is sure to test the ethics of any business leader.

Another form of disinformation spreading has to do with black hat SEO practices. Black hat SEO involves things like keyword stuffing, cloaking content, sneaking in indirect URLs, and paying for links in an attempt to get higher up in Google searches. This is just another dishonest and unethical means of marketing; there are a number of white hat SEO options that can provide a better long-term outcome for your growing business. 

Avoiding Diversity

When you’re just starting out, it can be easy to focus on one demographic as your customer base and strive to expand there. But by doing so, you may be missing out on the vast benefits of targeting a more diverse employee and customer base. Not surprisingly, this can also hurt your company profoundly over time.

For example, a diverse employee base working together has been shown to be more creative by thinking of things from different perspectives. This ultimately translates into greater productivity and more sales for the company. A diverse employee base means a more diverse marketing platform and eventually a more diverse customer base that is more resilient to market changes.

There are plenty of things that we inadvertently do that can be offensive to others. Taking the time to train employees on the impacts of discrimination and the benefits of a diverse workplace and customer base can be a valuable means of setting the stage. Training such as these can lay the foundation for a workforce that is diverse and capable of avoiding many of the negatives associated with a lack of diversity.


The ethics of your new business is something that you should seriously consider. As you are getting started there will be plenty of opportunities to get ahead in the short term by selling out your values, but over time doing so will erode the credibility of your business. Staying true to your ethics and company values will lead to the type of long-lasting success that all business owners really want.

Meet The Author:


Luke Smith

Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger.


Related Member Benefits

We thought these benefits may be of interest based on the content above.
Expert Advice: Marketing 101

The most dangerous question a business owner can have is the one they don’t know exists. Our job is to help identify and answer those questions promptly.

Expert Advice: Business Strategy

We call it Business 101, but our business strategists will personally answer your questions about how to succeed in business.

The opinions expressed in our published works are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Association for the Self-Employed or its members.

Courtesy of