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What Is Responsible Marketing?


Social responsibility and ethics have earned their place on the marketing agenda. They’re fast becoming consumers' top consideration when looking into a new brand to shop with. As expectations rise, brands need to be open and honest with today’s savvy shoppers.

Responsible marketing is increasingly vital for modern brands looking to retain customers, increase lifetime value, and create unforgettable brand recognition. Your brand, products, and services have an impact on your users. It’s your job to ensure that it’s a positive one. 

What does responsible marketing mean? 

Customer-centric marketing has been a theme amongst marketing strategies for several years. Responsible marketing is an approach that ensures you’re not only meeting customers’ needs but also having a positive impact on them and the community you’re both a part of.  

It’s about building trust, and there are a number of ways brands can do this. 

Data stewardship 

The COVID pandemic has caused shoppers to flock online. It’s been an unprecedented opportunity for ecommerce brands, but it has not been without its challenges. One of the biggest and hardest to overcome is the growing importance of a brands’ handling of customers’ data and privacy.  

A customer-centric marketing approach requires you to use data to personalize the customers’ journey. Nothing breeds loyalty and increases lifetime value like a personalized experience, where a brand demonstrates its knowledge and understanding of the customer’s needs.  

But at the same time, changing regulations and compliance rules have made customers more aware of the way brands handle their data. You have to work harder to earn shoppers’ trust.  

Data breaches, unsolicited marketing, and lack of personalization are just some of the ways consumer trust can be irrevocably damaged. Businesses that operate responsibly, showing care and respect for customers’ data will win big in the long run.  

Being open, honest, and transparent when collecting customer data is essential. When acquiring new customers and collecting their data you need to ensure subscribers are fully informed and know what you plan to do with their data.  

Customers are willing to share their data with you if you’re using it to enhance their experience. They will trust you to use their data in ways that are beneficial for them. 

Ethical marketing  

As well as how you use and protect their data, customers are thinking more and more often about the impact businesses have on society.  

Brands who have responsible practices and demonstrate their commitment to improving social and economic crises be able to form strong connections with customers. Shoppers today are more attuned to brands’ business practices.  

Brands like TOMS and Patagonia are very vocal about the causes they support. Knowing that their favorite brands support causes, charities, and movements close to their hearts will create a more loyal customer base. They will often choose to shop with a company that often and openly supports charities, even if it means paying more for products or services.  

Sustainable marketing 

It’s not just charities that are important to the modern consumer. Sustainability is on the agenda for marketers and customers alike. In fact, it’s on the agenda of most governments and organizations around the world.  

Brands committed to protecting the environment will reap the benefits with their customers. But, as with data stewardship and supporting charities, it’s not as simple as checking a couple of boxes. To become a fully sustainable brand, you need to consider the impact of everything you do.  

That means, as well as thinking about the impact of products and packaging you should be considering how your marketing can be sustainable. Is your automation platform sustainable? Do you choose environmentally friendly travel options when organizing and attending events?  

Consumers can often overlook these considerations. Committing your business to meet these requirements, you’ll be proving that you’re doing more than simply checking a tick box.  

How to be a responsible marketer 

Responsible marketing is a commitment to improving your brand for the better. Grounded on the idea of putting customers at the center of everything you do, responsible marketing is emerging as a necessity for businesses that want to build stronger, more profitable relationships with customers.  

So, how do you become a responsible marketer? 

Responsible marketing is about building trust, so the first thing you need to do is rid your mind of any thoughts of just box-checking. The only way you can reap the rewards of responsible marketing is to be fully committed. 

Customers are aware of brands ‘greenwashing’ and not investing entirely in the principles they profess to stand for. Sustainability, social causes, and data breaches; thanks to the advent of social media customers are more connected and exposed to events around the world. Their trust is hard to earn. Saying you support Black Lives Matter or will protect their data is not enough, you have to prove it with your actions.  

Special thanks to our friends at dotdigital for their insights on this topic.
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