Ethical marketing refers to the marketing of products and services that adhere to principles of honesty and social responsibility. Generally the projection of beneficial qualities of products and services are used in marketing to appeal to the needs of and wants of customers. (Pride and Ferrell, 2000) The needs of customers however may represent an adherence to certain ethical or social values that go beyond a mere biological need.
While ethical marketing does not loose sight of the core value of appealing to the needs of customers, it projects social goods and values like human rights, animal rights, fair trade for developing countries, child labor and the environment as central to its strategy to win customers. The Body Shop for instance is noted for its insistence on not using animals for testing its cosmetic products. (Dennis, Neck, & Goldsby,1998) Thus though legally the use of animals for cosmetic testing is not prohibited, Body Shop seeks to appeal to the conscience of customers and by so doing achieve a customer loyalty base for its products.
Another prominent example of the use of ethical marketing is the fair trade logo used to market products that have been sourced from developing countries. (Tiu, Wright, & Heaton, 2006) The issue of fair trade has become a pertinent ethical issue in international trade, thus marketing products with the fair trade logo serves to show the producer’s conscientiousness about helping poor producers in developing countries.
Consumers who are eager to help poor farmers in developing countries are even willing to pay a higher price for a product with the fair trade logo. Issues of protection of the environment also play very important roles in ethical marketing. Companies who contribute to forestation projects in places like the Amazon are eager to mention their contribution to such projects when marketing their products.