Marketing Insights Shopper Marketing

Ethical Marketing – 2022 Marketing Predictions

Director of EQ at SIEQ breaks down ethical marketing in 2022

How We Market Ethically, Preserve Consumer Privacy, and Still Get Results

The past couple years has seen consumer behavior change in ways no one could have predicted, such as the disappearance of third-party cookies and the emergence of ethical marketing. The key for marketers – I think – is to understand which behaviors are trends that will fade and which are here to stay, no matter the outcome of the pandemic. The primary question which interests me is this: will convenience and discounts supersede the desire for privacy and the desire to patronize ethical, responsible companies? Furthermore, how can we be ethical marketers while still getting results?

Depreciation of 3rd Party Cookies

With the depreciation of cookies, companies and marketers alike are hungry for first-party data. If your favorite brands haven’t jumped on the wagon yet, you’ll soon see them desperately vying for your information: popups galore with 15% discounts, exclusive rewards and an entry into a raffle – all for the low, low price of your email address and phone number. Will consumers trade their information for the shiny golden ticket or will they bypass and pay full price in order to hold tight to their privacy? Marketers and brands will ultimately need to determine through A/B testing or dynamic capabilities what the discount or prize needs to be to get us to fork it all over. 

Convenience: The King of eCommerce

In the microwave, Amazon-influenced times in which we currently reside, convenience reigns over personalization. Consumers (ok me, I’m talking about me) find themselves outraged at the idea of paying for shipping or waiting longer than 48 hours to receive an order (I have one question: how dare you?!). We’re taking it a step further with social commerce and text shopping: a complete shopping experience on Facebook, or a “reply to this message with the number ‘1’”. I have bought coffee this way, and I didn’t have to hunt down my credit card information or provide my shipping and billing, and great grandmother, and 2nd cousin’s address to confirm it’s me. What about making people use their cell phones to call you to make an appointment? What is this, the Jurassic era? This is 2022. I shouldn’t have to talk to a human to schedule an oil change. Businesses will suffer if they do not offer modern conveniences. 

Convenience is king in the modern world of business. Do we really care if businesses know our names if they are making us “work” to get their business? I prefer convenience every day of the week.

Privacy: A Growing Concern

There have been micro-shifts in consumer search behavior. But, when I say micro, I mean micro. No one can really go up against the almighty Google – for now. Yet, the little guys are starting to chip away at their market share. Bing, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo are showing up in web referral activities. Why is that? They promise more privacy. Companies like Patagonia are refusing to give Facebook one more cent after all the shade surrounding their ethics and practices which will, without a doubt, impact Patagonia sales. How many Patagonias will it take for Facebook to notice? 

Convenience vs. Privacy: A Necessary Conflict?

Convenience and privacy intersect in a nuanced way. Consumers have clearly grown used to a convenient online shopping experience. Yet, they also expect businesses to handle their data ethically and respect their privacy, as the micro-shifts have shown. Do these two values – convenience and privacy – have to live in conflict? Is it impossible to market ethically, preserve privacy, and provide convenience to consumers? Must ethical marketing defeat the alluring and seductive temptress that is convenience and ease?

We say no! Marketers can and should be proactive, addressing the micro-shifts that have already presented themselves. There are ways in which marketers can behave ethically and preserve consumer privacy whilst still providing the consumer with a convenient and personalized experience. MHP/Team SI is diligent about marketing in an ethical manner, yet we still get results we can brag about! How do we do it?

Strategies for Ethical Marketing Success

First, we must remember that we are humans, working with humans, to market to other humans. Preserving the humanity of our marketing is the key to its ethicality. Plus, having this mindset means we are more focused on our goals and do a better job of achieving them.

We spent weeks vetting our current DSP and CTV system to ensure that any data layers to which we receive access are legal and ethical. Consumers don’t want us to know their mother’s maiden name, their address, and their social security number. We don’t want to know that either. We’ve limited opt-in data to e-mail and SMS campaigns, only receiving this data when we need it and when the consumer consents to giving it to us.

We focus on the quality of data that we receive rather than the quantity – and it pays off! Using this strategy, we’ve been able to increase our close rate by 39%. 

The marketing landscape has seen dramatic change in the last few years. Is that not the nature of the digital age? At MHP/Team SI, we embrace change. We seek to innovate in its midst, finding new solutions which address new challenges. Today, we strive to market ethically and preserve consumer privacy. We haven’t had to sacrifice convenience or effectiveness to do it.


Alex Hanes