The Ethical Marketer: Oxymoron or the Future of Authentic Branding? (English)

Who else is sick of robocalls, BS emails and LinkedIn requests from someone obviously wanting to sell you a product. What's the alternative?

Are you as sick of unsolicited emails as I am? Are you over yet another LinkedIn connection request from a person with a paragraph for a job title? Did you get a robocall while reading this intro??

Sadly, many companies in 2023 seem to believe that bombarding potential customers is the road to success. The idea? Cast a wide net hoping to snag anyone that fits the vague outline of an ICP (Ideal Customer Profile).

The ironic truth: while personal data has become the modern-day gold, ripe for the picking ANY bidder, it seems businesses are drowning in data but parched for wisdom on using it. Instead of harnessing this influx of information to genuinely understand audience needs, it's used to bludgeon them with sales-first spiels.

Considering this chaotic symphony of aggressive pitches and unsolicited messages, can 'ethical' and 'marketer' even be said in the same breath?

So, let's break it down: What does it mean to be an ethical marketer?

In today’s landscape, being an ethical marketer means weaving authenticity into your brand fabric. It’s about listening rather than yelling, understanding rather than assuming, and building genuine relationships rather than just virtual ‘connections’.

In a digital age where overflowing inboxes and intrusive calls are par for the course, marketers who prioritize value shine brightest.

Case in point: HubSpot. While they do gate some super valuable content (e.g. intensive templates and comprehensive guides), much of their content is out in the open for anyone to see. Take a look at their articles or their LinkedIn page. It's a library of great content that can help marketers generate ideas or work through difficult challenges.

Screenshot of HubSpot's articles

Some may scoff, thinking it's bad for business, but HubSpot has demonstrated the contrary. They not only showcase their expertise but also emphasize their authentic commitment to client success.

And if you’re waiting for the “use coupon code 'ETHICS' for a discount” punchline – sorry to disappoint. My admiration for HubSpot is purely as an appreciative observer and satisfied customer.

For the naysayers, let this sink in: Sharing content without a paywall or gate isn’t a loss. It’s an investment in brand credibility.

To my marketer compatriots, I feel the challenges you face: the lead-gen pressure, the quarterly target nightmares, the uphill battle of staying on the pulse. But let’s pause for perspective. Is a fleeting victory today worth sacrificing trust tomorrow?

Prioritizing an immediate win over genuine engagement is the corporate equivalent of putting a Band-Aid over a crack in a dam. You might land a sale or gather a stash of throwaway email addresses (anyone else using their Hotmail accounts from 2004 when downloading content? 🙋🏻), but will these leads convert to loyal clients? Will your messages pierce the noise or simply become more white noise?

The call to action? Shift the marketing paradigm.

Transition from hard sells to heartfelt conversations. Focus on genuine value over fleeting vanity metrics.

And for those tempted by the siren call of a 30,000 "strong" email list – resist. Embrace the ethos of genuine engagement. Let’s sculpt brands that resonate on a personal level, brands people champion, not just tolerate. Let’s infuse 'trust' back into ‘trustworthy.’

And if the ethical argument doesn’t sway you (or your leadership team) from buying those damn email lists, consider the practical negatives: the list will be littered with invalid emails, it'll kill your deliverability rate and your brand will be forever found in the abyss that is your audience's spam email folder.

As for consumers, vote with your engagement. Champion brands that value you more than just revenue. But, let's be real. We'd starve if we only shopped those brands. We can try our best, for now. Let’s create an ecosystem where trust and authenticity aren’t the exception but the norm. *steps off soapbox*

Now, go on about your day and unsubscribe to those unsolicited emails you received while reading this.

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