When it comes to marketing, you’re walking on thin ice if you push the limit on what’s considered ethical and unethical, especially within the aesthetics or beauty industry. The conversation surrounding the ethics of the industry itself is one that seems to linger indefinitely, although it is becoming more widely accepted by new generations and the perfectionist Insta-culture that we live in. With this in mind business owners, brand managers and practitioners alike must take extra-care to avoid unethical marketing activity and ensure that their messaging is always ethical and honest to maintain a good brand reputation amongst their competitors, suppliers and of course, customers!
In this article, we discuss the common types of unethical marketing in the aesthetic and beauty industry and how your business can avoid them and keep your content on the right track!
What is unethical marketing?
Unethical marketing sends the wrong or deceptive messages out to prospective clients about a brand or businesses products and services. This kind of marketing practise can destroy your brand image and reputation and even lead to legal problems. Sharing deceptive messages or claims is a major turn-off for customers and they may even be illegal. Our advice is to always avoid unethical marketing – build a genuine and honest brand that customers love, share and trust!
The benefit of ethical marketing
In a heavily regulated and often criticised industry such as aesthetics, your business must promote ethical and honest marketing messages so that it can:
- build trust and credibility
- drive brand loyalty and repeat custom amongst consumers
- grow profit and revenue
- avoid expensive legal costs and fines
- prevent irreversible damage to your brand reputation
- survive in a very competitive industry!
How to avoid unethical marketing
Regardless of whether you manage your own marketing strategies or you employ someone to do it for you, you need to stay on top of the content that you are putting out into the world. There is no excuse for sharing unethical marketing messages and your prospective customers are likely to be unforgiving even it was a genuine mistake. Below are the common types of unethical marketing your aesthetics or beauty business should take extra-care to avoid:
False Claims: To try and generate product appeal and further sales, marketers often make false or exaggerated claims surrounding the benefits of their products or services. This is a common occurrence in aesthetics, as claims are made that amplify the benefits of certain treatments, with statements such as “look 10 years younger” or “drop 3 dress sizes”. These statements are not only bold, they are FALSE! If you can’t provide proof of your product or services claim don’t include them in your marketing messages. Always stick to the facts when claiming what you can achieve or deliver for your customers.
Fiction: Whether it concerns the ingredients within a certain product, or the potential side effects of certain treatments, it’s important to be honest and to stick to the facts! Never hide the risks from your patients, as this could result in a serious health risk. Even if a product or treatment isn’t known to have any side effects, don’t state that there aren’t any at all, everyone reacts differently so always relay all possibilities to manage expectations honestly. In short, always stick to the facts!
Spam: There is nothing more annoying than spam and contacting customers without their consent will do your business more harm than good. Checking your email to find you’ve been inundated with sales emails that you haven’t asked for is a common occurrence for us all so don’t let your brand fall in with the wrong crowd. This kind of unethical marketing leaves a bad impression on your customer and if they request to be taken off your mailing list you must do so in order to abide by the law.
Tip! Create your own mailing list and send out regular newsletters and up-to-date promotions. Don’t forget to get your customers to opt-in to receive your marketing updates before you add them to your list.
Exploitation or Fearmongering: Overpricing your products or services is a risk not worth taking. While you want to make a healthy profit, it’s important that the cost of the product doesn’t outweigh the value it has to your customer. It’s also frowned upon to pile the pressure on to make a quick purchase by saying “buy now or pay twice the price later” or “this is a limited time offer that you won’t find again”. We understand that sometimes people have special offers, but if a company is saying this all the time, people will start to work out that this is just a tactic for a quick sale and may start to distrust your brand.
Déjà Vu or Trash Talk: Effective and successful marketing is about creativity and originality. It’s not unheard of for marketers to plagiarise the competition, and some slate their competitors in order to drive traffic towards their own products and services. This is not only highly unprofessional, but also a bit desperate. Instead of stooping to low levels prioritise focusing on your USPs that set you apart from your competitors and why your audience should choose you over anyone else.
Tip! Check out our ‘How To’ Create Your Brand Message Marketing Toolkit designed to help you create clear, confident brand messages which will attract and engage your target customers and help them choose YOU over the competition.
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Founded in 2015 by award-winning communications expert Julia Kendrick, Kendrick PR are an experienced and passionate team who thrive on creating tangible success for every client. Since launch, we have delivered outstanding results for some of the industry’s most innovative brands and exciting entrepreneurs, such as ALLÉL, Debbie Thomas, The Private Clinic, Oxygenetix and Medik8 – and we’d love to support your brand. Please do get in touch to book your complimentary discover call with our expert team.