What is Ethical Marketing?

Anyone can call themselves ‘ethical’, and it can be a real minefield navigating this increasingly popular term. Here we describe what we mean by ethical marketing, and some of the grey business practices out there to avoid.

Sales practices

Starting a business is tough, and it can be tempting to be influenced by ‘experts’ and ‘gurus’, who often exploit business owners with promises of riches if they invest in a product or training course.

Service based companies like ours often think the only way to grow is to move to this type of a business model, offering pre-packaged products or training courses in order to scale. This is not our approach. Instead we write bespoke proposals for clients and grow organically, adding more staff as necessary.

You won’t ever see offers with limited time/spaces remaining, and we’ll never coerce you into buying something using fear, pressure or false promises. Be wary of these tactics and remember, if someone is offering something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Values based approach

We want the people doing great things, whether for the environment or society, to look as cool, sound as great and have as much a slice of the pie (if not more) than the big guys who stick to the status quo. The world has got to change, and we want to help you do that the only way we know how – with affordable, jargon-free marketing support.

We don’t want the money our clients spend to fund fossil fuels, so we bank with Triodos, one of the world’s most sustainable banks. We believe in the ability for business to have a positive impact on the planet, and so we’re a member of the Better Business Act which is campaigning to change the UK law to ensure every company in the UK aligns their interests with those of wider society and the environment.

Industries we work with

We work with all types of businesses, big and small, but we have rules about the industries they work within. If there is ever a concern as to the nature of a client’s business or how they use their profits we won’t work with them.

Our corporate clients are charged a higher rate, which allows us to continue to provide affordable support for third sector clients. We think it’s a model that works well, while keeping us afloat.

Becoming a Community Interest Company or B Corp is a natural next step for Good Beans and we are excited about such a move when we are ready.

Working with your budget and setting expectations

Once we have an understanding of your project, we create a proposal based around your budget. By setting clear expectations and costs before starting a project, we aim for full transparency and happy customers.

We haven’t invented our knowledge or success to make us appear bigger or better than we are. You won’t see Ella in her Tesla promising you that if you choose Good Beans, you’ll be driving with Elon Musk too. We instead promise measurable results, and a smart strategy based on your resources.

We pay our people and invoices promptly, and do not expect anyone to work without renumeration. We also ask for the same in our clients.

Advice to our customers

When working with a client, we always gain an understanding of their audience through research. Because all people are different, marketers have to design strategies around best guesses, and adapt approaches based on results.

The past was much simpler – you had a great product or service, and through word of mouth your business grew. Now with big data, sophisticated advertising and personality-based marketing, there are highly effective tactics that can verge into exploitation. We keep abreast of new technologies and methods but would never recommend them to a client if it didn’t suit their aims, audience, budget or in any way manipulated their customers.

‘Leading with the benefits’ is a well-known approach to sales, and a great way of creating marketing copy. However ‘Targeting peoples’ vulnerabilities’ is how this is often interpreted. We see it everywhere and it’s wrong. We are therefore mindful when devising messaging that we never verge into false promises, or try to harvest private information about people to influence our work.


We are committed to treating all people equally and with respect irrespective of their age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

As two white founders, we are aware of the opportunities that come with our privilege. We are committed to promoting equality and diversity in all our processes, practices and culture. We are also taking steps to improve inclusivity when we recruit. You can read our equal opportunities policy here.


These rules are part of a process, and we are continually thinking about ethics in marketing and reviewing how Good Beans tackle this. If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.