Emerging Approaches Spark Ethical Concerns for Digital Marketing and Business

Emerging approaches come in the form of new tech, digital strategies and products which can be applied to marketing and business. It’s common to find that they affect the structure of companies and also, livelihood. With new tools, tech and digital advances altering the way we operate in our personal lives and business.

Some emerging approaches though, pose as an ethical threat to digital marketing, below are a handful of emerging approaches. We analyse how they’re considered an ethical concern to digital marketing and business. 


An eye-opening and new world emerging approach is cryptocurrency. Crypto, although not necessarily new, is an emerging payment method that is seeing companies and corporations offering crypto as a way to pay. Although this is an exciting emerging approach for some Tesla fans, it does have some negative and concerning ethical stigmas attached which will affect marketing and target audiences.

For instance, If many businesses and casual retailers turn to crypto as their only payment method, not only may it leave other, smaller businesses in a dark and dated place, but it’ll affect audiences also. With the older generation naturally unable to grasp a new method of payment, it will mean that without the tech-savvy means to pay using crypto certain market segments will suffer.

It could also mean businesses may suffer earning profits to keep the company afloat, thus leading to businesses closing, and staff becoming jobless, which is highly unethical.

Crypto currencies may be used as a payment method in the future

Artificial Intelligence

Another emerging approach that is ethically concerning for business and marketing is AI. Artificial intelligence is becoming more and more popular each and every year, so it’s no wonder why things like impressive automated tills and robots in factories are ever-evolving and becoming more common. However, with the looming shift from humans to robots in the most casual of organisations to carry out tasks, there is a huge risk of unemployment.

This can affect not only business but livelihood and society. If organisations can not afford AI tech which gets the job done twice as fast, their competitors will rise above at a rapid speed, which means the imminent breakdown of companies. Thus leading to lost jobs, which could even impact the rise of homelessness!

This is unethical in numerous ways, so the pressure is on to find ways humans can live in harmony with speedy AI and robotics otherwise we could find ourselves living in some sort of dystopian world sooner than we thought!

AI may replace people in organisations and establishments


Next, it’s Klarna. The increase in buy now pay later methods means that there’s been an influx of people finding themselves in some serious debt.

Klarna offers shoppers the chance to receive their items that week, with payments split up into 3 equal instalments.

However, with this easily accessible, 0-interest shopping scheme, it’s easy for customers to lose track of their spending and find themselves in the midst of money worries next month.

Using Klarna has a high-risk factor because it does not check credit history, so there’s no way of knowing whether a customer can pay back the instalments and for vulnerable age groups, it may be putting them at risk of getting into debt and difficult financial situations without knowing the full scale of the process.

Klarna explains in their terms and conditions that if payments fail repeatedly, further action may be taken and an open case for outstanding funds could even lead to bailiffs.

So, the next time you’re planning on purchasing something in “3 easy instalments” just double check your outgoings for the next 2 months to see if you can afford it!

Klarna is an up and coming issue for shoppers

Social Media Tools

Lastly, it’s social media marketing and the new age communication and engagement tools we all have access to – The good the bad and the ugly.

Social media, especially platforms like Instagram, have made it so much easier for its users to get in contact and touch the lives of the receiving end, therefore, when influencers and brand ambassadors promote a product, it’s not always clear if they actually believe in that product, or if they’re just getting paid.

This is extremely unethical, because if an audience member is spending their hard-earned money on a product which someone they class as their role model promotes on social media, but they’ve been misinformed and mislead, it’s essentially a lie.

False advertising became incredibly common in 2018-2020, to the point where Instagram have had to knuckle down on the promotion of products or services without identification that it’s an advertisement; advising all influencers to put ‘Ad’ on their stories – so that audiences are not unethically blindsided into purchasing something which is unauthentically promoted.

Although Instagrams tools such as DM, Live and Polls have given brands and influencers the opportunity to learn more about its audiences and has given digital marketing a run for its money, they also invite a lot of unwanted comments, trolling and hate, which is having a huge effect on some peoples mental health.

Instagram tools as an emerging approach to digital marketing


So, before using emerging approaches such as the ones listed above, let’s all support, guide and help each other to understand exactly what the full scale of each is so that we aren’t unethically and negatively affected by each!

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