Marketing controversial products or services—such as cannabis, cosmetic surgery, cryptocurrency, political issues, and firearms—involves more than following the rules. The legal and ethical landscape in such markets is dynamic and in flux, continually creating new hurdles and challenges for marketers.
At the same time, those obstacles can fuel creativity and opportunity. The challenge is to create touchpoints that educate consumers and unify supporters to build a brand that generates loyal customers.
Building a Reputation of Trust With Digital Marketing
When faced with legal or ethical restrictions, marketers fear that doing any promotion at all would cause a public backlash.
Typically, there are hot-button topics that are difficult to broach and may upset certain groups of people. For example, the desire to look better in selfies has put cosmetic surgery practices under the spotlight because of an increase in teens' getting plastic surgery, fueled by "Snapchat dysmorphia," a form of body dysmorphic disorder, or BDD.
Activist and interest groups that stand against controversial products or services such as plastic surgery can present a major obstacle to marketers.
Digital platforms are already saturated with divisive arguments on the legal and ethical ramifications—from all sides of the issues surrounding your product. How can you carve out a place in the digital landscape to stand out?
The challenge is to build a multipronged digital marketing strategy that allows you to inspire loyalty, engagement, credibility, and trust.