Episode 2: 4 unethical marketing tactics you should avoid using

Welcome to The Rachel Kurzyp Show.

You’re listening to episode two.

Today I’m going to share 4 unethical marketing tactics that I’m seeing business owners using on the daily and share with you what to do instead.

And if you’re here listening to this, I’m going to assume that you probably aren’t using these tactics yourself right now.

However, you may see others using them particularly well-known coaches and business owners on the gram and wondering if you should adopt them too.

I talk about ethical sales strategies a lot with my coaching clients and I get passionate about it. But I’ll try and keep my cool today. Let’s see how I go.

Ok, so unethical marketing tactic #1 – Trigger warnings.

You’ve probably seen Insta posts that start something like this: Trigger warning, you may have an adverse reaction to what I’m about to say… and then they go on to sell you their product or program.

This not how a trigger warning should be used. Trigger warnings are placed at the start of articles, posts, podcasts etc. to indicate the following content may mentally or emotionally trigger a negative response or reaction within its reader.

You often see trigger warnings on news articles when they talk about topics such as domestic violence or depression. I used to use them when I was writing my own articles about my personal experiences with homelessness and domestic violence.

Trigger warnings should be taken seriously and just like with the media you have an ethical and moral obligation to care about the wellbeing of your community.

Now I’m not saying that you can’t call out your clients on their mindsets or blocks or discuss controversial opinions (maybe like this one). But you need to do it in an ethical way.

So switch out your trigger warning headlines for an actual, well crafted, and strategically placed headline that still grabs the attention of your dream clients. But doesn’t dilute the importance of trigger warnings.

If you want to learn more, my friend Nisha shared a great Insta post on this exact topic. You can check it out. Her handle is @littlebigcontent

Unethical marketing tactic #2 – the manifest money mindset

Money is interesting because it’s a social construct and we put a lot of our own values and ideas on to it. There’s also a lot of stigma attached to money – we were told not to talk about how much we had but in the business world, this is the opposite.

All business owners seem to do now is talk about how much money they are making and how you need to be making more too. One of the strategies people suggest is through changing our mindset because we would all be rich if we simply welcomed cash into our lives.

As someone who has grown up in a low-socio economic area, telling me I just need to manifest money is disregarding my truth and the truth of millions of people around the world who are living pay check to pay check because of social inequalities, issues of class and race, and capitalism plain and simple.

So don’t copy clueless white dudes like James Wedmore and tell your clients and community to manifest their way to fame and fortune. It’s insensitive and shows your privilege.

Instead share the strategies you have used that has helped you gain financial freedom. Unpack what $20k launches actually look like e.g. that’s not all profit. Advocate for pay equality and be honest about the time it has taken you to build your wealth.

Unethical marketing tactic #3 – you need to work harder

The idea that if you work hard you will succeed, again was created by the elite to keep the working class well working. And it doesn’t surprise me that this concept has been bought over from the corporate world.

This is why we see people in the business world normalising and glorifying burnout, working all hours, and always being ‘on’ creating, scaling, launching and so. Because when we say if you work hard you will succeed, what we are really saying is if you fail it must be because you didn’t work hard enough.

And this feeds into the fear mongering and scare tactics we see being used to coheres people into buying products and services. Nothing makes me want to flip a desk faster than seeing business owners telling their clients to take action now or kiss their business goodbye.

You of course should talk about your workload, what you’re spending your time on, and encouraging your community to be strategic with where they invest their time energy and money. And it’s OK to explain that if they don’t take action or focus their time on another idea or strategy that this might affect the outcomes and the success they want to see in their business. But this should be done from a place of education and encouragement and perpetuate the belief that if we aren’t hustling we have no worth to society.

Unethical marketing tactic #4 – You should go all in financially

This one is played out on Instagram a lot too. We’ve all heard the story of the business owner who had tried everything but kept failing and just as she was about to give up she invested the last $200 she had in her bank account in a coach and now she is making multi-6 figures in her business.

The under lying narrative in the story is that if you’re not willingly to invest every dollar you have into your business that you aren’t serious about it. And you won’t see success.

I’m going to call BS on this story.

I don’t know any successful business owner, and I’m talking about my peers and people I look up to here, who would advocate for this or take someone’s last $200.

This kind of financial risk has the potential to have serious effects on people’s lives shouldn’t be celebrated or encouraged.

I think what business owners are trying to do is help their clients overcome a common mindset block over investing in their business.

Because it’s true. You do need to invest in yourself and your business to grow it.

However, this rags to riches story has to go. Because the chances of people investing their last few bucks and making millions is low.

Instead share stories of how you saved up to make financial investments or the process you want through to decide what investments to make. And set realistic expectations around what returns your client’s can expect from their financial investment and the other factors that play into success like time, creativity, mindset etc.

I can’t believe I’ve managed to keep my cool!

I hope this has given you a deeper insight into why some marketing tactics are unethical and how you can still market your business successfully on your own terms, upholding your values, practicing empathy and being aware of the constructs we operate in.

And if you’re thinking of selling or launching a new service or product soon, download my complete framework for a successful and stress-free launch. This free guide will walk you through what you need to do to ensure your new offering is relevant for your community.

Head to rachelkurzyp.com.au/successfulsales to download your copy!

Thanks so much for tuning into today’s episode.

If you’ve found what I’ve shared valuable please leave a review and hit the subscribe button, so you don’t miss when a new episode drops every Wednesday.


Hi, I’m Rachel

I support multi-talented business owners to get clear on what makes them tick and desperately needed in their industry so they can make more money.

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Should you start a podcast?

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Should you start a podcast?

Should you start a podcast?

Do you genuinely want to start a podcast? Or do you think it’s the only way to grow your audience, share your expertise and produce evergreen content?