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Marketing and the Vulnerable - Essay Example

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Marketing and the Vulnerable

The companies target two major vulnerabilities of the minorities - susceptibility and disadvantage. Targeted marketing by virtue of market segmentation is a popular strategy that works very well for many organizations. However, segmenting the market by virtue of religion, caste, races, etc. often results in the primary mission of marketing to satisfy customer needs getting completely lost thus resulting in strategies that are malicious to the customers and the overall society. A prominent example is the marketing strategy of promoting addiction - like alcohol, tobacco, improvement in sexual capabilities, harmful energy pills (often comprising of drugs), etc. Some companies view the minorities as more vulnerable to addiction and hence promote the same to extreme unethical levels in the greed to extract maximum money out of their pockets. In the view of the author, no marketing professional should practice addiction promotion in any of their campaigns across the world. Addiction is never a need of the customer - rather it is a social disease!! Promoting addiction in marketing strategies is like promoting a social agony that hurts the customers and the overall society very badly. [Brenkert, George G. 1998]
Creating a market segment is never a bad idea. ...
But if the marketing strategists have decided to treat the minority community of a nation as the target segment, they need to be very careful about the ethical aspects of their approach and also very carefully study the genuine needs of such communities. No strategy should target or apparently hurt the sentiments of the minority communities and exploitation of their vulnerabilities by pushing products that boost their negative desires should be strictly prohibited within an organization. It may be wise to include some declarations exhibiting good gesture of the organization within the marketing campaign itself. For example, if alcohol is being marketed there should be health related warnings prominently displayed in the campaign recommending limited usage only. In many countries it is a legal requirement but overall it should be practiced as a moral gesture by the campaign designers.
Most of the members of the minority communities are unaware of their vulnerabilities due to the dejection and mental agony that they have been facing historically within a region. They may not be leading the usual lifestyle of the majority communities of the region. This may be due to lack of education or lack of special interest groups promoting awareness about their vulnerabilities. Hence, when an organization promotes special products or services matching their negative habits or addiction, they take it as a positive gesture. The author hereby argues that it is more of the responsibility of the organizations that are targeting them to promote positive awareness and then design the products & campaigns accordingly. It may not result in the same level of revenues as in addiction promotion but definitely will be sustainable and highly appreciated by the world. This may enhance the ...Show more


This short essay is presented in the context of ethical marketing principles and is an attempt to present the features of exploitive marketing with special emphasis to minority communities. Many companies practice exploitive marketing especially targeting minorities and children…
Author : wymanalden
Marketing and the Vulnerable essay example
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