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Ethics of Target Marketing: Process, Product or Target?
Unformatted Document Text:  21 minority Americans tend to have lower socioeconomic status as a group than White Americans, it often is difficult to segregate the impact of ethnicity and socioeconomic status as they often are related. In addition, the possible relationship between age and vulnerability requires further exploration. Nevertheless, the concept of the vulnerable consumer remains an important question, especially considering the research that has provided support that children are influenced by marketing to consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes. If certain consumer groups can clearly be identified as vulnerable (whether this be ethnic or socioeconomic groups) then it would be more unethical to target harmful products to these segments then to target the same products to nonvulnerable segments. However, it would not be unethical to target helpful products, such as information about health services, to these populations. Therefore, the unethical designation first lies in the nature of the product being marketed and then in the audience being targeted. Conclusion The present research has answered what can make target marketing unethical independent of legal considerations. It has been determined that the process—that is the advertising or public relations tactics—plays an important role in ethically evaluating a marketing campaign. Due to the more sophisticated nature of public relations, it has been suggested that this communication strategy poses more ethical questions than advertising does. However, it also has been acknowledged that public relations is not inherently more unethical than advertising and may indeed encourage more long-term ethical interactions because of its managerial approach and relationship-building function. It is

Authors: Fisher, Brooke A..
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21
minority Americans tend to have lower socioeconomic status as a group than White
Americans, it often is difficult to segregate the impact of ethnicity and socioeconomic
status as they often are related. In addition, the possible relationship between age and
vulnerability requires further exploration.
Nevertheless, the concept of the vulnerable consumer remains an important
question, especially considering the research that has provided support that children are
influenced by marketing to consume alcohol and smoke cigarettes. If certain consumer
groups can clearly be identified as vulnerable (whether this be ethnic or socioeconomic
groups) then it would be more unethical to target harmful products to these segments then
to target the same products to nonvulnerable segments. However, it would not be
unethical to target helpful products, such as information about health services, to these
populations. Therefore, the unethical designation first lies in the nature of the product
being marketed and then in the audience being targeted.
Conclusion
The present research has answered what can make target marketing unethical
independent of legal considerations. It has been determined that the process—that is the
advertising or public relations tactics—plays an important role in ethically evaluating a
marketing campaign. Due to the more sophisticated nature of public relations, it has been
suggested that this communication strategy poses more ethical questions than advertising
does. However, it also has been acknowledged that public relations is not inherently
more unethical than advertising and may indeed encourage more long-term ethical
interactions because of its managerial approach and relationship-building function. It is


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