Target Marketing is Exploitative
As marketers increasingly develop marketing programs tailored to certain target marketsegments in Asia, some critics have denounced these efforts as exploitative. Examplesinclude marketing cigarettes and alcohol to less-educated Asians, and employing Asianwomen to clichéd stereotypes and depicting them inappropriately in ads. Others counter that targeting and positioning is critical to marketing in Asia and that these marketing programs are attempts to be relevant to specific consumer group.
Marketing to specific groups of consumers, or target marketing, is one of the mostimportant concepts in marketing.Marketers, through the ages, have identified who their customers are, and directedtheir efforts at influencing their buying decisions. That is their job.In the last 30 years though, marketers have begun to identify potential buyers basedon a number of factors, that make many people uncomfortable. Marketers now directpromotions at those of certain age groups, gender, race, marital status, genderpreferences, and just about any other category you can place people in.This makes many consumers and consumer advocates question the ethicality of these promotions:Is it fair to direct ads at children when they do not have the understanding and/orcapability to judge what is being presented to them?Is it fair to target ads at elderly, living on fixed incomes, with products that they maynot be able to afford?Should companies be allowed to develop products that are specifically targeted atethnic groups?My answer to each of these questions, except the first one, would definitely be, Yes.Why should a company be restricted from marketing a product to an independent,rationally thinking, adult?Don't I, as an adult, have the ability to determine for myself, with some exceptions,what I want to buy?Now, if there are issues of mental incapacity we have a whole separate issue toaddress.But, assuming that the consumer is able to make their own decisions; shouldn't I asa marketer be able to present information that will help the consumer decide that myproduct is what they want?