Academic Master

Business and Finance

Is it Ethical to Target Uninformed Consumers?

Increasing the customer base is one of the primary objectives of any company but they utilize different ways to achieve this goal. Some companies are focused on implementing new digital ways to attract the large audience available online through their efficient digital marketing strategies while some use conventional ways of reaching customers door-to-door. However, with the advent of social media, consumer information has become easily accessible to enterprises that can conveniently target their customers with regard to their demographic, cultural preferences, and buying behaviour. As a result, target marketing has become an efficient tool for companies to expand their business while on the other hand has led to a controversial debate about whether it is ethical or unethical.

In my view, target marketing is not only ethical but also essential for companies for their sustainable growth because this is the only way to enter into a new market. However, surely using deceptive ways of marketing or providing manipulative information is unethical which unfortunately many business organizations adopt focusing merely on their profits and not the social consequences. Similarly, when companies misuse the cultural beliefs and religious affiliations of the community to sell their products, they are certainly adopting unethical practices.

On the other hand, if large corporations are only concerned about understanding the needs and demands of a particular community and then target their potential customers accordingly, it is a highly efficient tool and ethical method to both serve the community and promote the business. This is also an efficient way of educating the community about new and useful products as argued by Buehler & Schuett (2014). Moreover, as noted by Fishman (1988), target marketing increases the competition among different companies in the market which consequently leads the reduced prices as well as the improved quality of the products. In this way, the whole community gets benefited from the target marketing.

In conclusion, target marketing itself is not unethical as long as the companies do not deceive the community by spreading false information about their products or do not mise the cultural norms of the people to damage their preferences.


Buehler, B., & Schuett, F. (2014). Certification and minimum quality standards when some consumers are uninformed. European Economic Review70, 493–511.

‌ Fishman, A. (1988). Dynamics sales discriminate against uninformed consumers in a competitive market. Economics Letters27(1), 23–25.



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