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Business - Marketing and the Vulnerable.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2074F/G
Professor
Michael Herbert
Semester
Winter

Description
MARKETING AND THE VULNERABLE – BRENKERT  Much less frequently is attention given to the vulnerable customers whom marketers also and increasingly target  It explores the notion of vulnerability which a target audience might or might not have. I argue that we must distinguish those who are specially vulnerable from normal individuals as well as the disadvantaged  I contend that marketing to the specially vulnerable requires that marketing campaigns be designed to ensure that these individuals are not treated unfairly and this possibly harmed  I maintain that marketing programs which violate this preceding injunction are unethical or unscrupulous whether or not those targeted are harmed in some further manner  Just as we have a doctrine of product liability to which marketers are accountable we also need a corresponding doctrine of targeted consumer liability to which marketers should be held  Vulnerability is a matter of degree  Susceptibility merely implies that one is capable of being affected, especially easily by something or someone  The vulnerable are also distinct from the disadvantaged  The disadvantaged are those who are unequal in the marketplace because of characteristics that are not of their own choosing including their age race ethnic minority status  Harm to the vulnerable by marketing programs might be balanced by countervailing benefits for all other consumers and competitors  In order to protect vulnerable markets the proposed standard might permit targeting various vulnerable market segments because the total harm they sustained was less than that of those engaged in producing and marketing products to them  Though the marketing efforts took advantage of this vulnerability, it nevertheless maximized total utilities  The problem with the consequential first approach is that it doesn’t consider the nature of people’s vulnerabilities except insofar as they portend certain consequences for everyone  In short, we need a different approach which takes account both of the context within which marketers address the vulnerable as well as the nature of their vulnerabilities  The necessary features for morally (not merely legally) justified market relations are commonly stated in terms of the nature of the relations or interactions which participants in the market enjoy  The endeavor of each participant is to compete such that their own strengths and powers will outweigh those of others, or that their weakness and vulnerabilities are less significant than those of others  These special characteristics, powers and abilities of marketers create special responsibilities for them in the relationships they create with consumers  On the other hand, vulnerabilities linked to market performance may be the occasion for other firms to try and outperform the vulnerable firm when the acts involved do not transgress the preceding limits  However, some individuals may suffer not through such circumstances but because they fail to fulfill, in ways, which render them especially vulnerable, various conditions to be market clients  Be physically vulnerable if they are unusually susceptible due to physical or biological conditions to products on the market  Cognitively vulnerable if they lack certain levels of ability to cognitively process information or to be aware that certain information was being withheld or manipulated in deceptive ways  Motivationally vulnerable if they could not resist ordinary temptations and or enticements due to their own individual characteristics  Socially vulnerable when their social situation renders them significantly less able than others to resist various enticements appeals or challenges which may harm them  The specially vulnerable are significantly less able than others to protect their own interests and in some cases even to identify their own interests  Marketers need to qualify those they propose to target as genuine market clients before they introduce marketing campaigns which target them  As such, moral marketing requires a theory of targeted consumer liability analogous to the product liability to which marketers are presently held responsible  Other arrangements can be made for advisors to the specially vulnerable to be present or restraints on marketing to them  That is, in the case of the specially vulnerable, no significant aspect of a marketing campaign may rely upon the characteristics that render those individuals especially vulnerable in order to sell a product  Since vulnerable children do not qualify as market clients or consumers, they cannot be said to have consumers rights  It is not morally acceptable to market goods to specially vulnerable individuals with the intention that they bring pressure to bear on genuine market clients to buy those products and with the expectation that those genuine clients will curb any problems which the use or possession of those products by the specially vulnerable would raise  Finally, it is morally justified to use marketing techniques which take advantage of the vulnerabilities of the specially vulnerable but which promote products which members of this group are widely acknowledged  If a group is especially vulnerable, the use of unfair techniques which would not ultimately cause them harm is still the use of techniques which treat such individuals unfairly through manipulating them through their vulnerabilities THE DRUG PUSHERS – CARL ELLIOT  Today detail men are officially known as pharmaceutical sales representatives, but everyone I know calls them drug reps  Drug reps today are often young, well grounded, and strikingly good looking. Many are women. They are usually affable and sometimes very smart  Detailing is expensive, but almost all practicing doctors see reps at least occasionally, and many doctors say they find reps useful  Doctors must make prescribing decisions based on medical evidence and their own clinical judgment. Drug reps, in contrast are salespeople  Prilosec’s success was not the result of massive heartburn epidemics  Prilosec was the first proton pump inhibitor (a drug that inhibits the production of stomach acid) approached by the FDA and thus the first drug available in its class  Most media accounts of the pharmaceutical industry miss this side of drug reps. By focusing on scandals – the kickbacks and the fraud and the lavish gifts – they lose sight of the fact that many reps are genuinely likeable people  For them, effective selling is all about develop a relationship with a doctor  The pharmaceutical industry has managed this debate skillfully; pouring vast resources into gifts for doctors while simultaneously reassuring them that their integrity prevents them from being influenced  The drug industry also became a big political player in Washington by 2005, according to the center for public integrity, its lobbying organization had become the largest in the country  During this period, reps began to feel the influence of a new generation of executives intent on bringing market values to an industry that had been slow to embrace them  Oldani says that script-tracking data also changed the way that reps thought about prescriptions  Many doctors began to feel as though they deserved whateve
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