TARGET MARKETING: THE TENDENCY TO INCREASE UNETHICAL
BEHAVIOUR AND THE PROBABILITY OF BOYCOTTS:
A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
Since its establishment, target marketing has been used effectively and efficiently as a marketing strategy (Dunlap 2004). The contribution made by target marketing to strategic marketing is undoubted. However, despite its success and the contribution it has made to marketing, the question remains whether target marketing can be performed without increasing unethical behaviour and the possibility of boycotts. This paper will attempt to illustrate that target marketing has a tendency to lead marketers into increased unethical behaviour and possibility of boycotts. The precursors to target marketing within the conceptual framework are segmentation and privacy, whilst the moderating factors are product harmfulness and consumer vulnerability. Working through these concepts permits for formulation of a number of propositions. The foundation of this conceptual framework (see Figure 1) lies within target marketing and the belief that it has the tendency to lead to increased unethical behaviour and probability of a boycott.
"Not all consumers are alike" (Cahill 1997). As unprofound as this statement may appear, it is of vital importance in regard to target marketing. The statement epitomises the whole concept behind target marketing and should be frequently reiterated. However, the concept of target marketing has been under intense scrutiny from many sectors for a long time, due to the unethical practices it is perceived to encourage. An emerging stream of research within marketing (Smith & Cooper-Martin 1997, Grier & Brumbraugh 1999, Klein, Smith, John 2004), confirms public disquiet over the approach made to segmentation, the issue of privacy, product harmfulness and consumer vulnerability. These issues collectively form the basis for assessing target marketing and are hence integral in the conceptual framework. From the conceptual framework it should give direction as to whether target marketing has...