No, it is unethical to target uninformed consumers because it could negatively impact their cultural beliefs and social norm. Globally, industries and businesses are desperately trying to acquire new customers and some of the companies are likely to apply inappropriate means of gaining their attention. One of such methods is target marketing.

Note that target marketing is where corporations leverage adverts and marketing as a means of attracting consumers targeting their customers specifically to sell their goods. However, not all industries use the ethical procedures in getting customers. This raises the question of whether it is ethical for businesses to target uninformed consumers.

Ethical target marketing occurs when businesses analyze and research consumers to see what predisposed ways might make an individual acquire a product. Predisposed ways can be various factors that make consumers purchase a specific way, such as personal preferences, cultural norms, or habitual purchasing.

Other companies use unethical target marketing by focusing on target markets that can be easily influenced and manipulated. Most consumers are unaware of the standard of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) is part of all purchase transactions. Under this idea, businesses’ only responsibility is to provide a product or service at a fair price.

Note that when companies purposely target vulnerable populations, they are participating in unethical target marketing.

These types of populations or target markets consist of consumers that have psychological problems or lack maturity and intelligence to make informed purchases. Examples of this type of target market include the elderly, children, and poorly educated consumers.

Target marketing strategies that are considered unethical would include lying, deception, manipulation, and threats. Sadly, these unethical ways of marketing are used against vulnerable populations. It may seem unethical to target an informed consumer group. This is because it may intrude on their cultural beliefs and social norms.

Pros and Cons of Ethical Target Marketing

Ethical target marketing is when a company targets a specific group of customers for their product or service through advertising.

The groups are organized together because they have similar beliefs and values, which lead to common purchasing patterns. Among the ethical ways companies can influence consumers are through persuading, asking, informing, and advising.

Targeted marketing has made it easier than ever for businesses to reach prospects. Gone are the days of “spray and pray” tactics. Thanks to technological advancements, companies around the globe can ensure that their messages reach the right audiences at the right times.

Note that the ability to tailor your message to a certain group of people increases ROI dramatically. Such personalization makes your targets feel like much more than a target. However, targeted marketing is not without its pitfalls. Here are the basic pros and cons of targeted marketing to help you better understand – and master – this powerful tool.


  • Flexibility: There are various ways to target prospects: age, gender, marital status, interests, etc. By being able to segment your audiences, you can make sure that your message goes to your market and your market only; you end up avoiding those who have no interest in your services.
  • Cost-Efficient: Note that this goes hand in hand with flexibility. By being able to target people meeting the criteria you set, you avoid throwing money away. You only spend money on the people who matter. In a marketing budget, every dollar counts. Using selective marketing lets you get maximum ROI for minimum investment. If money is tight, this is one of the best marketing tools in your arsenal.


  • Time-Consuming: Ideally, developing marketing communications for each of your target groups takes time – a lot of time. And it is a necessary evil. After a while, your prospects will get tired of your message if it is the same creative over and over again. However, developing a regular schedule of marketing communications is imperative, and you are going to need the appropriate resources to make it happen.
  • Narrow-Mindedness: This disadvantage isn’t so much about targeted marketing as it is a consequence of targeted marketing. Since targeted marketing allows segmentation at a micro-level, it is common for marketers to lose sight of other efforts like branding. You require a steady funnel of prospects for success. If you are only focused on people likeliest to convert, you won’t have anyone to replace them once they turn into your patients. You need to focus on cold, lukewarm and hot prospects – not just the hot ones.


Companies use advertising and marketing to gain attention and target their customers appropriately to sell products. Not all companies abide by ethical means to reach their consumers. Sadly, many businesses use manipulation and deception to achieve their sales goals.

However, it is possible for a company to cater to both its best interest and that of the consumer conjointly. This is because the primary intentions of any company should be to fulfill its interests which are maximum production and profit maximization.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Does It Mean To Target Uninformed Consumers?

In targeting the uninformed consumers, the company introduces its brand to new markets. Examples of this type of target market include the elderly, children, and poorly educated consumers.

  1. What Is Unethical About Target Marketing?

Target marketing strategies that are considered unethical would include lying, deception, manipulation, and threats. Sadly, these unethical ways of marketing are used against vulnerable populations.

  1. What Is Considered Unethical In Marketing?

Unethical marketing practices may include intentionally evoking rage or sadness to manipulate consumer decisions, using fear tactics, targeting disadvantaged people, or tricking customers into buying a product or service. Unethical Marketing include; Misleading advertising, also known as “false advertising”

  1. What Is Unethical Consumer Behavior?

The evidence on consumer unethical behavior shows that some actions are perceived as less acceptable than others. Most of the unethical actions happening every day involve both goods and services. Shoplifting, fraudulent return, boycotts, vandalism may cause physical damage or theft of physical objects.

  1. At What Point Does Influencing Or Persuading Become Unethical?

It is important to state that not all influencing or persuading is unethical. Persuasion is widely considered unethical if it is for the purpose of personal gain at the expense of others, or for personal gain without the knowledge of the audience. For example, coercion, brainwashing, and torture are never considered ethical.

  1. What Is Consumer Key And Consumer Secret In OAuth?

OAuth includes a Consumer Key and matching Consumer Secret that together authenticates the Consumer (as opposed to the User) to the Service Provider. Consumer-specific identification allows the Service Provider to vary access levels to Consumers (such as un-throttled access to resources).

  1. What Is Something Legal But Unethical?

The fact that something is legal doesn’t make it ethical. Breaking promises is generally legal, but is widely thought of as unethical; Cheating on your husband or wife or boyfriend or girlfriend is legal, but unethical, though the rule against it is perhaps more honored in the breach.

  1. Why Do Many People Think That Marketing To Children Is Unethical?

Advertising specifically to children is considered by many people unethical because they have little or no money of their own and have to persuade their parents to buy the products for them. Rather than advertising directly to parents, companies use a ‘nag and whine’ campaign that leads to bad feelings between parents and children.

  1. How Do Businesses Take Advantage Of Consumers?

Businesses sometimes take advantage of consumers by raising the price of the product if it is a product in high demand since they know people will still invest money for buying their product. If the price is in demand the business will raise its price so it can make more profit.

  1. How Do You Complain Against A Company Policy Which Is Ruthless And Unethical?
  • Document the behavior you perceive as unethical.
  • Report the unethical behavior to your supervisor.
  • Contact your organization’s confidential compliance or ethics department or officer.
  • Go directly to Human Resources if you suspect a serious legal or policy breach.
  1. Why Is Misleading Advertising Unethical?

Advertising that promotes a service or product in a deceptive manner is unethical because it doesn’t provide consumers with all the information they need to make a good decision. Consequently, consumers might waste money on products or services they neither need nor want.

  1. What Businesses Are Unethical But Seen By Most As Normal?

Five unethical companies that are unethical but seen by most as normal are;

Amazon. Ethical score: 0/20. Company type: online retailer.

ASDA Walmart. Ethical Score: 0/20. Company type: Supermarket.

Nestle. Ethical Score: 2/20. Company type: Food processor.

Tesco. Ethical Score: 1/20. Company type: Supermarket.

Coca Cola. Ethical Score: 2/20. Company type: Drinks manufacturer.

  1. What Are Public And Ethical Issues In Direct Marketing?

Key public and ethical issues include Irritation: Many people find the increasing number of a hard sell, direct-marketing solicitations by phone, television, and e-mail to be a nuisance. Unfairness: Some direct marketers take advantage of impulsive or less sophisticated buyers.

  1. What Should Be Considered When Making A Report About Unethical Conduct In The Workplace?

Make sure your report only contains facts, with as little personal opinion as possible. Your only goal is to deal with the unethical behavior, not act vindictively to push a wrongdoer. Take the emotion out of it, but treat it as a “facts only” report.

  1. What Is the Difference Between Enterprise And Business?

A business (also called a firm) is a legally recognized organizational entity designed to provide goods and/or services to consumers. An enterprise is a business and the ways it is formed i.e. Privately held, publicly held or Pvt Ltd Companies are different ways company chooses to distribute their stocks/shares.

  1. What Is The Meaning Of Marketing Segmentation Targeting And Positioning?

Market segmentation is the research that defines whether the business divides its consumers or demographic into smaller groups based on features such as age, income, personality traits, or behavior. The segmentation of marketing means splitting the market into sections that represent customer needs and wants.

  1. How Is The Practice Of Market Segmentation Related To The Marketing Concept?

Market segmentation is the process of dividing a potential market into distinct subsets of consumers with common needs or characteristics and selecting one or more segments to target with a distinct marketing mix.

  1. What Is Unethical Conduct?

Unethical behavior can be defined as actions that are against social norms or acts that are considered unacceptable to the public. Ethical behavior is the complete opposite of unethical behavior. Ethical behavior follows the majority of social norms and such actions are acceptable to the public.