Marketers Obligations to Vulnerable Persons

MARKETERS OBLIGATIONS TO VULNERABLE PERSONS 5MarketersObligations to Vulnerable PersonsStudent’s NameInstitutional Affiliations


While doing business, marketers are obliged to observe the law,though beyond the legal requirement. Morality and ethics require themto ensure free and fair market. Deception in the free market isobserved, especially when dealing with people who are highlysusceptible to malice and fraud because of their vulnerability.

Marketing as a profession is guided by ethics and moral principleswhich require that marketers engage in lawful/legal practices notonly towards their employers but also towards the target customersthey reach. Nevertheless, this may appear as very obvious, but inreality, the obligation goes beyond the obvious. The main questionthat one could ask is to what level a marketer is obliged to showconcern for the disadvantaged or vulnerable persons in the societybeyond observing what is lawful.


First, it must be appreciated that marketers are ethically andmorally obliged not to market products to the vulnerable with themotive of taking advantage of them. Therefore, there are specialmoral obligations for the marketers to go beyond what the lawstipulates on marketing practices and observe special moralresponsibility to them. The vulnerable in the society becomesusceptible to many vices and unfair marketing practices aimed atexploiting them through deception and malice. According to Palmer andHedberge (2013), all people suffer vulnerability in one way oranother but the degree differs. They therefore note that marketingethics and morals dictate that marketers should avoid engaging insuch marketing practices that takes advantage of the vulnerable.

Proper and morally right marketing practices that are not necessarilybound by law are explained by the manner in which the marketer andthe target population interact. Accordingly, three main factors arebinding for rightful marketing especially to the vulnerable or leastadvantaged persons. First, a free form of competition should beencouraged where all benefit and participation is voluntary.Secondly, open involvement in marketing processes should beencouraged thereby imposing no coercion from the government or otherregulators. Finally, the market should be free from fraud ordeception especially as directed to the less fortunate of vulnerable.Birkwood (2015) therefore argues that marketers have the moralresponsibility in creating such an environment through identifyingthe special needs of the vulnerable persons and assisting themthrough right decision making processes.

In conclusion, these are, therefore, the fundamental obligations thatmarketers are expected to observe towards the vulnerable in thesociety although with no legal obligation. In fact as Marciano (2012)reasons, marketing as a discipline involves more from personal moraland ethical view as against following the dictates of the law.Therefore, literature shows that besides the legal obligation thatobliges marketers to observe the law while marketing. They aremorally and ethically expected to observe free, fair and deceptionfree marketing procedures especially towards the vulnerable personsin the society.


Birkwood, S. (2015). Update: The big issue – rule change to protectthe vulnerable is welcomed. Third Sector, , 10.

Marciano, A. (2012). A review of enrico colombatto, &quotmarkets,morals and policy-making. A new defence of free-market economics&quot1.The European Journal of Comparative Economics, 9(2), 331-334.

Palmer, D., &amp Hedberg, T. (2013). The ethics of marketing tovulnerable populations. Journal of Business Ethics, 116(2),403-413.