Marketing both reduces and contributes to consumer vulnerability. In this essay, the authors explore this paradoxical relationship. Complexities and nuances captured in existing definitions are revisited. The authors then share a more expansive perspective; they offer a new typology with hopes of drawing attention to multifaceted and conflicting challenges so as to stimulate fresh thinking. Several points are raised so that policy makers and marketers might be inspired to invoke systemic solutions that increase the security and well-being of consumers who are subject to various vulnerabilities.
© American Marketing Association, 2009.