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Article
Navigating the Central Tensions....pdf
Journal of Public Policy and Marketing (2011)
  • Cornelia (Connie) Pechmann, University of California, Irvine
  • Elizabeth S Moore, University of Notre Dame
  • Alan R Andreasen, Georgetown University
  • Paul M Connell, Stony Brook University
  • Dan Freeman, University of Delaware
  • Meryl Gardner, University of Delaware
  • Deborah Heisley, California State University, Northridge
  • R. Craig Lefebvre, University of South Florida
  • Dante M Pirouz, University of Western Ontario
  • Robin L Soster, University of South Carolina
Abstract
A perennial problem in social marketing and public policy is the plight of at-risk consumers. The
authors define at-risk consumers as marketplace participants who, because of historical or personal
circumstances or disabilities, may be harmed by marketers’ practices or may be unable or unwilling to
take full advantage of marketplace opportunities. This definition refers to either objective reality or
perceptions. Early research focused on consumers who were at risk because they were poor, ethnic or
racial minorities, immigrants, women, or elderly. Today’s researchers also study consumers who are at
risk because they are from religious minorities, disabled, illiterate, homeless, indigent, lesbian, gay,
bisexual, or transgender. The authors identify four tensions affecting research on and policy and
marketing applications for at-risk populations: the value of focusing on (1) vulnerabilities versus
strengths, (2) radical versus marginal change, (3) targeting versus nontargeting, and (4) encouraging
knowledgeable versus naive consumers. They conclude with a discussion of the significance of
including at-risk consumers as full marketplace participants and identify future research directions.
Keywords
  • consumers,
  • risk,
  • social marketing
Publication Date
Spring 2011
Citation Information
Cornelia (Connie) Pechmann, Elizabeth S Moore, Alan R Andreasen, Paul M Connell, et al.. "Navigating the Central Tensions....pdf" Journal of Public Policy and Marketing Vol. 30 Iss. 1 (2011) p. 23 - 30 ISSN: 0743-9156
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/meryl-gardner/18/