Marketing to the Poor: An Integrative Justice Model for Engaging Impoverished Marketing Segments
Journal of Public Policy & Marketing
The relatively recent entry of multinational corporations (MNCs) into low-income markets, particularly in developing countries, affords the opportunity for the more inclusive capitalism envisioned by globalists. Alternatively, an expansion of MNC marketing in less developed economies might foreshadow the greater exploitation of disadvantaged consumers predicted by many critics of expanded free trade. To diffuse the charge of “exploitative” marketing, it is imperative that corporate marketing efforts seeking to engage impoverished segments be grounded in a strong ethical framework. This article unveils one such framework—the “integrative justice model” (IJM). The IJM is an aspirational model that outlines how to market ethically to disadvantaged consumers in both developed and developing countries. The authors derive the elements of this model from frameworks of moral philosophy and management theory. Although the IJM is normative in nature, the authors connect it to real-world examples, which provides MNCs that market to the poor practical benchmarks for conducting their business operations with fairness and equity. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the IJM for public policy.