Targeted marketing and public health

Annu Rev Public Health. 2010;31:349-69. doi: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.012809.103607.


Targeted marketing techniques, which identify consumers who share common needs or characteristics and position products or services to appeal to and reach these consumers, are now the core of all marketing and facilitate its effectiveness. However, targeted marketing, particularly of products with proven or potential adverse effects (e.g., tobacco, alcohol, entertainment violence, or unhealthful foods) to consumer segments defined as vulnerable raises complex concerns for public health. It is critical that practitioners, academics, and policy makers in marketing, public health, and other fields recognize and understand targeted marketing as a specific contextual influence on the health of children and adolescents and, for different reasons, ethnic minority populations and other populations who may benefit from public health protections. For beneficial products, such understanding can foster more socially productive targeting. For potentially harmful products, understanding the nature and scope of targeted marketing influences will support identification and implementation of corrective policies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Culture
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Health Status Disparities
  • Humans
  • Public Health*
  • Public Policy
  • Social Marketing*
  • Vulnerable Populations