Countermarketing and Demarketing against Product Diversion: Forensic Research in the Firearms Industry

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Countermarketing and Demarketing against Product Diversion: Forensic Research in the Firearms Industry

Category: Firearm Availability, Gun Markets|Journal: Journal of Public Policy and Marketing (full text)|Author: G Gundlach, K Bradford, W Wilkie|Year: 2010

Few marketing problems in society lead to the tragedy of harm that can result when firearms are diverted from the legal to the illegal marketplace. Product diversion is itself a serious concern for marketers, especially marketers of potentially dangerous products, such as tobacco, alcohol, firearms, and pharmaceuticals. These products may be sought and obtained by consumers who occupy illegal markets or are intent on using them for illegal purposes, leading to adverse consequences for other consumers, marketers, and society at large. Drawing on established marketing principles and accepted methods of forensic research, this article reports on a large-scale study of the diversion of handguns in the United States and the countermarketing and demarketing efforts of firearm marketers to safeguard against its occurrence through their distribution systems. The findings suggest that (1) significant diversion of handguns to illegal markets occurred in the United States during a recent period, (2) industry marketers varied widely in their use of safeguards against this diversion but, on average, engaged in few countermarketing and demarketing measures, and (3) the safeguarding efforts engaged in were found to reduce both diversion and its resultant crimes. The study and its findings provide an understanding of the nature and effects of firearm diversion and the use of countermarketing and demarketing safeguards to reduce its occurrence. The study also demonstrates the use of data and data collection methodologies from the legal process to inform questions about marketing, including controversial aspects of its practice. Overall, the research adds to extant thinking on countermarketing and demarketing as well as the related areas of social marketing, corporate responsibility, and public health.

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