Acta Univ. Agric. Silvic. Mendelianae Brun. 2011, 59, 9-14
Published online 2014-07-07

Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid and subsistence markets – A research agenda

Avinash G. Mulky

B-205, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore 560076, India

The concepts of Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP) and subsistence markets have attracted substantial academic and managerial attention in recent years. The BOP thesis states that there are opportunities for multinational companies to achieve significant revenues and profitability by designing and implementing marketing programs aimed at people who occupy the lowest tier in the world’s economic pyramid. The number of people in this segment has been estimated to be between 2.7 billion and 4 billion. This paper reviews the academic literature on BOP and subsistence markets and identifies important issues related to marketing to these consumers. The review is based on journal articles that have appeared in peer-reviewed journals and on case studies published by reputed academic institutions. The literature review first identifies a number of business issues like size of BOP market, motivations for undertaking BOP initiatives, ethics and linkages. Then specific marketing issues related to the BOP segment such as consumer analysis, company analysis, collaborators, competition and context, segmentation and positioning and issues relating to marketing program design and implementation are analyzed. Based on this analysis, the paper develops a research agenda for future research on BOP and subsistence markets.


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