Marketing at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Serving, and in the Service of Low-Income Consumers

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Most academic studies in marketing have focused on advanced economies and fast-developing, large emerging markets (Sharma & Lascu, 2018). Until recently, only a few marketing studies have addressed subsistence markets; yet, there are over 4 billion bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) consumers living below less than 1.25 dollars a day in underserved areas worldwide (Kaplinsky, 2011; Sharma & Lascu, 2018). The present study attempts to bridge the gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive review of the theory and practice addressing the subject of marketing at the bottom of the pyramid, focusing on marketing approaches to BOP consumers that both efficiently sell products to this market and enrich their quality of life. The study suggests that selling products to the bottom of the pyramid may be profitable, but companies must be creative in their approach to formulating marketing strategies in order to engage BOP consumers and earn a profit. Marketers should also cater to BOP consumers’ needs in order to foster strong and enduring relationships.

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