The bottom of the pyramid is a marketing concept that strategically taps into the vast combined buying power of the poor. Thanks to Professor C.K. Prahalad’s seminal publication, ‘The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid’, this premise has recently gained traction among business leaders; however, the concept itself is not new. It was on April 7th, 1932 during the Great Depression, where President Franklin Roosevelt spoke about the bottom up theory while addressing the country over the radio. “These unhappy times call for the building of plans that rest upon the forgotten, the unorganized but the indispensable units of economic power...that build from the bottom up and not from the top down, that put their faith once more in the forgotten man at the bottom of the economic pyramid.” (Wikipedia, 2013). Just as Roosevelt explains, the market of the poor is all too often forgotten about, but just as Professor Prahalad uncovers it has great hidden business potential. As explained in the article, ‘Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid’, the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) holds great unexploited market potential and makes up approximately 4 billion people. Although these people live on less than $2 a day and are considered the poorest of the poor, they account for three-fourths of the world’s population and represent $14 trillion in purchasing power. In an age of increasing global competition and market saturation marketing to the bottom of the pyramid may have real potential and be worthy of exploration. Through analysis of marketing to the BOP, we will assess the opportunities and challenges around technology, finance, distribution, and social responsibility to determine if this approach is truly viable and cost effective.
Bottom of the pyramid requires advanced technology. Despite the assumption that traditional BOP consumers do not want to adopt innovation, Prahalad explains that the BOP embrace technology when given the opportunity. Additionally, because...
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