Emerging markets: Learn from the poor

Christopher Crosnier

Marketing to the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ has evolved from devising affordable ways to connect the third-world poor to brands and is relevant to recession-hit consumers in the developed world

Since CK Prahalad and Stuart L Hart posted their first article online exploring marketing to the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BOP) in 1997, initiatives have evolved rapidly to capture the buying power of the globe's poorest people, who spend an estimated $ 10bn each day.

There have been concerns over whether it is possible to build businesses that are both responsible and profitable at the bottom of the pyramid, as demonstrated by recent criticisms of the Grameen Bank – ‘the bank for the poor’. Despite such doubts, it is clear that there is much we can learn from the evolution of BOP marketing in emerging economies.