Yahoo Essay

2766 words - 12 pages

CASE 3-3 Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid
Professor C. K. Prahalad’s seminal publication, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid, suggests an enormous market at the “bottom of the pyramid” (BOP)—a group of some 4 billion people who subsist on less than $2 a day. By some estimates, these “aspirational poor,” who make up three-fourths of the world’s population, represent $14 trillion in purchasing power, more than Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, France, and Japan put together. Demographically, it is young and growing at 6 percent a year or more. Traditionally, the poor have not been considered an important market segment. “The poor can’t afford most products”; “they will not ...view middle of the document...

Designing products for the BOP is not about making cheap stuff but about making technologically advanced products affordable. For example, one company was inspired to invent the Freeplay, a windup self-power–generating radio, when it learned that isolated, impoverished people in South Africa were not getting information about AIDS because they had no electricity for radios and could not afford replacement batteries. intermediaries were bypassed, and ITC gained a direct contact with the farmers, thus improving the efficiency of ITC’s soybean acquisition. To achieve this goal, it had to do much more than just distribute PCs. It had to provide equipment for managing power outages, solar panels for extra electricity, and a satellite-based telephone hookup, and it had to train farmers to use the PCs. Without these steps, the PCs would never have worked. The complex solution serves ITC very well. Now more than 10,000 villages and more than 1 million farmers are covered by its system. ITC is able to pay more to farmers and at the same time cut its costs because it has dramatically reduced the inefficiencies in logistics. The vast market for cell phones among those at the BOP is not for phones costing $200 or even $100 but for phones costing less than $50. Such a phone cannot simply be a cut-down version of an existing handset. It must be very reliable and have lots of battery capacity, as it will be used by people who do not have reliable access to electricity. Motorola went thorough four redesigns to develop a low-cost cell phone with battery life as long as 500 hours for villagers without regular electricity and an extra-loud volume for use in noisy markets. Motorola’s lowcost phone, a no-frills cell phone priced at $40, has a standby time of two weeks and conforms to local languages and customs. The cell-phone manufacturer says it expects to sell 6 million cell phones in six months in markets including China, India, and Turkey.

BOP MARKETING REQUIRES CREATIVE FINANCING
There is also demand for personal computers but again, at very low prices. To meet the needs of this market, Advanced Micro Devices markets a $185 Personal Internet communicator—a basic computer for developing countries—and a Taiwan Company offers a similar device costing just $100. For most products, demand is contingent on the customer having sufficient purchasing power. Companies have to devise creative ways to assist those at the BOP to finance larger purchases. For example, Cemex, the world’s third-largest cement company, recognized an opportunity for profit by enabling lower-income Mexicans to build their own homes. The company’s Patrimonio Hoy Programme, a combination builder’s “club” and financing plan that targets homeowners who make less than $5 a day, markets building kits using its premiumgrade cement. It recruited 510  promoters to persuade new customers to commit to building additions to their homes. The customers paid Cemex $11.50 a week and received building...

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