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Base of the Pyramid Markets: Culture Insights and Marketing Implications

Part 6. International Marketing

  1. Cheryl Nakata

Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9781444316568.wiem06021

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing

How to Cite

Nakata, C. 2010. Base of the Pyramid Markets: Culture Insights and Marketing Implications. Wiley International Encyclopedia of Marketing.

Author Information

  1. University of Illinois, Chicago, IL, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 DEC 2010

Abstract

Most of the world's population is poor and lives on less than $1–2 a day in developing countries. Known as the “base of the pyramid” (BOP), this population represents a largely untapped market for global businesses. Till recently, global businesses were content to pursue the middle and the top of the pyramid segments, which are open to and have the means to buy a wide assortment of goods and services. However, as growth of these markets has slowed down, businesses are now seeking new customers and sales. The BOP is perhaps the largest remaining global market frontier. Though the BOP market presents enormous opportunities, it also poses unrivaled challenges given its immense scale and deep deprivations. A chief need is knowledge of the market's culture, so that firms can develop effective and beneficial marketing approaches. This article explores the complex and dynamic BOP culture, elaborating how it is characterized by shared values and limited opportunities, a paradox of scarcity and abundance, embeddedness in layers of cultural influences, and heterogeneous meanings in its response to other cultures. On the basis of these insights, marketing insights are arrived at for firms to meet successfully the needs of the BOP consumers, who have historically been excluded from the global marketplace.

Keywords:

  • base of the pyramid (BOP);
  • subsistence markets;
  • developing countries;
  • culture;
  • marketing