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31 October 2020
Marketing Effectively to the Bottom of the Pyramid
This Special Issue will publish papers that explore consumer marketing for the Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP). The BOP has been described as the 50 to 60 percent of the global population (about 4 billion people) who live in the poorest parts of the world. To businesses, BOP can be defined as an economic development model, by which multinational companies can provide support for these poverty-stricken regions while also growing sales and profits in those areas.
The importance of the BOP cannot be denied. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals prioritized alleviating worldwide poverty. BOP views the poverty-stricken areas as economic opportunities for multinationals, due to vast untapped potential, which nonetheless are difficult and challenging to access. If successful in unlocking the BOP, however, multinationals will help to alleviate poverty, while at the same time will reap sales and profit rewards.
The opportunities that await in the BOP are not accessibly only to multinationals. Local entrepreneurs have been successful in building products from the ground up, at very low cost, using whatever materials are handy (for example, a kind of refrigerator or cooling device made of clay that does not use electricity). Thus, the BOP is potentially a good place to look for examples of creative innovation through bricolage, or using whatever is available.
There has been much written on BOP since the groundbreaking work of the noted strategy professor C. K. Prahalad. We now have a literature stream that has described several successful cases of big firms that have succeed in adapting their products and/or distribution systems to reach the BOP, and of local entrepreneurs who have cleverly designed products that meet the specific needs of their market at very low cost. We are hoping to move this literature stream forward, by examining strategies and programs that improve the rate of success and provide guidance to management as to how best to capitalize on this emerging market while simultaneously improving quality of life for those living in the poorest parts of the world.
The Journal of International Consumer Marketing is interested in all aspects of global consumer marketing, but has published relatively few articles on the BOP. We are commissioning a Special Issue on this topic to shed light on the opportunities and challenges facing both big and small companies in how to approach the consumer market in the BOP. We are hoping this Special Issue will become a go-to issue for researchers in the area of BOP marketing, and will inspire future research studies in this stream.
This Special Issue welcomes manuscripts related to the issue of consumer marketing in the BOP. Invited topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
- How best to develop consumer products for the BOP
- Innovation strategies for the BOP: product adaptation or building new products from the ground up
- The BOP and bricolage: building low-cost products from whatever is available
- New consumer products developed by entrepreneurs out of necessity
- Modes of distribution of consumer products in the BOP
- How to effectively promote and advertise to consumers in the BOP
- Emerging consumer needs in the BOP
- How big or small companies can take products developed in the BOP and market them effectively in developed markets
- Making cost and price decisions on consumer products in the BOP
- The BOP and corporate social responsibility; BOP and corporate mission
Of course, this is a partial list, and other similar topics on BOP as it pertains to consumer marketing will also be acceptable. If in doubt, please contact the Special Issue Editor.
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- For formatting, please follow the instructions for submission on the JICM webpage.
- Typical page length is roughly 30-40 pages including everything (references, tables, figures, appendices, etc.), Times New Roman 12 font with normal margins double-spaced.
- Conceptual and theoretical papers are acceptable, as well as empirical papers. All methodologies are welcome (survey, interview, case study, experiment, action research, etc.).
- Expected publication date: Late 2021.
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