Marketing to the BOP: A case study research

Emila Ozegovic

Student thesis: Master thesis

Abstract

This thesis is set out to explore how three different MNCs have been successful in marketing to the BOP. The BOP has been a challenging market for companies that seek to make profit. While the vast majorities of companies have seen these challenges as impossible barriers, others have pursued strategies of experimentation in developing unique products and services for some of the world‘s most needy consumers. Although the buying power of the individual BOP consumer is low, the future potential of the market appears very attractive and as a result MNCs have been busy exploring this untapped potential by implementing innovative marketing strategies. The relationship between the four P‘s of marketing – product, price, place and promotion – and the four BOP marketing challenges – awareness, availability, accessibility and affordability – provides a broad framework that is explored in the thesis. An understanding of the BOP market and the appropriate marketing strategies remain very limited, this thesis will therefore try to elaborate on the four A‘s and propose a theoretical framework of marketing to the BOP with the help of the MNC cases. The cases chosen have to meet the three conditions of the BOP logic, which are; that the product or service is profitable, that it is actually serving the poor and that it is good for the poor (Karnani, 2011). There are only a few positive examples of MNCs that fulfill these three criteria‘s in developing and selling a product or service. The three cases chosen are Tata – Swach in India, SC Johnson - Community Cleaning Services in Kenya and Nestlé Brazil – Products of the Brazilian factory. The marketing strategy that can be drawn from these three cases, is the development and the connection of the four P‘s to the four A‘s. Contributing to the four A‘s of the BOP marketing mix, is the fifth A – aspiration – which is equally important in the marketing process, because the people of the BOP and their aspiration is the connection to many of the informal procedures, and an important factor in making the other four A‘s applicable. The thesis concludes that the three MNCs have succeeded in marketing to the BOP by changing the original four P‘s of marketing into the five A‘s of BOP aimed marketing. The dominant lesson drawn from these case studies and the marketing mix theory is, that developing BOP strategies requires companies to get back to the basic principles and rethink marketing strategies and better understanding and appreciate the consumers (Garrette & Karnani, 2010).

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
LanguageEnglish
Publication date2011
Number of pages88