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Marketing to the Bottom of Pyramid

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Journal of Business Research 63 (2010) 559–569

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Journal of Business Research

Marketing to subsistence consumers: Lessons from practice
Kelly L. Weidner a,⁎, José Antonio Rosa b, Madhu Viswanathan c a b c University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Managerial Studies, 601 S. Morgan Street (MC 243), Chicago, IL 60607, United States
University of Wyoming, Department of Management and Marketing, Dept. 3275, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071, United States
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 61 Wohlers Hall, 1206 South Sixth Street, Champaign, IL 61820, United States

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Article history:
Accepted 1 February 2009
Keywords:
Subsistence marketplaces
Subsistence consumers
Bottom of the pyramid

abstract
Over 4 billion people live in what is commonly referred to as the “bottom of the pyramid” or as subsistence marketplaces. These individuals and families live in substandard housing, with limited or no access to sanitation, potable water, and health care, have low levels of literacy, and earn very low incomes. Scholars and practitioners alike suggest that the problems existing in subsistence marketplaces demand the attention and involvement of responsible businesses and that doing business with consumers in such marketplaces can be both socially responsible and profitable. This research explores the strategies and tactics currently being used across commercial and social enterprises engaged in subsistence marketplaces. The analysis leads to recommendations about marketing practices currently used by companies and organizations that are successfully operating in subsistence marketplaces.
© 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Of the 6.5 billion members of the human community, approximately 800 million are at the top of the economic pyramid…...

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