It is always interesting to see how researchers do their best at finding the « catchy motto » that will make its way through the mind of everyone. In marketing, everybody knows about the 4Ps, but what happens when talking about the specific BoP market that is still quite fresh in terms of academic research?
I found two of those approaches in the field of marketing that are quite interesting, among others things because they do not highlight the same problematics.
The first one, called the 4A’s, comes a paper written by C.K Prahalad for the Journal of Product Innovation Management. His focus is on the BoP as a source for breakthrough innovation.
First of all, marketing managers working on BoP markets need to create an Awareness of the product and service. Basically, it comes down to making sure that everyone there understands that it is available and know how to use it.
Second, companies should generate an Access to it. These markets can be difficult to access and this should be overcome.
Third, the supply should be Affordable for the local people’s wallet. This is a real challenge in the sense that it means dividing product or service’s price by a 50 or 100 figure…
Fourth and last, what is produced should be Available. Building a relationship is of tantamount importance since markets sometimes do not exist, and the companies should see this strategy not as a market development one, but as a market creation one, with implies a different customer relationship management.
The second approach is called the 5D’s and was proposed by Niti Bhan from Emerging Futures Lab. She proposes that the first thing that should be taken into account it Development. By this, she implies that selling any kind of product or service should have an immediate value for the Bop Consumers. Keeping in mind that money is scarce, BoP people need to make trade-off everyday, so if success is to be met, it is through a more or less immediate value creation.
Then comes Design. The underlying idea being that producing the same supply but lowering the price will definitely not be sufficient. BoP customer are not as “trapped” in western style consumerism as we are, and this makes an huge challenge in terms of adapting and redesigning the supply.
Her point on Distribution is quite close from the one of Prahalad on Accessibility and Availability. Here, we find new distribution strategies such as “piggybacking” or the one set up by Essilor in India.
Demand is about human centered analysis : how does a company manage its advertisement and communication in order to resonate with the Bop consumer ?
Her last point on Dignity is extremely interesting and can be found in the “design for all” approach: in creating a dedicated supply, company should ensure that it does stigmatize the BoP consumer. Put differently, the product or service cannot be perceived as a “designed and produced for the poor”. BoP consumers are like any other ones on this point and do not want to have something that will highlight their current economical situation.
It is quite interesting to see that these two analyses both underline the complexity of the BoP consumer and the difficulty to address them. Marketing managers from Western countries will really have to change their mindset and develop new sets of tools if they want to work efficiently, but is also seems that there is much left to be done in order to fully understand BoP question.