A Subject Worth Reading: Marketing To BOP Consumers – Dipanjan From IIM Calcutta

So here I was opening my course pack of 4th semester with a gloomy face. Yes… I was back to my college, IIM Calcutta, after having completed my summer internship with P&G under their BRM role. The exposure and knowledge that I had gained working under experienced professionals who achieve new heights everyday in their domain, was immense. To me, theory looked a mirage now. I thought that it was so easy to do marketing. All one needs is a bunch of ideas put in place using new advertising methods, social media, print ads and all gimmicks we read in the bible “Kotler”. Sadly and fortunately my illusion was awaiting a major setback in the upcoming months.

I had taken up Marketing to BOP consumers as an elective course during my 4th semester. With a lot of enthusiasm, I entered my 1st lecture.  The next 1.5 hours is what left me shattered for a few days. More than 5 billion people in the world live than less than $2 per person per day and the fortune at the BOP is approximately $15 trillion nearly 20 times the size of FMCG giants. Yet only a few firms have ventured to unearth such huge fortunes. We have heard about companies fighting for market share and investing crores to penetrate the market by 1%. So what stopped them for venturing into the BOP world? The answer was all the traditional marketing knowledge has to be unlearnt and new innovative ways re-learnt to entice the BOP consumers to purchase the branded products. From having low education, low disposable income, low access to resources to being media dark, all problems arise together when trying to reach the BOP consumers. Mr. Prahalad, the father of the subject, in his book mentions innumerable ways and tactics to handle such pressure cooker situations.

As a small tip: “Do not try and market the marketed, try and market the un-marketed”.