This post is for bloggers, freelance content writers, digital marketing agencies offering low-cost content marketing service. This post will tell you the important things to consider while getting your content in front of the target audience (Bottom of the Pyramid consumers).
How I propose the implications:
So, I have based these recommendations on research papers. Some of the implications are obvious. The point here is to aggregate the dots so that you can connect them yourself.
What this post contains:
Bottom of the Pyramid or ‘BoP’ is a segment of people at the bottom of economic wealth. CK Prahalad popularized the concept of this demographic segment by stating an unprecedented capitalistic opportunity in his paper “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid”. He argued that firms can help alleviate poverty among this section of the consumer base while still making profits.
Examples of successful business models targeting BoP segment:
- Shampoos, soaps in small packets
- Micro finance
- Economies of scale and low-cost product – Hindustan Unliver’s Pureit, Wheel Detergent
- Better distribution system & propagation of offline content – ITC Chaupal
- Leveraging Existing distribution system: Manila Water
Content marketing for Base of the pyramid audience is a fairly untapped niche. Since companies (even with all the market research) would need on ground expertise to get their content in front of their target audience, you can prove to be a good fit for their consulting and execution needs. You can do this by showing them that you understand the BoP audience better and you can be a good value addition to their list of vendors.
This is what you should keep in mind while getting the content created for your audience:
- Consumers are price sensitive, even a slight difference in price points play a major role for the buying decision of the consumer in BoP.
- Requires value driven marketing, since consumers expect a lot more utility as compared to the other segment.
- Requires research on behavior/patterns (derivable from market research)
- Requires incentivization, because word may not travel to the next village across the highway.
Managerial Implications for content marketers
- Sumedha Chauhan et al. Proposed that factors inhibiting internet adoption among the bottom of the pyramid are digital literacy, language barrier among other factors.
- For any product/service, you need to create extensive how tos, tutorials and complete manual material. Please note that the material should be in multiple forms. A text guide on how to use the product may not make sense, since your audience may be reluctant to read long texts. In this case, video content/ visual stories can help.
- Your content should be easily translatable to local languages. This can help speed up content consumption and easy adoption of your product/service.
Factors inhibiting the internet adoption by base of the pyramid in India. Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance. Vol. 20(4):323-336. DOI: 10.1108/DPRG-01-2018-0001
- Sachin Shukla and Sreyamsa Bairiganjan in their publication addressing distribution challenges at the bottom of the pyramid offers insights into the already lying structures in the market and how one can leverage them. Particularly interesting is the matrix under the “Mapping requirements for Rural BoP Distribution Channels” section in the paper.
- Create extremely easy to understand materials for these audiences. This can be low effort, snackable content that can inspire minds to spend for services/goods.
- Since information dissemination among different communities is lower/non-existent, it is imperative to make “partners”/ “Affiliates” to disseminate the information further. This would again require material that they can disseminate to others who have similar literacy levels.
Shukla, S., & Bairiganjan, S. (2011). The Base of Pyramid distribution challenge. Centre for Development Finance, Chennai.
- Erik Simanis in his paper “Reality Check at the Bottom of the Pyramid” argued that for companies to successfully execute its low cost, low margin, high volume products strategy at scale, they need market penetration of >30%. Companies with existing distribution systems have been able to execute this, but not others. According to Erik, the failure of many company’s attempt is because the steep learning curve for new products, logistical challenges, lack of ‘cultural competence’
He further suggested localized base products sold as a bundle, providing an enabling service, and customer peer groups to solve the issues.
- Standardizing training materials to impart soft skills for product/service advocacy among the customer peer groups.
- Imo, tricks used by multi-level marketing schemes can be used for the good here.
Simanis, E. (2012). Reality check at the bottom of the pyramid. Harvard Business Review, 90(6), 120-125.
One might argue, on the basis of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, if a person is at the extreme bottom, they would first focus on getting food and shelter. Content strategy would make sense only when they have a phone or internet access.
I would like you to focus on Digitisation and economic development that is happening. India, Indonesia and China’s BoP market is shrinking. This naturally means increased spending power. Also, according to CK Prahalad, innovation adoption is higher among the BoP segments. This points to the segment of the people not exactly at the bottom but rising from the segment, where they have more real income gains, and they can afford to think beyond the basic necessities and requirements.
This market research from “Euromonitor International” has some good stats on the spending patterns of top 5 BoP markets in the world – India, Nigeria, China, Indonesia and South Africa. This study can help us strategize for content differently for these geographies. It is important to note that due to this data, you can realize that there is no one size-fits all package in content marketing strategy for BoP.
This post is an attempt to initiate a discussion for everyone to share their views on how content marketing is different when you are targeting a segment with the lowest of low-income groups. All types of comments are welcome.