Challenges in Marketing Socially Useful Goods to the Poor

Ross School of Business Paper No. 1135

California Management Review Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2009 Last revised: 4 Nov 2013

Bernard Garrette

HEC Paris - Strategy & Business Policy

Aneel G. Karnani

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Date Written: Feburary 0, 2010

Abstract

Market based solutions to alleviate poverty have become increasingly popular in recent years. Unfortunately, there are very few examples of profitable businesses that market socially useful goods in low-income markets and operate at a large scale. This article examines in-depth three case studies of multinational firms that tried to market unquestionably useful products -- clean water, eyeglasses, and nutritious yoghurt -- to the poor, and did not succeed commercially. The overarching lesson we draw from the case studies is that developing strategies for marketing socially useful goods to the poor, far from triggering a revolution in business thinking, requires firms to get back to the basic principles and rules of economics and business.

Keywords: Poverty reduction, bottom of the pyramid, economic development, social goods

JEL Classification: M14, O, O17

Suggested Citation

Garrette, Bernard and Karnani, Aneel G., Challenges in Marketing Socially Useful Goods to the Poor (Feburary 0, 2010). California Management Review Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1507757 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1507757

Bernard Garrette (Contact Author)

HEC Paris - Strategy & Business Policy ( email )

Jouy-en-Josas Cedex, 78351
France

Aneel G. Karnani

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Paper statistics

Downloads
429
Rank
52,962
Abstract Views
1,847