Marketing to subsistence consumers: Lessons from practice

Kelly L. Weidner, José Antonio Rosa, Madhu Viswanathan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-569
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Bottom of the pyramid
  • Subsistence consumers
  • Subsistence marketplaces

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Marketing


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