In a broad sense, this course is focused on understanding issues concerning marketing to the base of the pyramid (BoP) in emerging economies, and (2) marketing by the base of the pyramid. Low income or BoP markets sometimes represent the largest markets in terms of number of people as well as total income. The focus of this course is on the Indian market. Through an analysis of cases and selected readings, the course will attempt to identify the principal challenges in serving low-income markets and the key factors that lead to success or failure. To address the second objective, we will discuss how low income populations can become co-producers in value creation and the challenges facing enterprise development in this sector. An important component will be guest lectures from luminaries working in the intersection of social enterprise and marketing.
We will put a lot of the classroom learning into practice by working (in teams of four students) as marketing consultants with a social enterprise client based in India. Eight of these consulting projects are described in the syllabus. The course requires all students to travel to Hyderabad, India during the Spring Break to facilitate learning about the client’s business and customers. Student teams and their clients are expected to be in close contact via email or Skype throughout the semester. Before the trip to India, teams should make sure they have a good understanding of the project background and that they have done all necessary secondary research. We will also set aside time in class to work on the projects and move them forward. However, you will be required to devote several hours outside of class to work in teams on the project. Clients will work with their teams to prepare an itinerary for their trip to India, making sure that the teams can conduct the research needed in order to complete the consulting assignment succesfully. At the end of the course, students will make recommendations to their client addressing the marketing challenges outlined in the project description. The main course deliverable is this presentation. The presentation deck should be annotated to provide additional detail and submitted.
In terms of course content, the course consists of four modules. The first one features insights into the Indian Market and Social Enterprise. The second module showcases innovations in Social Enterprise in India. The third module, when we return from India, consists of discussions on how to overcome barriers to adoption of innovations. The final module discusses how to overcome challenges to scaling and profitability, including communication, distribution and pricing issues.
Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business
Gita V. Johar (PhD NYU 1993; MBA Indian Institute of Management Calcutta 1985) has been on the faculty of Columbia Business School since 1992 and is currently the Meyer Feldberg Professor of Business. She served as the school’s Senior Vice Dean from 2011 to 2014, as the inaugural Vice Dean for...