I urge you to read an article titled “At the Base of the Pyramid”.  I disagree with much of it, but I guarantee a thought-provoking article.

For instance:

  • P&G states that “the real hurdle to cross when introducing a new product, in any market, is helping the consumer understand the benefit of doing something in a different way.”
  • Consumers “haven’t been conditioned to think that the products being offered are something one would even buy.” Sounds like consumers need a ringing bell to jump-start their Pavlovian response into purchasing bliss.
  • Marketers “must make the idea of paying money for the products seem natural, and they must induce consumers to fit those goods into their long-held routines.”

What?!

The fact that companies can induce customers into making a purchase is part of what makes capitalism work, but it also plays a part (think fast food) in why 18.9% of adults in the healthiest state (Colorado) are clinically obese.  Can slick marketing increase sales?  Sure, but at what cost?  Instead:

  • Make products valuable to consumers so paying is natural.  Then there will be no need to induce them to purchase.
  • Start with the consumer and deliver a product that meets a need.  That alone should provide the foundation for a business plan.

The pivot point is that we will all be better off if we identify what consumers need, versus what we can get them to pay for.  It doesn’t matter whether the market is the Third World or Disney World.

(Towards the end of the article you’ll notice that the author’s intent is to encourage (and enlist) community support when developing a market.  Part of that development is to:  see which products might be useful, determine which ones would be profitable to ultimately answer the question of which products consumers will value.  Now that makes sense!)

Third World or Disney World?
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