Billions of people around the world live in subsistence conditions. While this has traditionally been treated as a humanitarian challenge, it also represents a business opportunity. Academic research has yet to explore this notion adequately, particularly from the perspective of marketing. In this chapter, we draw on social capital theory to show how rich social ties in otherwise poor populations constitute assets that can be leveraged for the benefit of firms and consumers alike. Building on these ideas, we contend that a decentralized and externalized marketing structure should be more effective in subsistence contexts. Implications for research and practice are discussed.
Advances in International Management
Sprott School of Business

Ritchie, R.J.B, & Sridharan, S. (Srinivas). (2007). Marketing in Subsistence Markets: Innovation through Decentralization and Externalization. Advances in International Management. doi:10.1016/S1571-5027(07)20009-9