Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid

Explore the values of Truth, Trust, Tribes, and Trials to reach customers in need

Course Details

  • Price: FREE
  • Start Date: OCT 10, 2017
  • Time: 4 hours/week
  • Duration: 6 weeks
  • Instructor: Seth Godin, Mary Pat Ryan, Lindsay Stradley

What You’ll Learn:

  • Understand your customer’s worldview and the emotions that influence their purchasing decisions.
  • Identify the most trusted sources of information for your customers.
  • Refine your marketing message by gaining deeper insights about your customers through a trial of your product or service
  • Learn the concept of WWITMF (Why and What would I Tell My Friends) and preparing for your trial


In this 4-module course, you’ll learn the 4Ts Framework (Truth, Trust, Tribes, and Trials) to help you deliver new solutions to customers living in emerging markets. You’ll explore and discuss case studies from Sanergy, an innovative company working to improve sanitation in urban slums and an Acumen investee. Through a deep examination of personal behavior and worldview, you will learn the role of emotions in customer decision-making, and reflect on ways to treat customers with dignity and respect.


Project-Based Course

Course Syllabus

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  • 4 reading guides highlighting case studies and examples
  • 4 workshop guides to help guide your journey from Truth to Trials
  • Video tutorials from marketing experts including Seth Godin, and Acumen investee Sanergy
Section 1: Introduction to the Course
  • Video: Marketing with Dignity
  • Reading: The Opposite of Poverty
  • Video: Buying for the First Time
  • Reading: Marketing to the Bottom of the Pyramid
  • Reading: What is Marketing?
  • Reading: Identify Your Marketing Challenge
  • Activity: Scoping Your Challenge
  • Case Study: Waterhealth International
  • Case Study: Esoko
  • Case Study: BioLite
  • Video: 3 Reasons We Still Haven’t Gotten Rid of Malaria
  • Activity: Defining Your Challenge
Section 2: Truth
  • Video: Truth in Customer’s Worldview
  • Video: Sanergy: Creating a Sustainable Sanitation Cycle in Kenya
  • Reading: The Nuts and Bolts of Lean Data Collection
  • Video: Seth Godin – Trust and Personal Worldview
  • Activity: Your Truth as a Consumer
  • Reading: 6 Emotions That Make Customers Buy
  • Reading: Your Target Customer’s Truth
  • Activity: Other’s Truth
  • Case Study: Sanergy
  • Video: Sanergy: Paths for Truth
  • Video: Sanergy: Still Uncovering the Truth
  • Reading: What is a Brand Pyramid?
  • Activity: Your Brand Pyramid
Section 3: Trust and Tribes
  • Video: Intro to Module 3
  • Reading: About This Module – Trust & Tribes
  • Reading: Trust Factory
  • Activity: What Does Trust Mean to You?
  • Reading: The way your Target Customers Trust
  • Video: Trust in a World of Risks
  • Video: Trust =/= Proof
  • Case Study: Sanergy
  • Video: Sanergy: The Face & Place of Trust
  • Activity: Trust Diagnosis
  • Reading: Tribes, The Keys to Developing Trust
  • Video: Tribes: People Like Me Do This
  • Video: Tribes: Stories to Bring
  • Reading: Tribe Management
  • Video: TED Interview: Tribes Author says People, Not Ads, Build Social Networks
  • Activity: Your Customer’s Tribes
Section 4: Trials
  • Video: WWITMF
  • Reading: About This Module – Trust & Tribes
  • Reading: Marketing Innovative Devices for the Base of the Pyramid
  • Reading: The Value of Trials
  • Video: Sanergy: Try, Try, Try & Trial Again
  • Video: Sanergy: Trials and Truth – Practice Both
  • Activity: The Why (of WWITMF)
  • Activity: The What (of WWITMF)
  • Reading: The 30 Things Customers Really Value
  • Reading: 10 Tips for Talking to Customers
  • Reading: Bring Me a Fan
  • Activity: Trial Planning
  • Podcast: +Acumen: “How are you making your customers feel beautiful”

Course Partners

Lindsay Stradley is the co-founder of Sanergy, a company that provides high quality sanitation in urban slums. She is based in Nairobi where she oversees Sanergy’s Operations and Consumer Marketing.

Mary Pat Ryan is an experienced marketer and operations executive who has advised the CEOs of Acumen investees on marketing. She is no stranger to figuring out how to bring new innovations to market, and had a hand in several new media businesses that transformed their industries, such as HBO, DirecTV, IMAX, and SiriusSatellite Radio.

Seth Godin is a marketing guru and the author of 18 books that have been bestsellers around the world and have been translated into more than 35 languages. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything.

What People Are Saying

Rebecca Willett, BoP Marketing Specialist, Agruppa

"This course changed my vision entirely of marketing, especially in the BoP context, and allowed me to have some amazing insights about our company’s target market and the messaging we need to reach them. Highly recommended!"

Rebecca Willett, BoP Marketing Specialist, Agruppa