Marketing evidently has a huge potential for change in BoP markets, especially with so many companies, both local and international vying for attention in such a crowded arena.
I’ve been working on developing appropriate technology in Sierra Leone, with the goal of starting several Social Enterprises based around sustainable water provision. In my view marketing approaches could dramatically increase the sustainability of the water wells and hand pumps we install. In many cases hand pumps are out of action within 1 year of being installed, and this often seems to be down to a lack of motivation from within the community to maintain the equipment. Wells put in by NGOs and governments are often part of big water access projects motivated by headline ‘development’ statistics and donor marketing. They rarely seem to be requested by the actual communities themselves. In other words the installation of wells is ‘push’ driven by the donor/NGO rather than being demanded by the community.
I wonder what would happen if NGOs and Governments, or even local Social Enterprises like ours focussed more intelligent marketing at beneficiaries? Could we create a strong emotional demand for wells, even though they are donated at no cost to the community?
I believe that sometime in our rush to install ‘life-saving’ products and systems, we often forget about the emotional needs that underline all human motivations…