How can we develop marketing approaches that successfully serve the poorest?

However, in the absence of a proper methodology, and with traditional mass marketing campaigns often ineffective, technological innovation is not achieving the expected success among “Base of the Pyramid” (BoP) groups.

One of the priority challenges facing development actors is to design and implement hybrid strategies and innovative business approaches that are profitable, scalable and can eradicate social and environmental problems.

In contrast with the general belief, low-income groups are not sensitive to price: far from seeking the cheapest device, they are willing to pay more for  a guarantee that the device will provide the intended functional benefits. Understanding and relying on the social dynamics of the village is essential. Direct (“below-the-line”) marketing actions conducted in villages, demonstrations in public places or small groups, are essential for communicating product benefits …

To help all businesses and NGOs involved in marketing consumer durables learn from existing best practices, the global consultancy firm Hystra has summarised 10 key lessons from studies conducted among 15 pioneers of BoP marketing. GERES has been identified as one of 15 organisations in Asia, Africa and Latin America that has put best practices into practice in relation to marketing consumer durables with a high social impact to vulnerable groups.

A case study analyses our model in Cambodia, which consists of modernising local value chains by incorporating new products into the traditional sales and manufacturing channels. Among other things, the report emphasises how, while training existing cook stove manufacturers to make improved cook stoves, GERES has been able to organise the value chain so that each player makes more money.

In all four corners of the world, dozens of teams are now establishing similar sales and marketing models. Collaboration among peers will enable them to share best practices, benchmark and improve their performance and, ultimately, bring the benefits of  innovative products and services to more families living at the Base of the Pyramid.

Marketing innovative devices for the base of the pyramid: lessons from 15 global pioneers that challenge conventional sales and marketing approaches to successfully serve the poorest.

Sponsored by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Shell Foundation.

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