The interviews are just about done. The competitive research is complete, as is an assessment of viable marketing and distribution options. After several weeks in Africa and many weeks of research ahead of time, I’ve put together a 2.5 page document outlining the key findings and recommendations for the water filter marketing strategy. I’ve previously posted several key findings and won’t repeat them now. Instead, I’ll just include an excerpt of the recommendations. If you’d like to see the full document, just let me know and I’ll be more than happy to send it your way. I’d love to hear your comments on the recommendations below. Tomorrow I’ll post the sample road side signs. Also note that new pictures are available through the Flickr link on the right.
Promotion – Overall the biggest barrier to mass adoption will be lack of awareness, which can be overcome with continuous marketing efforts
1. Traditional advertising
- Roadside signs
- In-store signs (similar to Safaricom’s “Top up here”)
- Flyers / brochures
- Joshua’s radio program
2. Community presentation
- Community / Women’s groups
3. Market demonstrations (live performances / demos)
- Kiminini Market
Distribution – A broad distribution network is required to reach a relatively disbursed population, especially given the need to pay in installment
- Dukas in Kiminini, Kitale, and in villages will likely be the primary distribution channel given the quantity of dukas and their ability to sell in installments given their personal relationship with customers
- Direct sales – We can hire and train commission-based salespeople to sell the filters directly to individuals. These people can also give community group presentations and market demonstrations.
- Allow doctors and health offices to sell the filters. In addition, if allowed by law, it would be great to check with the medical community to see where cases of typhoid are being reported so we can quickly target those communities (legitimate fear of typhoid is a huge and valid motivator)
- KCP could sell directly, but I recommend against undercutting the market on price. We can set the price we would like to see in the market, but undercutting dukas jeopardizes those relationships and will drastically reduce coverage.
- Community groups can help members purchase filters in two ways
- Groups can establish a filter merry-go-round fund where x members contribute Price/x shillings every 2-4 weeks to purchase a filter for one member. The process is repeated until all members have a filter.
- KCP can sell filters to the community group either for cash or on credit, and the group can sell to its members using whatever terms they prefer. Selling to a community group on credit is less risk for KCP due to the social pressure to repay, potential joint liability, and greater ability to find and repossess filters from people who default.
- We should sell the filters at the lowest price that allows KCP to operate at a minimum of break even plus profit used to invest in plant maintenance, financial reserves, and fair employee compensation.
- If KCP sells directly to individuals, we can set a fair price but should not undercut the 10-15% markup required by our distribution partners. The 10-15% amount was obtained from Khetia’s (largest store in Kitale) staff, but should be validated with the duka network.
- It will be critical for us to be able to advertise that the filters are available for purchase in installments. As such, dukas selling the filter should be told of this expectation, and we should consider not using dukas who refuse these terms. Exceptions should be made for larger stores like Khetia’s and Subiri supermarket.