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SanMark is well fitted to CLTS which discourages subsidy. It is evident however that in very rural communities there are needy people who may not manage to pay for sanitation products being promoted. How could the distribution strategy be modified to ensure that the critical needy people get them with ease?

A good sanitation marketing strategy will have products and services that meet the needs and wants of a range of customer segments. Just as a firm like Nokia make phones at different prices with different features to meet different customer segments so can a sanitation marketing strategy. If you have decided against subsidy as an approach (which can be important in market based approaches, because subsidies can distort the market if the subsidy is given on the product) then one way to differentiate or segment the market is to have different products aimed at different groups within the market. You mention very rural communities who may not manage to pay - perhaps for these communities, a subsidy is needed? Perhaps this subsidy can be given in the form of output based aid, or a voucher scheme so that the price of the product does not change (thus the market does not get distorted). The complexity of this approach is deciding on the criteria of 'who is needy'.

Some approaches wait until the market has reached saturation by those who are willing and able to pay, before reaching out to those who are less able. If you think about more commercial products - products filter down from higher economics quintiles to lower, because products are aspirational. Rarely do the private sector target the base of the pyramid, and hope that the product filters upwards. You rarely look to someone who you consider to be of a lower socio-economic standing to yourself and want to emulate them in terms of a product they have. But you mention a key aspect of reaching the poor and that is the 'distribution strategy' - this is one of the 4p's in marketing or 'place'. We have to consider where our consumers are, where they go, and where we can intersect with them. This is why SaniMarts have failed to make as many sales as we had hoped because they are specialized centers so consumers have already had to decided to purchase or upgrade a latrine before visiting (which involves a set of behaviours).

An ideal marketing strategy involves intercepting some of your consumers at 'places' where they will be, where perhaps they were not thinking about sanitation, but it provides you with an opportunity to engage them and interest them and even sell to them. For rural consumers this might be the local markets which move to trading centers each week, it might be through health posts, it might be by designing a product range (e.g. plastics) which can be sold through an existing supply chain. The important thing is to do formative research with the target group you are trying to reach. Study them - where do they go, what do they do, what items do they currently have in their households, and what are the supply chains for those items - is it possible to make an improved latrine using those existing supply chains, as that will be much easier than trying to establish a supply chain from zero.

Answer thanks to:

Yolande Coombes

Yolande Coombes has more than 20 years experience in public health, behavior change and evaluation. She gained her PhD in Public Health from the University of London. She has held academic positions at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and College of Medicine in Malawi. As a consultant she has worked on topics on a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases. She has worked for both Population Services International and Marie Stopes International providing technical social marketing, behavior change, franchising and M&E support. In 2007 she took up a position as a specialist consultant in sanitation marketing and hygiene with WSP and became a staff member in 2010 responsible for leading WSP’s sanitation and hygiene work in Africa, including task managing the AfricaSan 3 conference in 2011.


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Juan Carlos commented on 04-Sep-2020 10:31 PM
I want to express my gratitude to this writer who writes very well and cover all the information on the topic. I have never read this information before. This is really an amazing topic which means a lot.MDS Fulfillment

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