Visible sign of market creation for a product designed for social impact

Moneymaker pump, Nairobi Kenya June 2011

It struck me when I saw this Moneymaker pump by Kickstart on a street corner matatu stand in Nairobi while wandering around a market with Muchiri who was shopping for shoes. I’m giving this level of detail so you can see the context in which we spotted this classic and oft quoted example of a product designed for the ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (BoP or base of the pyramid) aka the lower income demographic. Its meant to assist in the alleviation of poverty by increasing the output of smalltime farmers.

We stopped to ask the man waiting with the pump what he was doing there – he was wearing a branded t-shirt with the product logo. Turns out he was on his way to deliver it to a new customer who had just purchased it.

This random sighting on the street to me is one of the best indicators of a product’s penetration and/or popularity. So often it happens, particularly in the design for social impact sector that the press release is often all there is to see or the product is showcased as a pilot program. I know that I’ve yet to hear about LifeTools in India via any mass media or notice its usage or mention by someone (and I’ve asked around in the target population segment in a couple of different locations) for example.  And that’s a huge company with a big marketing budget and India a major market.

Market creation (supported by customer education) is the biggest challenge/opportunity in these market segments.

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