WEBINAR SERIES: how to viably market and distribute beneficial products to the BoP


Businesses are struggling to activate demand for their products among the Base of the Pyramid (BoP). Since CK Prahalad described the “Fortune at the Base of the Pyramid” over ten years ago, hundreds of for-profit and not-for-profit ventures have developed beneficial goods for the BoP such as solar lanterns or water purifiers, or more expensive home improvement packages or latrines. Others seek to market Fast Moving Consumer Goods such as fortified foods, anti bacterial soaps or mosquito repellents. The market at the BoP, however, is hard to crack and creating consumer demand for new products is a major challenge. As a result, few organisations have succeeded. Why is this? How can this change?

In this three-part webinar series, Hystra, in partnership with the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business, tackles strategies for marketing and selling beneficial goods to consumers at the Base of the Pyramid. The series explores how to create demand, at what price points and with which financial mechanisms, and through which marketing and distribution options.

Webinar 1: designing a winning value proposition and financial offer

This webinar explored the key triggers that prompt BoP clients to purchase beneficial goods and how to integrate these in a winning value proposition. Appropriate price points and the financial arrangements (e.g., credit) needed for clients to be able to afford these products were also discussed.

Philip Wilson, CEO of Ecofiltro will illustrate how his company has reached 185,000 rural customers in Guatemala, with water filters sold with an innovative financing model including a free trial option.

Download the presentation for Webinar #1

Webinar 2: choosing an appropriate marketing approach

This webinar discussed which marketing channels, activities and messages are the most (cost-)effective to first, convince early adopters to purchase these new products, and second, accelerate the purchase cycle for followers. It emphasised the importance of word-of-mouth and discussed how it can be reinforced.

Willem Nolens, CEO of SolarNow, a company that has provided over 12,000 solar systems for SMEs and households in East Africa, explained how his company is now transitioning from a product centric model to a customer centric model, focusing on client satisfaction to improve sales.

Download the presentation for Webinar #2

Webinar 3: setting up effective (last mile) distribution mechanisms

This webinar analysed various approaches to distribute beneficial goods to the BoP, both in urban and rural areas. It discussed how the type of products sold should influence the organisation of the sales force and distribution channels, what triggers can limit sales force churn, and concluded with a word on the back office processes required to support efficient distribution systems.

Download the presentation for Webinar #3

Based on seven years of in-depth analysis of the business models and marketing and sales processes of those organisations that have been successful, Hystra has created a management workshop that helps companies design or review their sales and marketing strategies at the BoP. The workshop has been conducted with over 40 companies, including leading inclusive businesses such as d.lightLiving GoodsSolarNow and Ecofiltro, helping them sell more, have more impact and improve their economics. These workshops have also allowed Hystra to validate and further refine its marketing and sales findings, some of which will be presented in this free webinar series.

Not all webinars are the same! Hystra and the Practitioner Hub share a philosophy of being candid, analytical, and evidence based. The webinar series is based on work over the past 7 years, in which Hystra has conducted 9 sectorial studies on 7 sectors of BoP markets, identifying and analysing over 1,500 organisations attempting to deliver beneficial products and services to the BoP. From those studied, in-depth analysis has been done of 120 “best practices” representative of various business models, with field visits for over 90 of those, representing over 200 days in the field in 23 different countries. The challenges and strategies will be presented by Lucie Klarsfeld, McGrath, Senior Project Manager at Hystra, who has been working with companies at the coalface of these issues. The webinars will be facilitated by Caroline Ashley, Editor of the Practitioner Hub for Inclusive Business, who has herself worked with, and tracked progress of, hundreds of inclusive businesses in Africa and Asia. To ask questions about the series and research behind it please get in touch with Lucie Klarsfeld at Hystra.

More on Inclusive Business Strategies



Hystra identifies issue areas that a single player cannot tackle alone, bringing together consortia of public business and citizen sector to research these issues.  Don’t miss their reports on: Marketing Innovative Devices for the BOP and Marketing Nutrition for the BOP Marketing Innovative Devices for the Base of the Pyramid



Distribution in hard-to-reach markets presents huge challenges: low purchasing power means margins are often small so high volume transactions are needed. But poor infrastructure, dispersed consumers, and low product awareness push costs up. Established marketing networks – whether shops, trucks or dealers – are often not suited to get the product across that ‘last mile’ to millions of potential consumers.



There are over 1,300 publications from organisations around the world on Searchinclusivebusiness.org

More Online