The context In recent years, some 40 million Tanzanian families have relied on kerosene lamps as a primary light source, even though they are hazardous, expensive and polluting. In 2010 d.light, a promising pico solar company, was one of the first actors to enter the market with the goal to improve the quality of life of these families by selling their own brand portable rechargeable solar lights. The expectation was that there would be strong demand for their innovation, however sales lagged behind projected targets.
The big question How could d.light reposition its products and transform their marketing campaign to go on to sell 1.7 million lights across 5 different countries?
Approach Marketing for Impact organised an insight activator with a large research team, comprised of d.light employees with different backgrounds from the local office and the headquarter. Over a 3 month period multiple in depth qualitative interviews and focus groups were conducted with different stakeholders including: users, non-users, dealers, distributors and key influencers, such as the village head or headmaster.
The research goals were focused on understanding the needs and desires of BoP consumers and mapping the customer journey. Key research questions included, but were not limited to, understanding:
Experienced likes and dislikes of the current solution, i.e. kerosene or candles
Awareness, understanding and perceived likes and dislikes of solar products
Dreams , aspirations and the definition of success
Commonly used communication and sales channels
For each opportunity that was identified during the research analysis, a marketing plan was designed to address each purchase barrier throughout the consumer purchasing process, from awareness and understanding to trust and action. The study instigated the creation of three pilot projects, to improve the current marketing campaign, involving microfinance institutes, corporations and schools.
Result All three pilots yielded successful results. However the school campaign yielded exceptional results. The success was partly due to a long-standing partnership with Femina / HiP and a collaboration with the Tanzania Headmaster Association, which contributed to awareness and trust of d.light Also, the timing of the first campaign coincided with an accident at a girl’s school, where pupils died as a result of a kerosene lamp catching fire, which created additional momentum. The campaigns went on to produce similar success stories on Tanzania’s Mafia Island and were used as input to obtain the Daey Ouwens Grant, which allowed d.light/solar aid to upscale the project across 9 other districts, before expanding it across the region.