Develop the Market
We want to get as many people out of poverty as possible. To do this, our technologies need to be as well known and easily available as sewing machines and bicycles. These are similar in that they are basic machines that create business opportunities.
We know our tools can help people make a lot of money, but they will have no impact if people do not know about them or don’t understand their value.
Our MoneyMaker pumps, for example, increase net farm income by 1000% on average. But they also represent a significant investment for the typical farmer, sometimes as much as a quarter of a family’s annual income.
It is not surprising then, that KickStart has to spend a lot of time--and the majority of our resources--building trust and awareness in our tools.
Risk Averse. Cash Constrained. Isolated. A Dream Market.
We are selling “big ticket” items to extremely risk-averse buyers who have very little cash. If a poor person buys a pump and it fails to make him money, his family will go hungry for many months.
These rural customers are very hard to reach. They live miles from the closest village and often miles from the nearest road. They may come to town once a month. They might have a radio, but can only listen when they can afford batteries. They might see a newspaper if someone brings one back from the city.
These are huge challenges, but we have been successful in modifying classic marketing and sales strategies to fit the situation.
Promises Made. Promises Kept.
We chose the brand name “MoneyMaker” because that is a poor person’s greatest need--a way to make money. We work to ensure that our products live up the name. Our top design criteria are that our tools must have a profitable business model attached and that a buyer must be able to recoup his or her investment in six months or less.
Our pumps are a huge investment for these families, so we demand the highest quality from the manufacturer. Every pump is tested before it leaves the factory. Then we offer a one-year guarantee. If anything goes wrong, the farmer can bring the pump back to the store for a replacement.
Aspiration and Trust
For many poor Africans, farming is not an “aspirational” activity. People dream of being a successful business person but see farming as a dirty, backbreaking chore. We are trying to change that.
Already more than <?=$Enterprises_Created_Total?> entrepreneurs have created successful businesses with MoneyMaker pumps, and hundreds of thousands more could do the same.
We’ve launched a comprehensive marketing campaign built on the message, “Farming is My Business,” to link farming with success.
We have over 200 sales reps stationed in every major town, transit point and trading center in Kenya, Tanzania and Mali. They demonstrate the pump at retail outlets and organize on-farm demos. Just as you wouldn’t buy a car without a test-drive, our customers will not buy a pump until they are certain it will work for them. Community wide pumping competitions gather big crowds and generate excitement and interest.
It is labor intensive, but given the limited marketing channels and very cautious customers, these efforts are effective at creating demand for our pumps.
The good news is that this level of market building does not have to go on forever. Once our pumps are as commonly known as bicycles we can reduce our marketing efforts. Then KickStart will make a profit on each pump sold.
150,000 new businesses started to date.