“The IBA bootcamp enabled us to modify our marketing plan”

Bertil van Vugt
By on May 11, 2015

Inclusive Business entrepreneurs from all over the world recently participated in our online bootcamp on ‘Marketing and Distribution to the Base of the Pyramid’. We contacted three participants to hear what they’ve learned from the materials and assignments of the bootcamp.

“The bootcamp enabled us to get a new perspective on our operations and we are modifying our marketing approach as a consequence”, said Tom Adamson, CEO of MicamaSoley from Haiti (on the far right in picture above with his team).

Bootcamp badgeAt the Inclusive Business Accelerator we are aiming to bring value to our members, and the topic of marketing and distribution proved to be something many people are interested in. 180 participants signed up and more than half of them participated in the course. Twenty entrepreneurs successfully completed all the assignments that were part of the modules and earned a special ‘bootcamp badge’.

The bootcamp was structured in four modules that could be followed in the own time and pace of the participants, as we deliberately did not want to have hour-long group sessions where all participants have to call in at a certain time to avoid connection problems and participants having to free up part of their busy working day to be able to join the session.

The four topics were:
1. Value proposition,
2. Marketing to the BoP,
3. Distribution Models,
4. Organise sales channels.

Each topic started with an introduction video, followed by guest speakers who explained more about the topic. The assignments of each module were designed in such a way that participants could work on their own business cases. And thus use the knowledge from the bootcamp to strengthen their business.

‘New perspectives’

Tom Adamson describes his experiences: “I participated in the bootcamp together with my assistant and we both appreciated the experience very much. We have been distributing solar lamps for more than 4 years already and sold more than 120,000 of them so far. Still, the bootcamp enabled us to get a new perspective on our operations and we are modifying our marketing approach as a consequence. I would highly recommend this bootcamp to anyone involved in distribution to the BoP, it was a very useful exercise.”

Tom continues: “We had to admit that solar lamps are not as desirable as telephones or televisions as was stated in one of the videos of the bootcamp. This forces us to rethink our marketing approach to try to come up with an emotional appeal.”

‘We will continue using the slides’
Willemijn Geldorp, Head of Business Development at Eyejusters, also actively participated and found it a valuable experience: “We are currently working on developing the going-to-market strategy for our glasses and the bootcamp was very helpful in shaping our thoughts.

Especially the second module was very insightful, learning about the different distribution options and illustrating how a good product doesn’t become successful without an appropriate sales model. We will take the personalised feedback into account and definitely continue using the slides and exercises during our development process.”


Jamal Uddin, who works for SNV in Bangladesh on the topic of inclusive business, says: “The bootcamp started from need identification and expectation of target group to formulating your value proposition. The process enabled participants to think about market based solutions as well as utilisation of appropriate supply chain and marketing tools effective in the BoP communities. The reading material and video were realistic and easy to understand for different levels of participants.”

New insights
Tom Adamson describes how they came to new insights: “We especially liked the first module. We together came up with a value proposition that we felt reflected what we were trying to do, but then we noticed that we were asked to come up with three value propositions. At first we were at a loss because we felt that we had said all we had to say but then we came up with a second one which was much better than the first and then a third that was much better than the other two!”

We will soon announce a new bootcamp, keep an eye on our website and social media channels! The bootcamp on ‘Marketing and distribution to the BoP’ will also be repeated later this year.