Join our bootcamp: Market research in low-income environments

Claudia Knobloch
By on September 3, 2015

The second module of our upcoming online bootcamp is all about finding the right information for your business and understanding the needs and wants of your customers. Register now for the free bootcamp on ‘Market research for a successful marketing and distribution strategy to the BoP’. In this blog post I will explain a bit more on what you can expect in module 2.

Early in 2011, I met a German investor who wanted to set up energy kiosks in rural Madagascar. The electrification rate in Madagascar was around 6 percent, electricity seemed to be a very obvious need of the rural population. It seemed clear that having light from solar lamps was beneficial for people’s health, education and overall standard of living.

Journey to understand your customers
Apart from that, there was little information on how to start such a business: Which products and services should be offered? At what price? What should such a kiosk building look like? Who could run the kiosks? Who could be partners for this endeavour?

Endeva and the investor started a journey to get from all our questions to a feasible business concept. It had a happy ending: The first pilot kiosk was built in 2012 and in August 2015, HERi Madagascar opened its 25th kiosk. (On the photo above: During a focus group Malagasy villagers explain their energy spendings in the course of a day. Photo by Claudia Knobloch)

Low-income environments
Market research in low-income environments, like slums or remote villages, is challenging as there is little data available on informal economies, the communities are hard to reach and the cultural gaps are wide. Therefore, in the phase of identifying information gaps, you need to translate the questions you have into questions your target group will understand.

When planning your market research, you will need to find a partner who can introduce you to your target group and support you with the facilitation and documentation. It is crucial to pick the right interactive methods for your research to find out about people’s perceptions and their willingness to pay. Finally, you will need to analyze your data to make use of your work.

Step by step description
In module 2, thanks to our step by step description, companies are able to develop a plan for their market research.
Join us on September 22nd for our second module on “Market research”! The content of the bootcamp has been created by Endeva and by the BoP Innovation Center, the latter is one of the founding partners in the Inclusive Business Accelerator consortium. Both organizations have an impressive track record on supporting entrepreneurs in low-income countries.
About the author
Claudia Knobloch
is one of the directors of Endeva and an expert in applying knowledge of inclusive business models in collaboration with companies, NGOs and donors.

Register for the bootcamp on ‘Market research for a successful marketing and distribution strategy to the BoP’, an initiative of IB Accelerator and the “empowering people. Network” of the Siemens Stiftung, via