This post is written by Debbie Watkins, SBI’s Head, Implementation for the Alternative Delivery Channels practice.
Photo Credit: Marketing Sherpa
An unfortunate truth: the vast majority of advertising agencies design beautiful campaigns that will get THEM new clients, when they should be designing relevant campaigns that will get YOU new clients. Mark Stevens, the author of “Your Marketing Sucks” and owner of MSCO.com (I’m a big fan), advises his readers to check whether the company they’re hiring has won any awards for creativity – and if so, not to hire them.
I like that approach. The aim of your marketing campaign is not to get people to say “ooooooh, that’s a nice ad” but instead “that product can really solve some problems for me.” As the old adage goes, when you want to sell a drill, don’t actually sell the drill – sell the hole…
Trying to convince low-income consumers currently operating in an almost exclusively cash-based society to change their financial services provider is not easy. And when their existing “financial services provider” could be a hole in their mattress, or the next-door neighbor, relevance and clearly understood value is essential . A large percentage of the informal services they’re using right now are “free” (although they undoubtedly have a cost associated with them).
So marketing messages shouldn’t focus on the phone and how cool it is. They also shouldn’t focus on the bank and how large it is – the consumer knows that anyway, and they haven’t been using it for a reason (and I hope you know what that reason is, and if it’s for any reason other than accessibility I hope you’ve done something to fix it). Marketing should focus very clearly on how your solution addresses the problems faced by your target market that were identified in the market research you undertook. bKash, SBI’s mobile financial services client in Bangladesh, has some great examples.
This post is written by Zain Bhatti, Deputy Resident Advisor for SBI’s project with UBL Omni, and Zara Naeem, SBI Business Analyst based in Pakistan.
Photo credit: Emergence Marketing
We were recently travelling from Karachi to Lahore on a 20 hour bus ride. While driving from a metropolis to remote rural locations, one cannot help but notice the billboards and signs of prominent branchless banking services. The amount and frequency with which these signs are on display today provides us with a fair estimate of the sheer size of advertising capital flowing into marketing domestic remittances, bill payments and branchless banking account services. This is especially true if the service is backed by the muscle of a telecom marketing budget. However, despite this onslaught of marketing, the growth in the number of financially included in Pakistan remains nominal at best. This begs the question that whether branchless banking’s marketing muscle is even being put to the right use or not.
Branchless banking providers are currently marketing products such as bill payments and domestic remittances, which they believe will drive people to adopt the wider range of financial services they have to offer. In light of the slow rate of absorption of low cost bank accounts as a result, it would be worthwhile to examine if these campaigns are effectively addressing the basic question of how having access to a bank account can assist a financially excluded individual in better managing his finances. Or more importantly, to examine if the financially excluded have started asking themselves this very question. Continue reading
This post is written by Debbie Watkins, SBI Resident Adviser for the bKash project in Bangladesh. This is part of her ongoing series on “The Goal.”
As discussed in my first article, many implementations of ADC worldwide have failed to deliver. As a lot of these have been launched by commercial businesses rather than NGOs or foundations, they have been somewhat reticent to share their mistakes with others – which is a shame, as no one is perfect and if new projects could learn from what has gone before it would only be of benefit to the people we’re trying to serve.
- Lessons Learned by Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr
However, a few on-the-ground contacts in various locations have been willing to share some of the real-world “lessons learned,” a selection of which are illustrated below.
Selling to the wrong people: A lot of time, effort and money was spent promoting a money transfer service to garment factories with the aim of recruiting their workers – who send money home on a regular basis. In the country concerned, though, the decision maker in the family was not the young, typically female worker but the father at the receiving end – who also dictated the money transfer channel she should use. No one spent any time talking to him!
Relying on securing partnerships that don’t benefit the partner: MFI field staff were identified by this company as “the perfect customer sign-up resource” – however, the pitch to the MFIs was centred around paying the field staff a commission for each signup. The MFIs rejected this as it would distract their paid staff from their paid role, and the company instead suggested that the MFI would be paid the commission instead – which would result in more work for the field staff and no ongoing benefit for the MFI after the initial commission. The offer was declined, with the exception of one MFI – who subsequently made a trading loss that year for the first time in its history and decided to suspend the arrangement. Continue reading