Community Marketing in Developing Countries

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Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

Community Marketing in Developing Countries

Due to the lack of well-functioning distribution networks in developing countries, potential buyers in those countries are hard to reach. In such economies/countries, organizations need to use unconventional marketing strategies to expand their market base. An important term for organizations that try to expand their market through reach such new consumer segments is "Community Marketing". Community marketing refers to the usage of a range of partners that have access to certain customer segments in communities that are difficult to reach, so as to gain knowledge and access to those difficult-to-reach communities and find ways to gain respect and trust in such communities.

Community marketing can help organizations to expand their market base especially in those regions in which conventional marketing strategies are unsuccessful. Through the creation of partnerships with groups that have access to specific customer segments, a large part of relatively inaccessible number of consumers can be reached.

Community marketing rests on three fundamental pillars:
  1. ACCESSIBILITY: Due to the lack of hard infrastructures (such as transport), basic services and soft infrastructures (advertisements and distribution agencies), organizations need to use distribution intermediaries to get access to reach potential buyers in developing countries. Organizations are increasingly searching for partners that already have already reached consumers in difficult-to-reach areas.
  2. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE: Local knowledge is not only useful in the provision of access to unserved market segments, it can also be a powerful source of intelligence about ways to approach potential new consumers. For example, organizations with local knowledge gain a better understanding of underlying motivations and cultural habitats. This can help them to adapt their products/services and to market them in such a way that they are more easily accepted by difficult-to-reach communities.
  3. TRUST: the third fundamental pillar of community marketing is trust. Wiithout trust, communities will never accept your products/services or even your presence, and through that gaining access to those consumer segments is impossible.
These three pillars form fundaments of community marketing, an important marketing strategy that is important especially in developing and emerging countries, where some communities are hard to reach.
⇒ Are there any other benefits of community marketing?
⇒ Can you think of other ways of marketing to reach difficult-to-reach market segments in lower-income countries?

Source: Rakhi Thakur (2015) "Community Marketing: Serving the Base of the Economic Pyramid Sustainably" Journal of Business Strategy Vol. 36 Iss. 4 pp. 40 - 47

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