Better health is out of reach for the majority of the world’s most vulnerable people because health products and services are inaccessible – often due to unaffordable prices and limited distribution.
How can we make health products and services accessible?
PSI uses a human-centered approach to understand what motivates someone to adopt a health solution, and then we get the product or service to them in a way they understand, at a price they can afford and in a place that is convenient.
How does this business approach benefit people with the greatest need?
Marketing products and services to improve health isn’t your standard nonprofit approach. PSI’s marketing approach includes both the sale and the free distribution of products and services. Sometimes giving products or services away for free provides greater health impact, and at other times, selling is best and provides a more sustainable solution.
Take the condom market in Cambodia, for example. To increase access to condoms for everyone, we need to look at the total market of condoms in the country, which includes:
- Condoms that are given for free for those with the greatest need.
- Commercial condoms (such as Durex or Trojans) that are sold at pharmacies at full price to people who can afford it.
- Donor-subsidized condoms for people who can only afford to pay a little.
We then market the right brand at the right price to the right people. When people who can afford to pay buy subsidized or commercial condom brands, the free condoms can be given exclusively to those with the greatest need ensuring limited resources are best spent.
Segmenting the total market for a health product or service in this way – based on price – maximizes development aid, so everyone accesses life-saving health solutions at a price they can afford.
How does marketing products and services strengthen health system?
A health market has various players – wholesalers, distributors, retailers, providers, consumers, etc — and a marketing approach to distributing health products and services benefits them all. For example, marketing a safe water solution at a subsidized price in the private sector provides economic benefits to the local manufacturer who produces the product, the local distributor who gets it where it needs to go and the local retailers who make a small profit off the product. It also frees up the availability of free safe water solution, through the public sector, for the people who need it but cannot afford to pay.
In many countries in developing world, most people access health products and services from the private sector, such as small kiosks or clinics. They rely on these private retailers and health providers to be capable, willing and motivated to provide these health solutions. We use our marketing acumen to gain insight on the biases, needs, obstacles and motivations of these market players to providing health products and services. We then:
|Address the needs of these market players.||Build intrinsic motivation to offer health products and services to those in need.|
|Demonstrate the direct benefits that doing so will have for them.||Equip them with the skills, tools and resources they need to offer the life-saving health products and services.|
Oftentimes, people who can afford to pay for a health solution do not have a product or service that best meets their needs in the market. They then over-burden the public sector for the free products that need to be dedicated exclusively to those with the greatest need. A marketing approach to distributing products and services creates an appealing and affordable product or service in the subsidized or commercial sector, thus alleviating the burden on the public sector.
When we use a marketing approach to distribute products and services based on peoples’ abilities to pay, each link along the distribution chain – such as wholesalers, distributors, and retailers – will receive a profit. This profit motivates the players to carry the product or service, making them more widely available for the people in need.
A marketing approach to distributing life-saving health products and services can create a market for a type of product that never existed. For example, we might be the first to introduce a condom to a market. By segmenting the condom market based on peoples’ abilities to pay, we create a space for a commercial entity, such as a Durex, to then enter the condom market and remain in the market long after donor subsidies deplete.
A stronger health system, bolstered by this marketing approach to distributing products and services, better serves the needs of its people, contributes to economic growth, and reduces dependency on development aid over time.
How do we use consumer insight to market products and services?
We use a human-centered approach to understand why individuals don’t use a life-saving health product or service and then figure out what can motivate them to use the health solution. We then reach them with these messages through all of the channels most appropriate to them – including peer-to-peer education, billboards, television, radio, social media tools and more.
See some examples of our TV ads from around the world.
Birth Spacing in Pakistan
Trust Condoms in Kenya
Vive condoms in Central America
Ngao mosquito nets in Tanzania
Orasel kit in Cambodia
Salama banana scented condoms in Tanzania
How do we gather and apply consumer insight?
In putting our beneficiary – or consumer – at the center of what we do, we create brands that inspire people to use the health products or services we promote. This is a dynamic process that needs to continuously respond to the ever-changing needs and desires of the people that we serve and the markets in which we work.
To see it in action, watch the videos below that show how we rebranded our Jeito condoms in Mozambique.
|The Jeito re-branding process||The TV advertisement for the Jeito rebrand|
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: Malaria
The Social Marketing Evidence Base was compiled from a systematic review of published literature evaluating social marketing interventions in global health. This document provides an overview of the results from the studies on malaria.
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: Tuberculosis
The Social Marketing Evidence Base was compiled from a systematic review of published literature evaluating social marketing interventions in global health. This document provides an overview of the results from the studies on tuberculosis.
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: Reproductive Health
The Social Marketing Evidence Base was compiled from a systematic review of published literature evaluating social marketing interventions in global health. This document provides an overview of the results from the studies on reproductive health.
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: Child Survival
The Social Marketing Evidence Base was compiled from a systematic review of published literature evaluating social marketing interventions in global health. This document provides an overview of the results from the studies on child survival.
- Social Marketing Evidence Base: HIV/STIs
- Worksite Programs for Malaria Elimination: Best Practices & Lessons Learned from Cambodia
In 2013, Population Services Khmer (PSK) launched its malaria worksite program on 45 plantations in five malaria endemic provinces of Cambodia. This document summarizes the program’s key learnings and recommendations.
- PSI Vietnam: Social Marketing for Improved Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
To address unsafe water, poor hygiene and limited sanitation in rural communities, PSI Vietnam launched a market based sanitation initiative in rural areas of the Mekong Delta and Central Highlands.
- Expanded Social Marketing Project in Nigeria (ESMPIN): Success Stories
This document contains almost 20 success stories detailing the human impact of the Expanded Social Marketing Project in Nigeria (ESMPIN).
- Infographic: The Social Marketing Evidence Base
In response to questions about the effectiveness of social marketing in global health, we systematically reviewed all literature published over two decades on social marketing for several health areas; reproductive health, malaria, child survival, and tuberculosis in developing countries. The methods and findings are summarized here in the form of an infographic.
- Expanded Social Marketing Project in Nigeria (ESMPIN): Policy Briefs
This document includes policy recommendations to improve and increase the use of modern family planning methods and child health products across 22 states in Nigeria.