Identifying the Market
Who’ll be the best potential customers for our products?
Based on people’s needs and the potential of likely solutions to address them, we identified several broad clusters of customer: households, humanitarian NGOs, schools and municipalities.
Each cluster – particularly households – can be sub-divided further using factors such as demographics. We then carried out an initial assessment of their commerical viability and compatibility with our social and public health mission.
Understanding potential customers
Our research provided key insights regarding potential market
- Although humanitarian NGOs run large-scale emergency camps, these serve only a small minority of on-site sanitation users. They usually have the space to dig new pits when needed, so they only experience serious pit-filling problems in unusual circumstances. Although not a large market, this could be a very interesting testing ground to demonstrate novel solutions.
- Schools are less likely to be immediately concerned with the problem of pit filling as they have sufficient space to allow new pits to be constructed and/or sufficient road access to allow vacuum emptying.
- Few municipalities take responsibility for emptying latrine pits or providing sanitation to poor communities – although this doesn’t rule them out as potential customers in the future.
- We believe the greatest demand and opportunity lies with householders, particularly in high-density urban areas. When domestic users’ latrine pits fill up, they face both financial and logistical challenges. There’s the cost of replacing or emptying pits, and a lack of space often means there’s no access for vacuum empting or nowhere to dig a new pit.
Finding out more
As a result, our initial consumer research focuses on poor household users of on-site sanitation. This also allows us to reach other segments: technology suitable for a domestic user will probably work well for a municipality or humanitarian NGO too.