A poor farmer trudges through tropical foliage far away from home during a thunderstorm, when a flash of lightning compromises the cellular tower nearby, leaving phones in the area bereft of a signal. Yet, he pulls out his smartphone and uses an application that works offline and finds his way to the closest shelter. Despite his economic condition and remote location, this farmer owns a smartphone that serves his purpose and is not reliant on traditional technology. This is the sort of innovation that is arising from different marketing strategies, which can aid technology and information penetration in developing countries.
A similar innovative approach was displayed by Google recently, when it teamed up with local Indian cellphone manufacturers like Micromax and Karbonn. These manufacturers are known for making phones with components that are inexpensive, but still provide great functionality to users. However, problems arise when the software is fully compatible and can function only with high-end components. To counter this Google developed Android One, an inexpensive phone with compatible software tailored specifically for this purpose. These devices have newfangled features—such as a version of Youtube that works offline—that will benefit users, who cannot afford high speed data in developing countries.
The long-term advantages of such approaches are significant. In today’s highly competitive cellphone market, companies that engage in targeted marketing strategies such as the above are more likely to gain loyal customers for the future. And in developing markets, such strategies are crucial to empowering users with always-on access to information. They also provide a platform for cutting-edge developments that are affordable and serve specific and critical purposes.
Another smartphone manufacturer deployed a similar strategy. A popular Chinese manufacturer produces smartphones based only on requirement, helping it eliminate additional costs of storage, stocking, transport, excess manufacturing, and waste—saving dollars in the process. The company is then able to invest funds in technology by manufacturing highly affordable devices with high-end functionality, generally available only in expensive devices. It has developed a customer base that appreciates their methods and products, and even markets for them, an added benefit considering it does not invest in traditional advertising.
With companies realizing that their products need to be tailored to user requirements in different parts of the world, innovative marketing could also lead to inventive and profitable developments. For instance, beacon technology can be used to drive messaging and emergency applications in areas where cellphone signals are affected by weather and infrastructure conditions.
In this rapidly evolving technological era, the aim is to ensure that everyone can access information and not be left behind due to socio-economic reasons. Devices should work effectively to improve the quality of life of users across the world, and this can be accomplished as companies begin to customize and tailor their products to suit varying customer needs.
What are your thoughts on how marketing strategies can contribute to inclusive technology? Please share your comments in the section below.