Hands-Off Sanitation Marketing

What is Hands-Off Sanitation Marketing?

Sanitation marketing sees households as empowered consumers, not project beneficiaries. It focuses on the development of the sanitation marketplace, helping businesses to create and supply demand for low-cost sanitation products and services. Sanitation marketing uses the 4Ps of the marketing mix – product, place, promotion and price – to connect people to sanitation products and services they want and can afford.

Key Principles

The Hands-Off approach to sanitation marketing focuses on building sustainable businesses. This means catalyzing a market: supporting businesses to get started, and then getting out of their way.

The Hands-Off approach:

  • Keeps barriers to market entry low and works with existing best-fit businesses wherever possible
  • Provides training and support to businesses, but requires these businesses to take the risk and make the investment
  • Understands that sanitation can be a complementary product line within a larger business
  • Encourages competition
  • Identifies appropriate exit strategies for market facilitators (often NGOs)
  • Involves local government in behaviour change promotion, results-based monitoring, and honest brokering
  • Recruits and trains members from local community structures
  • Helps nurture effective public-private partnerships
Elements of the Hands-Off Approach
Enterprise Development
  • Introduce lower-cost, easy to purchase products based on market research insights
  • Develop workable business models and identify existing best-fit businesses
  • Train enterprises in use of simple sales and inventory tracking tools
  • Provide targeted one-on-one business management support based on an enterprise’s needs
  • Design and field-test simple marketing tools and tactics
  • Train sales agents in door-to-door and village level sales
Social Marketing
  • Develop social marketing messages to inspire behavior change
  • Work with national government and sector stakeholders to develop nationwide behavior change campaigns
  • Link social marketing activities with commercial purchase opportunities
Government Engagement
  • Target sub-national officials to act as sanitation champions
  • Support commune-level staff to become sales and promotional agents
  • Train provincial staff in sanitation coverage monitoring
  • Build trust: support government staff to act as ‘honest brokers’ between consumers and suppliers