Project Everest

Work Update

[Work Update]: Solar Consulting Malawi - Validating our Customer Segment - July 2018

The Energy project in Malawi has moved to a new phase where we have begun to test our business model using a proxy product and have sold several products. The sales we have made during this Winter period have allowed us to validate certain aspects of our customer segment practically and back up assumptions we had made due to observations and national statistics.  

Currently, our customers are concentrated in the village of Nancholi. This is a semi-rural area in the hinterland of Blantyre. Through surveying of the region, we have concluded that the population of Nancholi is representative of the Malawian population, in that they are primarily farmers and between the age of 16-40. To purchase one of our products through a payment plan, a customer must have a national ID card, which citizens receive aged 16.

One of the observations made during June when the energy team attempted to sell door to door was that the people spoken to were primarily female and that most households have young children living in them. This is because women still largely fill the traditional role of housewife in Malawi. This lead to the assumption that women should be targeted as part of our customer segment.

To date a majority of over 80% of our customers are female, validating our assumption that women would form a key part of our customer segment. This shows that despite the patriarchal society in Malawi women still possess spending power within the region of Nancholi. This is an important consideration to make when marketing our product in the future.

National census information shows that the Malawian population is quite young and that there is a high birth rate. This data was the reason for the Energy team’s assumption that most of our customer segment would consist of young families with children. This assumption has been validated through observations made by the team during surveys, where the presence of children was evident in most households. This should be taken into account in any marketing, as parents will naturally want to invest in a product which increases opportunities for their children. 

One aspect of our customer segment which had already been validated prior to this Winter period is that the majority of the villagers in Nancholi are employed in the agricultural sector. This was validated through the use of national statistics, which tell us that almost 80% of the Malawian population. This figure matches the statistics obtained by the agricultural assessment teams during previous months in country. 

The significance of this point in terms of our business is that income generation is not consistent throughout the year as it will be dependent on crop yields which vary significantly throughout the year.

 Our customer segment is currently focused on the semi-rural region of Nancholi, however upfront sales made to three customers who live in more affluent areas of Blantyre, indicating significant room for expansion of our customer segment.

This information about our customers in Nancholi has come from the empathising that has been performed by the Energy previous teams in Malawi and has allowed us to generate our first sales, and this knowledge of our customers will only continue to grow as we test our business model and interact with more and more customers.


edited on 13th September 2018, 04:09 by Justin Hakeem

Andrew Vild Aug 9, 2018

Good general post, mate. To get this to where it needs to be - turn it into a proposed experiment. How will we validate our customer segment?

The structure that should be used can be seen here:

This is content and methods covered in TLT, it can't hurt for you to adopt that practice now!

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Andrew Vild Aug 9, 2018

Status label added: Work Update

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