Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The top 10 in contraceptive social marketing

Two salesmen from DKT India make a pitch for contraceptives to the owner of a pharmacy in the Mumbai slums. In 2013, DKT India was the ninth biggest contraceptive social marketing program in the world. 
Photo: David J. Olson
This was originally published on the Knowledge4Health Blog on Dec. 23, 2014.

Social marketing organizations around the world delivered more impact than ever before in 2013 —70 million couple years of protection (CYPs), an increase of 6.8% from the 65.5 million CYPs produced in 2012, according to the 2013 Contraceptive Social Marketing Statistics just published by DKT International. (A couple year of protection is the amount of contraception needed to protect one couple for one year; see note at end of article for more details).

The report provides details on 93 contraceptive social marketing programs in 66 countries, all of which are helping provide modern contraception and reduce unmet need for family planning among women and families in their countries.

The social marketing program producing the most CYPs in 2013 was DKT Indonesia, delivering 6.7 million CYPs, consisting of contraceptives sold through social marketing channels such as pharmacies, convenience stores and medical wholesalers. The second biggest program was the Government of India, with 5.8 million CYPs (although over 40% of these CYPs were for products given out for free, which was not the case with other programs in the Top 10). Here is the Top 10 list in contraceptive social marketing in 2013:

1. DKT Indonesia, 6.7 million CYPs
2. Government of India, 5.8 million CYPs
3. Social Marketing Company (SMC), Bangladesh, 4.44 million CYPs
4. Greenstar Social Marketing, Pakistan, 4.42
5. PSI India, 3.8 million CYPs
6. Society for Family Health, Nigeria, 3.4 million CYPs
7. Population Health Services India, 3.3 million CYPs
8. DKT Ethiopia, 3.1 million CYPs
9. DKT India, 2.89 million CYPs
10. Profamilia, Colombia, 2.87 million CYPs

The report also ranks programs by calculating the extent to which they reached their target market (this includes programs delivering at least 300,000 CYPs and reaching more than 9% of their target markets). The target market was calculated as 75% of women aged 15-49. By that standard, the ten contraceptive social marketing programs with greatest reach were:

1. PSI Cambodia, 40%
4. PSI Madagascar, 26%
5. PSI Tanzania, 26%
6. DKT Ethiopia, 25%
7. PSI Mali, 24%
8. PSI Zimbabwe, 17%
9. DKT Egypt, 16%
10. Social Marketing Company, Bangladesh, 14%

I reached out to the heads of these outstanding social marketing programs to ask them about the factors that led to this success. Here are excerpts from what they told me:

DKT Indonesia: This program started with donor funds in 1996 and is now 100% financially self-sufficient. “In my view, three key factors contributed to this success,” said Country Representative Todd Callahan. “First, grants were instrumental for the launch of the program and achievement of scale more rapidly than would have been possible otherwise,” he said. “Donor funding added breadth by supporting programmatically important but break-even or unprofitable products. Second, it is clear that enormous, unfulfilled market need has been an important driver of our steady growth. Finally, these results would not be possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of the Indonesian staff and management team.”

PSI India: “Because of our friendly price points, PSI condom brands enjoy better shelf space at retail and preferences by the consumer,” said Country Representative Pritpal Marjara. He also gives credit to a strong retail and trade partner network that allows PSI India to “capitalize on the commercial network smartly and distribute product widely,” as well as periodic support from donors to expand coverage in rural and urban areas.

SFH Nigeria: Managing Director Bright Ekweremadu cites a number of factors for SFH’s success, including a strong board, its partnership with PSI, collaboration with national and international NGOs, donor diversification, staff longevity and, above all, said Ekweremadu, the fact that “SFH is a learning culture of integrity and accountability determined to provide quality services to its stakeholders.”

Population Health Services India (affiliated with Marie Stopes International):  This program was started with donor funds but is seeking to evolve into a financially sustainable program. “The program design and execution focuses on meeting unmet need by increasing physical and financial access to contraceptives, especially for hard-to-reach and underserved clients,” said Vivek Malhotra, director of PSHI. “Modern technology has also been a factor in success and has helped improve efficiency, effectiveness and expand scale of operation.”

DKT Ethiopia: Andy Piller, who has just left Ethiopia after 10 years as the DKT country representative there, cites increased government commitment to family planning beginning in 2005, “generous donor funding from donors that don’t micromanage,” and his social marketing program’s close collaboration with private sector, NGO and public sector partners.

DKT India: For most of DKT’s 22-year history in India, it worked with the Government of India. “During that long history, we were also able to establish two very strong brands, hand-in-hand with the government and the generous support of donors,” said Collin Dick, the country director. “But the real success story, over the last two years, was where we pulled out of our affiliation with GOI and started distributing our brands as low-cost commercial value brands, riding the brand equity we'd built up with government and donor help but now applying far more rigor from the sales and marketing end.  We are already seeing an increase in the size and scale of our impact in a country that really needs it, and are bullish about the future.”

Profamilia Colombia: “Two of the biggest reasons for Profamilia’s success is that the entire country knows and trusts our brand, and Profamilia’s knowledge of the market and needs of the users,” said Marta Royo, executive director of Profamilia. “We have focused on developing a dedicated sales force that goes beyond the sale of a product, and adds personal attention. Finally, we have implemented a rigorous management of the social marketing process: This means recruiting professional and specialized talent, acquiring tools and innovative technologies, including a system of online information that allows us to follow daily figures and make quick and timely decisions.”

DKT, PSI and MSI all have big plans for future growth: DKT aims to deliver 28 million CYPs this year. PSI has a goal of achieving 105.6 million CYPs in the period 2012-2016. This is a 30% increase over the previous five years and PSI expects to exceed this target in 2016 based on performance to date. MSI is looking to triple its impact by 2020, with a particularly focus on what it calls “high impact” CYPs, a measure which evaluates the organization’s reach to the most underserved populations.

NOTE: For this report, DKT International calculates a couple year of protection as equivalent to 100 sold condoms, 200 free condoms, 14 pill cycles, 4 three-month injectables, 6 two-month injectables, 12 one-month injectables, 20 female condoms, 14 emergency contraceptives, .33 implants, .25 intrauterine devices, .59 doses of medical abortion, .0208 manual vacuum aspiration kits and 16 Misopostrol.

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