Blog: Understanding Solar 5 (Commercial)

26 June 2014

While I am working on my desk research and awaiting information about projects in Pakistan and other countries, this blog considers the different approach needed for the commercial market.

I am continuing to develop and populate my research framework and will report on progress soon.  You may be interested in the NGO Aid Map that I have come across – really helpful:

“InterAction’s NGO Aid Map aims to increase the amount of publicly available data on international development and humanitarian response by providing detailed project information through interactive maps and data visualizations”.

There is so much information to gather that it will take time and perhaps assistance from others to complete. Meanwhile, I have been asked about selling solar panel cookers to consumers in sunny, high income countries.  Where to start?

I am not a business to consumer marketing specialist, but I have worked on a few B2C consultancy projects over the years, and was once a marketing director and training company director in the further and higher education sector so I suppose this counts. My approach to marketing a new product/service has been: segment the market into consumer groups, conduct interviews, focus groups and customer surveys to find out more about the buying habits of those who are most likely to buy my product/service, including the factors that influence their buying decisions. At this point, field research may show that there is no viable market. Some business owners pull out, whilst others keep going, making changes according to the feedback and trying again. I believe that there is an X factor to successful entrepreneurialism linked to emotion, instinct, and an innate ability to assess and manage risk.

In any case, if there is evidence of a market, then I devise a marketing strategy and plan including the marketing messages that need to be communicated to my target market about my product/service that will arouse their interest and entice them to buy; I test the market with a limited marketing initiative. If the test is disappointing, then a decision whether to proceed or exit must be made. If it shows promise, then I carefully devise and implement my budgeted marketing plan, learning, amending and refining the plan over time. Not easy, but very interesting and rather fun to do.


I hope there is a consumer market for our deluxe solar panel cooker, or one of Matthew’s other solar cookers, and will be paying more attention to it in the future.

Meanwhile I must focus on the target groups previously mentioned, and gain a thorough understanding of how we can serve them whilst generating sufficient surplus to sustain the business. It would be fantastic if, in some instances, we could help budding entrepreneurs in low-income groups to establish their own, sustainable businesses.

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Merci! Une confirmation supplémentaire peut être trouvé à

(Further confirmation of the statement below that the solar cooker is suitable for the Sahel can be found at

Viv Sloan, 7 July 2014

C est génial comme idée bonne chance
Ça marchera chez les touaregs du Sahara
Et tout le Sahel bravo

Eddy Laradi, 2 July 2014