Sales and Marketing

Social marketing is the application of commercial marketing techniques for popularizing and selling products and services that offer clear benefits to the people, at prices they can afford. Making high-quality health products and services widely available and affordable forms the key element of social marketing. SMC's social marketing model has three major components – demand creation and behavior change through multi pronged communications strategy; access to affordable and quality products and services that offer clear health benefits through the private sector; and financial sustainability through cross subsidy using revenues from higher priced products and services to subsidize for low income segments.

SMC has one of the most established, extensive and efficient distribution networks (own and dealership) in Bangladesh. Nationwide coverage is carried out through twelve offices located in major division and district towns of the country under four regional offices. This enables SMC’s sales force of approximately 143 to distribute products to the far-flung outlets promptly and regularly. On an average, about 267,674 outlets are directly served by SMC each year of which roughly 40 percent are pharmacies and the rest are non-pharmacies, including grocery stores and kiosks. Stocks at the sales offices are replenished through regular supplies from SMC central warehouse in Bhaluka or its regional warehouses. The sales force covers the territory using delivery vehicles to ensure the nationwide distribution.

Its widespread sales and distribution network allows SMC to make its products widely available at retail outlets across the country. A recent study on product availability showed that 94% of the retail pharmacy outlets in Bangladesh have at least one SMC brand of Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP), 85% have at least one SMC condom and 98% stock SMC brand of ORS. In addition to pharmacy outlets, SMC distributes condoms and ORS through non-pharmacy outlets, as a strategy to increase accessibility and availability. One in every four non-pharmacy retail outlets of the country has SMC brand of condom and more than two in every three have SMC brand of ORS (CSMR, 2017).

Market segmentation, effective positioning, brand development and brand promotion efforts continue to be a major part of SMC’s strategies, and the company now provides a diverse range of pills and condoms targeted at specific market segments supported with brand-specific advertising and promotion. To meet the dual objective of making products affordable to the less privileged while at the same time improve the financial sustainability of the organization, SMC has designed a strategy that groups its brands into different pricing categories.

Because of its remarkable success and its sheer size, social marketing in Bangladesh has become a model of best practices and attracted international attention. Two premier USA based graduate schools of business have included the case study on social marketing program in Bangladesh in their curricula. In addition, an entire chapter of the renowned book titled “Let Every Child Be Wanted: How Social Marketing Is Revolutionizing Contraceptive Use Around the World,” written by Philip D. Harvey, is devoted to social marketing in Bangladesh. SMC’s success is also documented in the “Asian Marketing Casebook,” by Noel Capon and Wilferied R. Vanhonacker. The company was awarded the International Star Award for Leadership in Quality (ISLQ) in 2008 by the Business Initiative Directions (BID), a Madrid-based business organization committed to building a better reputation for business worldwide.