Social marketing strategies adopted by population services international (Kenya) and market penetration of long lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN) in Samia sub county, Busia county, Kenya
Social marketing has been proven to be effective in different contexts to advance different social goods. The current study sought to establish which social marketing strategies have been applied by PSI Kenya in promoting use of LLINs in Samia sub county, Busia County, Kenya and also establish the influence of social marketing strategies on market penetration of LLINs in Samia Sub County, Busia County, Kenya. The study was based on the health belief model. This study was carried out using a cross-sectional survey approach. The population of this study was the implementers of the LLIN programme in Samia sub-county, Busia County, including PSI Kenya staff and other stakeholders (community volunteers and MOH staff in distributing health centres). The target respondents were all 44 of the implementing staff who were involved in the LLIN distribution programme in Samia Sub-county. This study utilized primary data collected using semi structured questionnaires to the employees in the LLIN distribution progamme in Samia Sub-county. Descriptive statistics was applied on the closed questions (quantitative data) while content analysis was used to analyze data from open questions (qualitative data). Study findings indicate that PSI Kenya adopted several social marketing strategies in its LLIN distribution campaign in Samia Sub County of Busia County. These included branding of the LLINs, adopting innovative and targeted distribution strategies, selecting the popular local media (Mulembe FM) to communicate its message and targeted free distribution. The study findings also indicate that the strategies increased market penetration of LLINs. The strategies that were instrumental in enhancing market penetration included using targeted media campaigns, training of community health volunteers, conducting free distribution of LLINs in the Sub County, innovative distribution through health centres during antenatal and immunization visits and creating partnerships with Division of malaria control, USAID, DFID and local partners. The study makes the following recommendations. First, public or any not for profit organization engaging in social marketing should first study its target market to enable it devise innovative marketing practices that will enable it penetrate the target market and institute the desired behaviour change. Secondly, success in social marketing depends on the ability to develop partnerships, train project implementers, communicate effectively to the target market and ensure that the product is of high quality, price is affordable, distribution is innovative and targeted and the message attracts action. Lastly, it is recommended that any social marketing program should put the target individual at the centre of all adopted strategies.