WAtM 3 - Building relationships with markets
This stage involves:
1. Understanding value propositions
Value propositions are a description of what motivates buyers or end consumers to purchase a product or service. Why do they consider that product or service worth paying for?
Value propositions often tend to focus on short-term profitability, leading buyers to exploit people, places, and nature in damaging and unsustainable ways. Examples include, use of women’s and children’s unpaid or low-paid labour, environmental pollution, toxins in the workplace and in products, taking of land and resources without compensation, and more. Large buyers have controlled markets, keeping smaller players out and setting prices that are artificially low. However, increasing access to information is making it harder for large buyers to keep unethical practices hidden. Consumers are demanding more information about where their products come from, how they are made, and what they contain.
Value propositions can be shaped by education, policies, ethics and innovation as well as by personal experience. Producers may be able to introduce buyers and consumers to value propositions that they had not previously considered. Sometimes buyers and end consumers have value propositions that are not being fulfilled by the market. For instance, suppose a buyer has customers looking for blue scarves to match school uniforms but the only scarves available are yellow. If the buyer could work with a group of producers to make such scarves, he or she could expand into new markets. Once the buyer understands the market potential, they may be willing to invest time, materials, equipment, and even money in enabling producers to make the scarves. Once the buyer and the producers establish a relationship, they can work together to grow the market.
Value propositions are the “glue” that connects producers and buyers. If producers can develop and deliver products or services that help buyers solve a problem or capture an opportunity, then there is a basis for a win-win relationship. Often in corporate supply chains, this shared value proposition is not found, leading to exploitation of the weaker actors in the supply chain.
- Matching Value Propositions with Customer Profiles
2. Improving market access through relationship building
Listening is the key to understanding value propositions and understanding value propositions is the key to market access in which producers are valued partners. This requires a nonconventional approach to buyers in which producers are not trying to sell what they already produce, but are instead seeking to understand what the buyers really want or need. One area producers can explore with buyers is gender sensitivity. Is the buyer gender sensitive? Does the buyer see value in new or expanded roles for women?
- Role play
- Interviews & Observations
- Pairwise Ranking Matrix
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