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Case Download – Stigma Around the Consumption of Sanitary Napkins and Implications for International Marketing Strategy: A Case Study from Rural India

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This case is designed for junior/senior level undergraduate and graduate marketing students in the business curriculum, especially international marketing, marketing strategy, and/or integrated marketing communications courses.

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Synopsis

Women like Gulabi Devi and girls like Ammu in rural India experience period poverty and are subject to stigma, shaming, and trauma around menstruation, which leads to exclusion and attrition. An acute lack of awareness about the risks of using unsanitary products, the lack of usage of sanitary menstrual products, and the non-availability of resources at the school- and community-level is a challenge for volunteers, companies, community leaders, community institutions such as schools, village governments, and non-profit organizations such as Vimukt India. Can concepts of effective communication, avoidance of ethnocentrism, and application of effective and adaptive international marketing strategy to bottom-of-the-pyramid markets help alleviate taboos and myths around stigmatized menstruation and provide access to menstrual education and hygiene products to girls and women in rural India? Pamela Lott, a marketing manager hired by Vimukt India, would be tasked with solving this dilemma and developing an effective marketing strategy.
Girls and women in rural India experience period poverty and are subject to stigma, shaming, and trauma around menstruation. A non-profit organization is working to counter taboos and myths and provide access to menstrual education and hygiene products to girls and women alike. This case provides an opportunity for students to explore topics such as self-reference criterion, ethnocentrism, bottom-of-the-pyramid markets, and hierarchy of effects, and also challenges them to effectively apply adaptation of international marketing mix strategy.

Keywords

Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC), Self-Reference Criterion (SRC), Ethnocentrism, International Marketing Mix, India, Stigma/Taboo Consumption

Target Audience and Usage

This case is designed for junior/senior level undergraduate and graduate marketing students in the business curriculum, especially international marketing, marketing strategy, and/or integrated marketing communications courses (both in Western countries as well as in urban settings in India). It should be presented toward the middle of the semester. It can also be used in corporate training for employees who will be working in or managing cross-cultural teams and managing products across cultures.

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