Experts Highlight Benefits of Marketing Research

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Raheem Akingbolu

The government’s drive to grow and diversify the Nigerian economy will come earlier than projected if marketing research is prioritised, a former member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), Dr. Doyin Salami has said.

He has also pointed out that marketing can help create a virtuous cycle of value that stimulates economic growth, hence the need for the nation’s economic drivers to key into its understanding and research.

Salami, an adjunct professor at the Lagos Business School, spoke on the ‘Role of marketing research in Nigeria’s growth trajectory’ at Marketing Research Academy’s, MRA, programme held recently in Lagos.

The economist underscored the role of marketing and marketing research in Nigeria’s search for new growth sectors to facilitate expansion and further diversification of the economy.
He said marketing and marketing research would assist the nation in getting ahead of the curve and guide the production process that will generate faster economic growth.

To this end, he identified three concepts of marketing which are: Value Creation, Value connection, Value Delivery and exchange.
For value creation, he insisted that innovation, production and productivity are vital.
He further stated that marketing research engenders understanding of existing and anticipated market needs.
“It bridges the gap between product innovation and market place needs” he stated.
While establishing the fact that nobody buys a product, but the solution, Salami described innovation as gap identification.

He said it was important to innovate and create value, but more importantly to communicate that value at a level that consumers are willing to continue to pay for it.

As a tip for business growth, he said affordability of product and consumer segmentation is significant in marketing to determine who affords the product.

Relating marketing to economic growth, he said Nigeria has three key sectors – agriculture at 22 per cent of GDP, distribution at 17 per cent while oil at 10 per cent, which forms about 60 per cent of government revenue.
He said marketing is already embedded in distribution activity as it involves selling and buying.

He therefore said there was need to have the understanding that the consumer is a key component of marketing in playing its role in economic growth.
“A marketer cannot sell to people he/she doesn’t understand and with understanding, innovation to fill market gaps becomes crucial”
According to him, “new marketing methods demand new kind of marketing executives and a paradigm shift from the old ways. Without marketing, product is not created and demand will diminish”, he said.
Other speakers at the forum unanimously held that qualitative marketing research and segmentation by advertisers are indispensable and can facilitate marketing campaign success.

With the theme: “What is new”, the speakers argued that qualitative marketing research, segmentation and other marketing strategies can improve the nation’s GDP and subsequently lead to economic growth.
They also observed that the new consumer has changed tremendously; hence strategic marketing campaign is imperative.
One of the speakers who is also the Chief Executive Officer Insight Publicis Nigeria, Mr. Feyi Olubodun, who was represented by a former Assistant Professor of Media Management and Economics at the University of Georgia, USA, Dr Tayo Oyedeji, stated that new consumer is now Multi-screen. He added that Phone, IPAD, TV are now the new norm with today’s consumer.
He said: “It’s like the life of an average consumer in today’s market is tied to his phone. The new consumer in Nigeria now has global perspective of issues, which makes news and information not local to him again,”

Speaking on the topic: The New Consumer, he noted that proper segmentation is also crucial and that marketing is not just about promotions and advertising but starts from product development, innovation to pricing, distribution and promotion. “So if we must grow as a nation we have to create new products and find a way to get it across to the consumers”, he said.

Oyedeji believed that the role of government in value creation process is to create an enabling environment. According to him, the biggest problem of some farmers is not fertiliser or seedlings but getting their produce into the market. He stated that such is a government challenge and not the problem of private sector.

Speaking on ‘Understanding the Consumer’, he emphasised that mass market is dead, adding that no marketer should plan to reach all Nigerians but that they should instead identify the segments that are profitable for their brands and find a way to reach this segment.

Speaking on digital marketing, he said Nigeria huge access to the internet by mobile phone in the world at 81 per cent, has further explained that digital has become a major part of marketing.

“If any marketers must be effective, they need to understand digital and spend money on it. Today, Nigeria spends about 6 percent of total Ad spend on digital, It should be about 20 % by now”, he added.

In his contribution, the CEO of Kantar Nigeria, Aggrey Maposa, said any marketer that understands key mindsets of a consumer, will perform better in the market.
These changing mindsets, according to him, are; identity, technology, digital, balance and health and nutrition. On identity, he said people are becoming sensitive to their ethnicity and region.

He said technology has brought liberation to consumers and that it has allowed them to connect beyond borders with different people, a development he claimed was never envisaged.