Entrepreneurs in Nigeria who are interested in startups needs to conduct a market research when planning to launch a new product or service, or are planning on an existing product. When starting a business, always bear in mind that it is about the customer and not you.
So, your primary objectives in any marketing strategy should be to identify and meet the needs of the consumer. And that’s where market research comes to play. So many Nigerian entrepreneurs go crazy about how revolutionary their business idea is and how they are likely to make millions in their first week or month in business.
- Do people really need that product or service?
- How many people are willing to buy it?
- Who are my competitors?
- Which people should I target?
- What location is best for the business?
The best product in the world is as good as nothing if nobody cares about it.
However, there are exceptions. You can create a need that people never even knew existed. For instance, Steve Jobs of Apple is famous for not asking customer what they want. He said,
“A lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Steve Jobs.
You’re not Steve Jobs, and as such, it is important you carry out proper market research especially in an age where customers are bombarded with so many products that they become confused to the point of being resistant to new ones So, if you have a ground-breaking business idea and you’re wondering if it will sell or not in Nigeria, then, I strongly suggest you undertake a market research. Don’t be carried away by the large population in Nigeria and think that if just one million Nigerians could buy your product then you’re on your way to becoming successful.
Nigerians have real problems and only real solutions can bring real money to you. In order to find out what exactly is that real problem, you must undertake a market research. Enough said, these are the methods involved in carrying out a market research in Nigeria. Your use of one or more of these methods depends on various factors like, cost, target market, customer’s preference and so on. Cost being the major factor.
How to Conduct Market Research in Nigeria
For a budding start-up with very tight budget, it would be wise to go for the cost effective methods before going for the in depth and advanced methods.
Informal meeting with customers
This method involves inviting about 5-10 of your customers to lunch, and tell them that you want an honest feedback concerning a new product or service.
Similarly, you can have your friends or family members (who are interested in your business) hold same meeting with other customers.
Though, you may not get scientific and detailed feedback, you will get feedback that will help you improve your product.
Use Bloggers’ influence
In recent times, many Nigerians have used blogs to get their voice heard in a noisy world, which in return has got them respect and recognition.
Look around, Facebook groups, online forums or even Google for the not-so-popular bloggers whose target audience is same as yours. I said, “not-so-popular bloggers” with a reason.
The popular ones with huge following seem to be super busy that they don’t seem to have time for “ordinary people” except you’re coming as a company or celebrity – which you’re not yet. Ask them to write a review about your product on their blogs. Afterwards, ask their readers for an honest feedback on it. Make sure you give them some incentives for reviewing your products. It could be money, free sample or whatever.
Adblabla did this effectively through the network of their over one thousand bloggers when they launched their latest service. The service allows you to place sponsored posts simultaneously across large network of blogs at a heavily discounted rate.
Take advantage of the social media
According to a statistic almost 7.1 million people are active on Facebook daily in Nigeria, making her Africa’s biggest user of the social media platform. How does that help your market research you ask? A lot. You start by joining relevant Facebook groups and pages with huge following. Stick around for sometimes to build relationship with the group members. Then, present your business to them and ask for their honest feedback on your new product.
Be prepared for negative and irrelevant comments. Pick only the ones that benefit you and run with them. Don’t take it personal with anyone who drops a negative comment. Take it as one of those things Nigerians are good at doing – mouth lashing.
Use reputable research Company
If you have enough money to spare, you can as well try reputable market research companies in Nigeria. The ones that come to mind are:
- Market Trends Research International
- Leyhausen Research Africa
- The Market Research Consultancy Limited (The MRC Group)
- Deep Dive Research
- GFK in Nigeria
- Random Dynamic Resources ltd
- And a host of others.
You should only consider this option if you have enough money to spare because it could be a little bit expensive (depending on the company you meet) since you’re taking the load completely from your shoulder to theirs.
Play the spy game
You’re definitely not going to Jericho or Canaan to spy its inhabitants. This one involves placing your product in targeted stores to test customer response under real-life buying atmosphere. With this method, you can observe their actual buying behavior and shopping patterns. This will help you with information regarding products improvements, price adjustments and product modification.
This method can be time-consuming. You won’t achieve much result if you’re doing it alone unless you’re the movie star “Flash”. The most effective approach would be to ask your friends or colleagues to carry out their own “spy game” at other target shops.
No matter the strategy you use, keep the general interest of your customers at heart. When it comes to building a successful business in Nigeria; the customer is the real boss.