Market research is a critical tool for companies seeking to exploit new markets or maintain their competitiveness in ever-changing evolving market environments.
This is because market research provides important information, which helps to identify and analyse the needs of a market, its size, opportunities for growth and the competition.
This is true for companies venturing into Africa and its diverse market landscape. For most of these companies, leading market research company, the Frontline Research Group, is their market research partner of choice, on the African continent.
With their vast experience in Africa, Frontline assists clients with formulating market research projects, as well as collecting and analysing the data required, to provide actionable insights.
Business Link magazine (BL) sought to find out more about this service from Vaughan Deacon, Client Relations Manager at Frontline (VD). Here is what we found out.
BL: What is Market Research, as one of the services offered by the Frontline Research Group?
VD: Market research has various definitions, depending on the various sectors and respondent profiles being focussed on for the research, as well as where and how the data will be used, but broadly put, it involves the gathering, analysing and interpreting of the information gathered, relating to a specific market, product or service offering.
This can be used prior to entering a new market, to ascertain a need within that market, or once you have entered the market, to ascertain the success of your offering and strategy, versus that of your competitors, and the market as a whole.
Market research can also take the form of a short, bespoke study, or a long term analysis, where the data can be trended over time.
BL: How important is Market Research for businesses venturing into Africa?
VD: Marker research is key to understand the markets within Africa. We have seen successful companies from the USA & Europe, trying to enter the African markets, using the methodologies, and experience gained in these territories, and fail to gain the foothold they needed, as they did not understand the market dynamics here, as quite different to what they are used to.
Although Africa is evolving quickly, and especially because of this, one needs to understand the market within each country, and a blanket approach cannot be assumed. Even within South Africa, what works within Mpumalanga, will not necessarily work within the Western Cape.
The diversity within Africa is what makes it appealing, but this needs to be understood, in order to succeed.
BL: Why must a company outsource its Market Research?
VD: Although many companies have in-house insights teams, many of these do not have the capability or capacity to run large scale, or long term tracking projects. Also, using an independent third party, allows for objective analysis of the results, and data collected.
For companies, who do not have the luxury of an in-house insights team, partnering with a research agency, such as Frontline, becomes a key relationship that focusses on building the clients market intelligence, in order for them to grow their business.
BL: What differentiates Frontline from other companies offering this service?
VD: Frontline prides itself in not just selling “off the shelf” data to our clients, but rather tailoring our products around their specific needs.
This means using your definitions, your trade channels, your regions, and your list of measures, giving you insights into your world. We become your strategic partner, rather than simply a supplier.
BL: Typically, how do you work with the client on the Market Research projects?
VD: As mentioned previously, we look at becoming a strategic partner with our clients. This means many hours of consulting with the client, to gain a deep understanding of their business, as well as their business needs.
We bring our experience of over 22 years of operating across Africa, as well as that of working in various market sectors, and marry that with the knowledge and experience of our client, in order to provide the best solution to meet their needs.
BL: What else is happening with Market Research as offered by Frontline?
VD: Frontline offers an array of market research solutions, and we are constantly looking at ways to provide a wider basket of products. We are currently expanding our service offering, as well as our knowledge base, in order to provide a more holistic offering to our clients.
Market research is an evolution of continuous learning, and at Frontline, we embrace this philosophy, in order to provide our clients with data they can trust.
To find out more or how the company can assist you, call +27 (0)86 999 0407, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them online at frontlineafrica.com. Alternatively, visit Clarendon Court, 9 Lutman Street, Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth, 6001.