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Africa's marketing imperatives

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Africa's marketing imperatives

Africa is a continent of continents; massive in scale and diversity. Expanding across Africa requires not just careful consideration and planning but nerves of steel to deal with the complexities in data gathering, politics, consumer influences, exchange rate fluctuations and ways of doing business.

It is doomed to fail unless you understand the consumer dynamics at a hyper-local level. Don’t expect to rely on Big Data - not only is it difficult to gather; it is incomparable across markets due to varying collection methods, quality controls and infrastructure. Ideally, you need to build your own data from the customer up, but this takes time and resources that few have at the outset.

It’s a long road to marketing effectiveness. Yellowwood suggests a few simple steps to get you going:

Analyse people before data

Get to know your prospective customers at a personal level. Do the road trips and talk to hundreds of people to get a good enough feel for the different types of customers out there. Do it in less formal, ethnographic ways and take pictures for the team back home.

It sounds expensive, but it’s cheap insurance against poor decision-making in the future, and it allows you to add anecdotal colour to the data you find and recognise which sources of data to trust.

Focus on commonalities not differences

Most countries in Africa think they are unique, but digging into consumer behaviour reveals that we are all more similar than we think. Ask yourself how you can cluster countries together so that you can be more effective and efficient in your marketing efforts. Cluster in a way that makes sense for your business – whether by regulatory constraints or consumer needs, growth rates or competitive landscape, size or potential. 

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