Marketing in Nigeria in 2016

Marketing in Nigeria in 2015 left most marketers on a note of near exhaustion with promotions overload and ideas depletion. We all were at a loss on what to do to get the consumer’s attention. Many promotions did not deliver desired return on investment but we kept on shouting anyway in the hope that at least our nuisance value would get some attention.

Unlikely brands partnered, goat, rams, cows, rice, free airtime were all used as incentives for consumers to buy.Buy one get one or two free also had their spotlight in this frenzy. In all of this, I saw many brand equity start to slide and many will most likely require a lot of investment in future to recover.With the understanding that the oil price is not likely to rise in the short term consequently government spending will not rise significantly. After all, many state governments in Nigeria have had to be bailed out on workers salaries.  Many state governments cannot pay the minimum wage. At the end of last year many organizations  had quietly laid off workers.

For products with high imported content, price increases will be inevitable, as the volume growth may not be realized so value growth will be the option. This means price increases and further shrinkage in consumer base and consumer patronage.

So the question is what are we going to do differently with Marketing in Nigeria in 2016 to get consumer’s attention?


1.Understand consumers’ need

The knowledge of consumer/shopper needs should be the starting point. Prescribing solutions about customers we know nothing about from behind our desks will no longer be an option. Walk in their shoes, visit them, hangout with them, shop with them , eat with them and listen closely to what they have to say .

2. Build the Brand

Continue to build the brand; brand equity dilution is not sustainable for the business in the long term. Whilst business bottom line needs to be protected, you will only be able to do that if you have a brand in the first place.

3. Apply Consumer insights in Promotions

As a company you are most likely not going to be able to survive without promotions. The question is “Does the consumer/ shopper need a return ticket to Dubai or a gift card to buy groceries for a three-month period?” Or are we continuing on the path of buy one and get one free? This is where strong consumer insight is required so that better ROI on promotions is achieved. Sometimes the trip to Dubai might work but you would have to identify and classify your target audience more efficiently to know what would pique their interest.

4. Trade Insight is critical 

Better and stronger trade insight particularly retail trade will also determine your success rate. Remember every one will be gearing up to attract the trade and it’s going to be some sort of promotions war out there. So what are you going to do differently? Display and win? Discounts? Whatever you do at the retailers end remember if the consumer does not pick soon enough, the retailer will stop buying from you. So keep the push going but also keep and eye on the pull side

5. Integrate Digital Media

Digital media is set to grow exponentially and therefore will be one of the better mediums to use to reach consumers particularly if your target is the younger consumer. Whilst all the likes will not translate to purchases it is clear that this platform will help to positively keep your brand top of mind. Provide helpful information to your consumer and avoid being overt with your brand, as you don’t build a connection that way.

6. Television going digital?

We have heard in several media reports that television will transit to digital. We heard this in 2015 though. The question is if indeed the digital transition takes place this year then we should brace up for the initial drop in TV viewership. Which stations will survive and which ones will die? Time will tell. It is expected that there will be increases in media rates as most media channels require one form or the other of imported component to maintain  equipments and  even procure new ones. Think of what works best for your product category. This may not be the time to tick all the boxes on all media channels.

7. Product Pricing

With the downward spiral of the Naira versus the  US dollar it is inevitable that products with high imported components will have no choice than to increase price. The impact of this on product off-take and consequently on volume growth will be grave.  The recent Presidential media chat highlighted that the slow pace of the economy will persist for the most part of 2016; so we do not foresee a change in the oil price. It is reasonable to think that consumer’s disposable income will be stretched to the limit and there will be a high level of discretion in spending. We may all need to review our annual marketing plans already in the first quarter of 2016 to survive in the current economic turbulence.

Businesses with innovative marketing strategies backed by strong consumer and trade insights for their brands and categories might just be the survivors.

Author: Iquo Ukoh