7 Mistakes To Avoid When Marketing in Nigeria

school children walking through dosumu market on a monday

When multinational firms look for international markets to expand into, they look at certain factors before deciding whether to invest. These factors such as populations, GDP and wealth make Nigeria a very alluring market for multinationals looking to expand their global presence.

However, capturing opportunity in Nigeria is not as straightforward as the clear macroeconomic signals that attract companies. To capture opportunity, companies have to successfully navigate the business landscape in Nigeria. One of the main factors of success in Nigeria is the strength of a company’s marketing to get its product and service in the hand of your customer.

Here are seven mistakes to avoid when marketing in Nigeria.

  1. Selling a product that people do not need:
    A key to success in business is offering products and services for which customers have a compelling need. The customer has a problem that needs to be solved, and the product or service provides the solution in such an effective way that its benefits are not difficult to communicate. Identifying the true needs of consumers in Nigeria is not always easy for some companies. Not having experienced the day-to-day lives of its target customers, businesses make the mistake by assuming that what people in Nigeria want or need exactly matches the wants and needs of consumers in other countries.
  2. Not properly understanding the Nigerian consumer:
    To produce effective advertising requires a deep understanding of the culture, customs, morals and even religious views that predominate Nigeria. The average Nigerian consumer is aspirational but also very situational. What motivates them to buy products varies from one period to another or from one region to the other. It is a company’s ability to utilize those deep local and cultural insights that determines, to an extant, if its marketing will be successful or not.
  3. Not knowing who your competitors are:
    Some companies do not do a thorough enough job understanding the competitive landscape for their products in Nigeria. Without knowledge of the current products, it’s difficult to properly price and promote your product to gain initial traction. Business in Nigeria is very relationship-based and some customers and distributors buy products because of the relationship they have with the producer. A new company that has not established any customer loyalty may be better off collaborating with a dominant player in the market than trying to compete initially.
  4. Doing “safe and expected” marketing:
    When creating a marketing campaign that taps into a true need and is communicated in a way that has relevance to the consumer, a product has a higher chance of success. However, the same marketing approach can not be used repeatedly. The Nigerian consumer wants something presented in a new and fresh way. Companies however start relying on what worked in the past or what worked for their company in other markets. Businesses have to look past their preconceived notions of what marketing should be when they are in the Nigerian market.
  5. Focusing so much on content and not context:
    “Some companies have the right product and right message but they don’t communicate at the right time or in the right situation.” says Folake Steaze Johnson, Head of Marketing at Workforce group. These companies overemphasize the content of their marketing communication without paying too much attention the context in which the message is delivered. Companies make this mistake of marketing their product to a consumer at moments or in environments when they are not open to receiving your marketing message.
  6. Impatience:
    A lot of companies in Nigeria are too eager for results and are not willing to see a marketing campaign through to the end. These companies tend to meddle with ongoing campaigns. Pivoting mid-campaign usually sends conflicting messages to the consumer which is detrimental to the long term success of the developed marketing strategy. Azad Abdullahi, Senior Marketing Specialist at Workforce Group, poses this interesting question to companies that switch strategy mid-campaign. “It’s understandable – you’re spending money, you want to see results, but why pay an expert to assist with your marketing if you knew how to market your product in the first place?”
  7. Entrusting your marketing to unqualified resources:
    There are a lot of “marketers” out there in Nigeria and companies are sometimes too eager to find resources to get their product to market, so they end up with unqualified marketing resources. A lot of these unverified “marketing consultants” go around sharing used and out-dated marketing templates with clients. Companies should look for marketing professionals that have years of experience helping companies grow in Nigeria. These professionals leverage their industry expertise and local knowledge to successfully market your product. Finding people who are trustworthy and competent can be quite challenging, so ask for recommendations from your network or from companies that have had successful marketing strategies in Nigeria.

    Looking for a credible marketing expert or agency in Nigeria. Contact us and we will connect you with quality resources in our network.


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About The Author

Nifemi Aluko

Connecting global organizations with quality information and insights to help them succeed in the Nigerian market… Passionate about business, technology, and music.

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