Africa holds a lot of growth opportunities for companies – both local and multinationals – looking to expand its global presence in an increasingly competitive world. African markets are becoming increasingly prioritized in the in the marketing strategy of top global organizations.
With 54 unique nations, the challenge that managers and executives at multinationals have in defining the right marketing strategy is having a good sense of which markets across the continent to prioritize.
The markets that would bring the most ROI to the organization marketing and business development costs.
Why Nigeria should be prioritized in your marketing strategy?
Nigeria, the most populous African country, with 180 million inhabitants, is usually an important market for businesses expanding in Africa. As the continent’s largest economy with a GDP of $376 Billion, Nigeria holds significant rewards for multinational firms looking to tap into its large consumer base.
The rewards of a large market do not come without its risks and challenges. Our recent 2019 survey of Nigerian business owners and entrepreneurs revealed that 33% of businesses list a hostile business environment as a major impediment to the growth of their business. Day-to-day challenges such as inconsistent power supply, bad roads, financing access, and a limited supply of qualified staff, also top of the list of what limits the true potential for growth in Nigeria.
For your business to be successful in Nigeria, one of the most important growth potential in the next decade, you need to apply a realistic marketing strategy that is in line with yearly growth goals – both short and long term.
Do a quick country-to-country comparison to know whether Nigeria should be prioritized in your Africa marketing strategy. Here are a few comparisons between Nigeria and some of the other major economies in Africa.
- Economy Score Card: Algeria vs. Nigeria
- Economy Score Card: Ghana vs. Nigeria
- Economy Score Card: Kenya vs. Nigeria
- Economy Score Card: South Africa vs. Nigeria
Localize your solution
To succeed in Nigeria, your job will be to uncover latent opportunities and then localize your solution to meet those needs in a very price-sensitive market. Although you may have a product and service that brings in millions in revenue in other parts of the world, when you bring these solutions into the Nigerian market you first have to understand the unique needs of your intended target base.
To do this, you have to start with some rigorous due-diligence. By spending some time upfront, understanding the total addressable market for your solution and also teasing out your unique value proposition, you will be several steps ahead of your competition.
Gathering hard-to-find market information will give you the insights you need to adapt your marketing strategy to fit the local needs. The results from your due-diligence will also help you understand the appropriate business model and marketing channels to use to streamline your supply chain to your customers in Nigeria.
Choose a business model
The business model you choose will depend on your organization’s goals. However, there are two main approaches – the incorporation and the partnership model – and they both have their pros and cons.
The incorporation model means that your organization is ready to incorporate a local entity in Nigeria. This approach gives you and your team more ownership in how you build the business, your brand, and control over customer relationships. However, it does take time to get up and running.
You will have a steeper learning curve to get acclimatized to the local regulatory and distribution landscape. The second approach is to partner with a local business.
Build strategic alliances with on-ground support
Through partnerships, your organization would be building its sales channels, reliant on indirect sales, through a local partner who brings your team the local expertise that your team needs. The advantage here is the faster speed to market and the access to expertise and insights of a local partner that knows how to navigate the business landscape better than your organization – at least initially.
Regardless of the business model you choose, you will have to rely on “on-ground” support teams and qualified personnel, to constantly execute on your business goals and marketing strategy.
Staying “anchored” as a marketing strategy
Once you have identified your market and continue building out a local team to serve your customer base, you’ll have to stay connected and constantly anchored to the market. Nigeria is a very dynamic market. Regulations, policies, and certain marketing trends change frequently. By staying updated on the market dynamics, you have a higher chance of retaining and increasing your customer base in Nigeria.
To have an edge over the competition, stay anchored to the market by getting up-to-date news from credible news sources, along with advice from a community of local business owners and professionals.
Having a good network is an invaluable asset that will allow you to adapt your marketing strategy. Giving you the agility to make sure your business remains viable to the changes in the market.
Building relationships and optimizing for the long-term.
Building a business in Nigeria is no easy feat but with localized solutions, strategic partners, and up-to-date market information you will be on your path to reaping the rewards of a high-growth market that holds tremendous potential.
Building long-term relationships, as part of your marketing strategy, is the key to winning in the Nigerian market. So make sure you prioritize building solid and meaningful commercial relationships along the way and at each step of your business development goals in Africa’s largest economy.