15 Mar Market research in Africa
Market research in Africa – daring adventure or exciting challenge?
If you would like to conduct market research in Africa, you have to be prepared that things are done differently than you are used to. Life proceeds at a different pace in Africa, therefore it is important to have plenty of time and patience. However, as soon as you are ready to compromise on the notorious German virtues punctuality and perfectionism and to immerse yourself, you will be surprised how well everything works out.
You will see that the focus group, originally scheduled for 6pm, will probably start at 8pm because participants are stuck in traffic, need to run some urgent errands or the re-screening process takes much longer than expected. However, when it finally starts, you can look forward to lively discussions with active participants who are willing to seriously deal with the topics at hand, express their honest opinions and provide insights into their lives without hesitation.
It took us some time and also a couple of misunderstandings to learn what the differences are. One of the many anecdotes about our African projects dates back to one of our first projects in Kenya:
We were commissioned to conduct a baseline survey with the help of focus groups in Nairobi. When looking for a suitable research location, we quickly found out that a one-way mirror was not a standard test studio feature. After searching for a long time, we finally found a test studio that could offer a one-way mirror. Excited about having found an appropriate location, we did not ponder the meaning of the side remark „works best at night“. As a consequence, we found ourselves sitting in a room with a glass wall that certainly allowed us to observe the focus group; however, it also allowed participants to take a closer look at us.
Every research project in Africa is a new challenge and an adventure that we look forward to with excitement.
On that note: Let’s go to Africa and Hakuna matata!