A challenge for geomarketing in developing countries

Nicholas Allo

Visual Earth

Background

The application of geomarketing and geodemographic principles, within developed countries such as Britain and America, may be considered as advanced with respect to how both principles are applied. It is also understood that these principles offer an adoptive organisation or entity an improved capacity for insight into a given population. Geodemography (also described as socioeconomic profiles) is reported as being widely used in both the private and public sectors of the aforementioned countries and, as such, is continually researched and improved upon by participants in the sectors mentioned. Its application is seen in the fields of marketing (Tynan & Drayton 1987; Sleight 1997), education (Batey & Brown 2007; Singleton 2004; Singleton & Longley 2008) and policy derivation (DETR 2000; Harris & Longley 2002; Noble et al. 2006). However, there exists a stark contrast when comparing ‘like for like’ with a country like Nigeria or with similar developing countries. When such a comparison is made, social and economic inconsistencies, prompted by the lack of insight into socioeconomic distributions within a population, outside of generic differentiation offered from census variables – demography (age, gender and marital status), education (basic, secondary and tertiary), living conditions (household size, dwelling configuration and ownership) and income (unemployed, employed and self-employed), becomes more obvious. In addition, the inability to obtain granular population insight, at an individual or household level, when attempting to apply the principles of geomarketing in Nigeria, is believed to compound further an already difficult situation when seeking insight. This is perceived to be a likely barrier to accurate consumer insight within the country, irrespective of success stories sometimes shared of successful organisations found operating in Nigeria. It is also good to note that there exists the belief that Nigeria’s population, roughly estimated at 160 million people from its 2006 enumeration exercise, offers a good chance at success for any service-oriented organisation operating within its boundaries by meeting the needs of this population, via its services on offer. Though widely reported that a large proportion of this population, about 70%, daily experiences economic hardship, there are reports of increasing consumer spending in this and other similar regions, prompting what might appear a scramble for an entry point into the market.