How to market a business in Nigeria

Marketing your business in Nigeria, no matter the product or service is not an easy thing. Many companies fail to achieve success in the market place because they get marketing strategies wrong. If you are in business, you will discover that it is fairly straight forward to choose the market you want to serve and make your product available for sale. Converting your products or services to cash in many cases is a herculean task. But not to worry, because this write-up is designed to reveal how to market a business in Nigeria and achieve some measure of success.

Building the products or service s

You need a product or service before you can think of marketing. Follow these steps to create a product or services for your small business.

1. Define your target market

Define the market you want to serve since you cannot serve every market. You must define the specific market you want to reach. Is it going to the consumer market or industrial market or government market? If it is the consumer market, what is the gender, the age brackets? It is by identifying your market that you will be able to push your products through the market place. Industrial products marketing tactics are completely different from consumers. For example, if you are producing soft drinks, to sell your products, you visit the outlets that deal with consumers directly but if on the other hand, you deal on cleaning fluid, you must visit companies that use your fluid to clean their equipment.

When this is done, research the market to identify their needs and wants. As you become aware of the product/service for the target market, find out the likely demand for the product or services, who are the competitors and how are they marketing their products.

2. Translate outcome to products or services

Here you translate the outcome of the research into products or services. Make sure the new product is well appraised in terms of testing the product concept, its technical suitability and commercial viability. If all is well, the new product has to be tested for its market acceptance before it is commercially launched. The new product will have to be marketed to the target market. The following are the strategies to be used to market the product in the market place.

How to market a business in Nigeria

Follow these steps to market your business in Nigeria.

1. Brand the product or service

Brand the product or service, In other words, give the new product identity to differentiate it from competitors. You need to educate consumers about:

  • Who the product is – by giving it a name or other brand elements to identify it.
  • What the product does – product benefits.
  • Why consumers should associate and care about the product.

There are different strategies to be used to brand your product, i.e. giving the product a name that is associated with existing company’s product, or a new name if the existing company’s product is not doing well in the market.

2. Visit existing markets

Visit the existing markets in the city such as Tejuosho market in Yaba, Lagos where your prospective customers are. Market your products to the shops, and if they buy your products, you are a winner.  They are the outlets that will sell your products.

3. Find out what your competitors are doing

Find out what the competitors are doing to sell their products.  If they are using supermarkets, use supermarkets because existing customers will be looking for the same products in the supermarkets. The supermarket outlet is mainly for consumer goods.  If on the other hand, you are dealing with industrial goods such as chemical, it is only by visiting manufacturers that use your raw-materials that you be able make a sale.

4. Trade fairs

Make use of trade fairs to introduce a new product and an existing ones. Trade fairs are held on an annual basis mainly to showcase new and existing products in the market. It is advisable to find out when the next trade fair will be held to participate in it and showcase to your prospective customers your new and existing products.  On the trade fair proper, display your products and be ready to introduce and demonstrate the efficacy of your product. The objective is not just to make sales but to spread information about your good products and take as many names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses as possible. So that you can use these information for marketing. Contact those visitors to your pavilion once the trade fair is concluded.

5. Exhibitions

If you have an innovative product that will get people excited and change their lives, it is a good idea to publicize it as soon as the product is available for sale through an exhibition.  The exhibition can be specified for an individual company but since a small business might not be able to foot the bills of the exhibition, it may join other companies to showcase and demonstrate their new products. Industrial products such as engine spare parts or new industrial chemical will draw the attention organisations making use of the products.  If the products is innovative, prospective dealers and other companies that make use of your products will be struggling to reach you.

6. Press conference

This is a very sure way to market a promising product particularly products and services that can serve the industry or government agencies. A good example is security gadgets that are complex and very effective in dictating suspicious movements. The press and members of organisations will be invited and the Chief Executive Officer of the business will personally demonstrate and explain the efficacy and benefits of the products with a reasonable period for guarantee.

7. Website presence

Businesses today use their presence on the web to draw traffic to their product since the website is seen today as your online office. Don’t underestimate what the website can do. Since your office may be in an obscure area or out of the city, the prospective customer will only locate you on the web and may even seal a deal on the space. To attract visitors to your site, write a quality content of the kind of information that visitors will like to read. Tell them about your company and its products on the ‘about page’ and use social media to spread the information about your company and products and services. Engage a social media professional to spread the information across all social media network. can build a website and help with social media marketing at affordable price.

8. Email Marketing

If you have industrial products to market, the use of email to reach your prospective customers is a positive development. Collect emails of prospective customers through website and social media. Then get a reliable email marketing platform like Constant Contact to send emails. Send emails of our products and services. You will be surprised at the responses. This will be a way to keep your customer base aware of new developments without having to visit your office.

9. Make yourself available

It may interest you to know that some entrepreneurs make their names when they show up at community and industry group level. You can start by organising a small seminar. If you are dealing with special dog food, for example, advertise in the local bulletin or distribute flyers around the community that you have important information on dogs. When dog owners arrive for the seminar, demonstrate the wonders your products can do but concentrate on taking the visitors names and other important contact details.

Other major routes of reaching your market place or space

10. Satisfied customers

These are the most effective sources of leads.    To  maximise the usefulness of satisfied customers, salespeople must follow several logical steps:-   First, make  a list of potential references, i.e., customers who might provide leads information;   Next, decide what you would like each customer to do (e.g. have the customer write a personal letter of introduction, see whether the customer would be willing to take phone inquiries).  Finally, salespeople should ask the customer for the names of leads and for the specific type of help he can provide.

11. Endless chain

Salesperson attempts to secure at least one additional lead from each person he interviews the person buys the company products or not.

12. Centre of influence

Salespeople should join organizations or participate in activities where they can meet and interact with influential people who may become customers or refer prospects to them. If the officer you would like to see is a member of a club, visit or join the club if it is possible.  If the prospect is a member of a particular organization, join, the bottom line is making a sale. However, the arithmetic must add up well to make economic sense.

13. Spotters

Persuade ordinary working people (such as retail clerks, non-competing salespeople) to provide leads and information to you about prospects.

14. Networking

Salespeople use personal relationships with those who are connected and willing to assist to secure leads.

15. Promotional activities

Offer bonanzas and other promotions in exchange patronage.

16. Social Media

Make use of social Media to find customers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and few other are very good for business promotion.

17. Lists and directories

You should use secondary data sources, which can be free or fee-based. Secondary data sources may include information that is published already but which you find useful such business directory.

18. Internal records

Obtaining information from company records (for example, customer lists for other products) may reveal many potential prospects

19. Cold canvassing

Visiting companies in a promising neighbourhood or calling people listed in the telephone book to uncover prospects.

20. Observations

Be alert to changes or events in your territory that might affect your sales, reading newspapers, watching T.V programmes are one way to find leads.

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Chris Okafor

Chris Okafor

Chief Chris Okafor is a marketing consultant and CEO of C. J. Marketing Academy, providing training services to the industry and educational services to the profession.
He produces study materials for the students studying for the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) examinations.
He also provides tutorial services for students writing the NIMN examinations

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