Overview of African Research Industry

ESOMAR Global Market Research Study 2010

Since it began publishing annual industry reports, the year 2009 was the first time that ESOMAR recorded a global industry decline. Compared to the previous year, the market research industry shrank by 4.6%. The least affected region was Asia Pacific, with a moderate decline of 2.2%; while Europe recorded a massive 5.9% loss.

At first glance, the Middle East and Africa region appears to have been the worst affected with a decline of 10.2% against the previous year. Actually, however, there are many positive developments in the Africa region to qualify that negative first impression.

On the global scale, Africa remains a minor player in the market research industry, with a market size of 265 million in 2009, which accounts for less than 1% of the global industry (28.9 billion).

Developments in Africa
The ESOMAR Industry report covers only a handful of African markets; country data are available for only South Africa and Nigeria. So, it is important to bear in mind that ESOMAR coverage of Africa remains fragmentary at best.

[read more – ESOMAR Global Market Research Study 2010 by Jane Delorie & Margit Cleveland – 262K – PDF]

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Strategic Planning


Strategic Planning is a process by which we can envision the future and develop the necessary procedures and operations to influence and achieve that future“. ~Clark Crouch

At its simplest, strategic planning is the process of documenting for your organization (or even department) 3 basic elements:

  • Where are you now?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • How do you go about getting there?

It is perhaps easiest to envisage your strategic plan as a road map … before you set out on a journey you need to establish first where you are and then where you want to go. After identifying both these points on the map you will be able to trace the various routes that are possible and decide on which best suits your purpose.

For most journeys there will be a wide range of options open to you – mode of travel, who will travel with you, what route you will take, speed, detours, etc. You must make choices and adjust along the way to accommodate unexpected obstacles. Strategic planning is exactly the same. It is simply the process of planning how you will take your organization from where you are now to where you would like to be in the future. Your strategic plan is your road map for this journey.

If you don’t know where you are going, you are certain to end up somewhere else.” ~Yogi Berra

The result of planning should be effective, efficient, and economical…that is, suitable for the intended purpose, capable of producing the desired results, and involving the least investment of resources“. ~Clark Crouch

There are many different models for developing strategic plans and managing the implementation process. [read more – Strategic Planning by Jane Delorie – 158K – PDF]

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The Balanced Scorecard


The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) was first articulated by Robert Kaplan and David Norton in a 1992 Harvard Business Review. As a management tool it has evolved quite significantly since then. The basic principle however remains intact – you can’t manage a business by looking only at the financials, you need to take a much more holistic look. The BSC requires managers to look at four key elements of their business:

The financial perspective or “how we look to shareholders”.
An organisation’s financial performance is fundamental to its survival and to satisfying its shareholders. As such, few organizations suffer from any lack of financial data however it is not always organized or presented in a useful manner and there is sometimes too much of it. Further, financial data by definition is historical. It tells us what happened previously and is silent on what is happening now or what the future might hold. So, while undoubtedly useful and necessary, the financial perspective is just one of the views of the business that a manager should be looking at.

The customer perspective or “how we look to customers”.
In most businesses, it costs a lot more to find new customers than to keep the existing ones. It is important therefore to view the organization from the customer standpoint. Measurement here includes customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and image and perceptions. An organization cannot satisfy customers if it does not first seek to understand them.

The business process perspective or “how effective are we internally”
This looks at internal processes and systems, measuring how well we perform on key business drivers. The measurements themselves depend on the nature of the business but include product quality, time to market, distribution, etc. Keeping on top of how you do things allows your company to be responsive and react quickly to changes in the marketplace. It also allows you to make the most of your resources.

The learning and growth perspective or “how can we change and improve”
This perspective focuses on what must be done to develop the organization and its people. It directs our attention forward and gives a measure of future performance. Your people represent your organization, if the organization is to grow and prosper your people must also grow and prosper.

Bringing together the answers to these four different questions provides the “balanced” view of your organisation the Balanced Score Card management tool promises. Feedback from the scorecard should inform management actions and indeed strategy development.

Written by: JANE DELORIE | Principal Consultant

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