Africa is home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies, but a lack of reliable data means that marketers are failing to make the most of opportunities across the continent, according to a survey of its members by the World Federation of Advertisers.
The African economy has tripled in size since 2002, according to market research company Ipsos, and six of the world's ten fastest-growing economies are in Africa, the International Monetary Fund reports. But 62% of WFA respondents agreed that a lack of basic market data not only hinders attempts to generate insights, but also creates a barrier to investment (for 55% of respondents) because of the difficulty of measuring ROI (for 50%).
Rob Dreblow, head of marketing capabilities at the WFA, said, "The Kenyan and Nigerian [marketer associations] are focused on media audience measurement and are making progress, but the discussions are about reliable data rather than being hugely advanced. A lot of marketers are exploring mobile as the best route to data, almost leapfrogging more traditional methods."
The WFA, which is holding its 2015 Global Marketer Week in Marrakesh, Morocco this week, is working to establish a pan-African network of senior regional marketers – just as it has in Europe, Asia and Latin America – to come together and share experiences so that they can learn from each other.
Stephan Loerke, the WFA's managing director, said in a statement "Africa's main challenges lie in its enormous size and diversity; it's imperative that companies wanting to succeed and grow here recognize that the continent isn't one economy or homogenous population block. Africa is a conglomerate of 54 countries that, more often than not, don't share policies and attitudes, and have evolved differently through their social and economic pasts."
The survey was conducted with Millward Brown and national advertiser associations from six different African countries, and is based on responses from 82 marketers, split between multinationals and local or regional brands.