YEMISI ADENUGBA (FALEYE) is currently the Project Comptroller for Action Plan Int’l. Her mandate is to create a profitable and sustainable business that supports organizations to achieve set and expected business goals and objectives. Yemisi is abreast of consumer behavior, business planning, business process & structure and geospatial intelligence in Africa, having worked extensively in Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, and Mauritania in the past. She has a great record of accomplishments and her depth of knowledge is apt for tactical and strategic decisions, and the fixing of low-hanging fruits. She leverages her skills, experiences and expertise to drive strategic business growth for her clients due to her very hands-on and versatile paradigm shifting actionable insights. As an employee, she worked for FCMB as the Head, Research & Insight but prior to that, she worked for etisalat where she coordinated the Market Research, Geo-Marketing, Business Intelligence and Planning functions at the early stage of the network. Upon growth, she focused on her turf i.e. Research to provide insights that helped to grow a strong brand Equity for the then etisalat which grew from 0% to 15% market share within the four years of commercial launch. Her long-term goal is to handle and support the business of her clients with knowledge, evidence & insights for competitive and comparative advantages.
We would like to know your area of specialization as a company?
Action Plan International Limited is a Business Readiness and Improvement consultancy. What do I mean? What we do is help businesses from the conceptualization stage the rough growth and leadership. Action Plan provides consultancy services including but not limited to strategic business plan, commercial roll out plan, human capital plan, commercial planning & budget, trainings, Market research, etc.
In between, we also help client provide process and establish structures that works. Every business needs to have relevant processes across its business streams and a working structure that defines it and helps it to become a profitable and sustainable business entity. The kind of process we create is always very detailed and granular such that new resource can easily and quickly step-in into the game while standing on his feet or her feet without any disconnection. We are very much up-to-speed in our turf that is Market research. We also conduct Social research, and Opinion polling. Maybe you have issues that you need to resolve and you need to understand what actually is causing the effect that you are seeing on your bottom-lines, Action Plan is the go-to for you. Do you intend to go into new product development or to extend your lines to gate-keep a gap in your brand/market performance, lets support you at Action Plan with insight and strategy that work. We are also into customer experience development & management. We articulate based on what you have that is internal and external values to inform your customer journey map and how you want your stakeholders to feel anytime and every time contact you across your touch points. All these we articulate to give insight into developing a sustainable customer experience strategy that has the outcome a natural and premium organization. We also deliver analytics by critiquing and marrying your internal and with external data to inform solutions that impact on your bottom-lines. Basically, that’s our speciality.
How will you assess market research industry in Africa?
It’s an evolving space going by how the digital technology is defining how things work everywhere. I can say that, although the windows of better opportunities are beginning to open wider but unfortunately most are yet to fully catch in and still trying to embrace a lot of new thinking, new ideas. The good news is that the way we collect data has really changed in the last five years as lot of us have moved from pen and paper to digital collection platforms e.g. computer assisted or other devices assisted which has helped in reducing turn-around time for projects.
Moreover, we now have online audiences using different platforms, which we didn’t use to have in Africa. You will agree that we are really evolving and I am sure we will soon catch up with most of our counterparts in other developed markets provided we continue, we try to improve, we maintain the same run rate and perhaps improve on it; then we can compare favorably as time goes by and in no time.
The theme of the event is Building Tomorrow; Africa Leading how realistic is this?
Very realistic, we are growing. We are evolving and seriously, there are things that are peculiar to us that we can take ownership of, to lead in that space. There are new things that are happening, a lot of youths and other people are coming up with ingenious developments. For instance I know about a guy who generates energy for electricity without fuel but using a combination of solar and other local sourced materials. He is able to generate constant electricity and what he is waiting for, is the capital to develop it commercially. if you go into the online space, you’ll see series of invention coming up from Africa. In time Africa would lead in creatively developing things that work well for us and which can be repeated and sustained. I see opportunity for Africa to lead, may be not in the immediate, but perhaps in the next five or ten years.
Where is Nigeria particularly in the ranking of market research companies in Africa?
Unfortunately, I don’t have the current data but from past data and experience, we are really far behind as we are still not very consistent with the things that we do or how we practice research. I am not sure if you rate first 25 research companies in the world that any agency with African origin will feature, I know that the first 25 agencies will most certainly have origins coming from Europe, America and Middle East. We will get there…(smiling).
We still struggle to have a framework that should drive how we work or conduct our business. I hope that NiMRA, AMRA and other ancillary members will at some point in the near future get the legs and wings to stand and really begin to fly so that we can change whatever position we presently occupy. Incidentally, some of us are creating reporting tools and in a matter of time we will be able to emerge and say this is our own solution for market research and it’s coming from Nigeria.
The truth is, when we put our minds to it, we can leverage platforms such as this Africa Forum to push us in the direction of relevance and leadership. I am hoping that this conference will be an enabler to push Africa/Nigeria agency forward towards being listed in the first 25-research agencies in the world.
What are your expectations from AF 2019?
One, I am looking forward to seeing a market research industry with better visibility than what we have at the moment. I want to see improved visibility for us so that when a local agency Action Plan International for instance, is mentioned; a typical research user will not find it difficult to identify with it as a “must- work-with” agency. Aside Visibility, I look forward to better connection and relevance.
…when companies merge or partner they become stronger … ?
Seriously size matters, but unfortunately because of the peculiarity of our culture even beyond the industry practice, we lack trust and there is also fear due to money being very present in the process. That’s why you see collaboration falling through. Trust and fear issues are the two completely impairing factor in Nigeria. I said before that size matters, so if NiMRA gets to where it’s supposed to be, we can leverage and have a repository of data which we can explore to perform quality analytics and develop other insights different from the original and initial purpose of the date for the benefits of the industry and the country. Any money made from such can be shared among the owners of data and a little set aside for improvement and further development. Hopefully, we will get there.
Would you say such factors are affecting market research in Africa?
I should think so but I will be careful to say yes since I don’t have data to back my claim. Nonetheless, I believe trust and fear are also affecting collaboration in Africa, as I have not seen a lot of market research companies that originated from Africa coming together to tackle a particular area to provide insight in that area.
What are the challenges you think are affecting market research in Africa?
Some of them are infrastructural in nature. Others are push back from the research users. As a typical research user will rather use suppliers/providers from developed countries than the indigenous ones. You see most of them would give out the 100% of their budget for research to the international research companies instead of allowing the indigenous suppliers have a share of the pie. So then how do the indigenous ones grow when those who should use research not buying but would prefer to import instead because of poor mindset or simple prejudice. These are some of the things that are stifling growth. I hope with AMRA conference, a change of behaviour will happen whereby a certain proportion of the research budget will be set aside for local and indigenous agencies to support their growth.
If you are to be next president of NiMRA what will you do?
If I had to be next president of NiMRA, I will first of all appreciate what my predecessors have done and try to identify issues using all available tools and resources we use to analyze data and provide insights and cause of action for our project sponsors. Considering that we have limited resources, I would try and stretch what NiMRA has into a bigger item that we can leverage to achieve those things that we don’t have. For instance, on the issue of collaboration, as many as are interested and willing but are deterred by trust and fear, we can come together signing a very strong MOU/contract that will be hard for any of the parties involved circumvent because it will be executed to be admissible in court. We can have the repository of data that we can explore and to create opportunities for visibility, recognition and relevance through publication in relevant newsprints and journals. We could also come up with insights that will drive the new government to have an all inclusive and impactful policies as we are supposed to be the owner of insights. Therefore, if I be the next NiMRA president, I will see how we can explore this even if it’s just between me and my executives by putting our differences aside and work together for progress and greater good. Before you know it, people will start noticing NIMRA and when this happens, it then becomes easier to begin to ask for certain things. It’s just about strategy and getting the buy-ins of all stakeholders to move things forward.
I am hoping to see a “wow” AFRICA FORUM. I want to see a lot of people attending because that’s when it can actually be of great value in line with expectations. I hope there is enough inducement to bring delegates from across Africa and beyond to come and see what we do and how we do it.
Overall, May AMRA bring about better visibility, better connection and better relevance for the market research industry In Nigeria and Africa.