LAMPE OMOYELE has had an enviable career in sales and marketing doing roles with increasing responsibility at Cadbury, Zain (now Airtel), Nutricima and GSK. His last role at GSK was Africa Marketing Director for Family Nutrition before he was recently appointed Managing Director-Nielsen West Africa.MR. OMOYELE reveals in this interview with EMEKA OKAFOR some of his strategies in maintaining the global market research leader in the sub-region.
What informed your decision to work on the supplier side having worked at all times on the client side?
I see both sides as partners within the business and marketing ecosystem and therefore this is an experience which reinforces the career that I have had over the years. Working previous roles, I have used Nielsen’s data and it has helped me to have a better understanding of consumers and retail and taking decisions that drove the performance of brands that I managed. Working with Nielsen for me is a build on all that I have done over the years. So I see this as a dimension that would expand my bandwidth and build my business and marketing capabilities.
How do you feel being the MD of Nielsen, West Africa with Nielsen being global leader in market research?
It’s a great team that we have in West Africa and I am honoured to be part of the team and to support the team to conquer new heights. It’s exciting times at Nielsen; exciting opportunities for us to grow as individuals and as a team and to support the various clients that we partner with to deliver even greater business performance.
Experiences on how you have used market research to achieve results
There are several examples. When I was at Cadbury we had a brand (TreborLuckies) that was underperforming and when we sought understanding of why it was underperforming, we did analysis using Nielsen data and realized that our distribution strategy was wrong. We were shipping product to the north but not increasing consumption. Using Nielsen data, we found that actual consumption was happening in the eastern part of the country and on that premise we changed the distribution strategy and started to send stock directly to the east and invested on the brand in the east from a marketing perspective. Over time, sales doubled. Another example: we launched various brands based on consumer insight; In Kenya, we repackaged the food drink brands such as Cadbury Drinking Chocolate from tin to plastic based on consumer insight that there was preference for plastic packaging; when we did that, the category that declined year-on-year for four years doubled in sales and grew market share over 2 years.
Innovations you are bringing to Nielsen
We have a clear Africa strategy that is derived from a global perspective which we are implementing in Nielsen. We seek to engage with new and existing clients more strongly, providing high quality data, analysis, insights and recommendations to help them achieve positive outcomes in the market place.
We are bringing new solutions for clients to measure and manage performance in order to improve their success. For instance, we have launched a Sales Force Activation product portfolio which provides store level retail execution data to enable efficient distribution and activation activities. We are currently conducting retail census of nearly 2 million outlets across Nigeria, which is the most extensive global census operation ever undertaken. We have new analytic sales forecasting tools. Capitalising on Nielsen’s global leadership in Audience Measurement we are assessing the industry appetite for Media Measurement, and we are becoming increasingly more digitized in our approach to capture data and deliver insights.
Challenges facing market research in the sub-region
I think clearly infrastructure, such as electricity, transportation is a challenge. Being able to get data as quickly as you can is another, which is why I said digitization is an important focus. Integrity of those who do field studies is a constant watch-out. Perhaps the biggest challenge is having marketers, brand managers and business owners, particularly SMEs understand the importance of data, appreciating that knowledge is an investment. Therefore we encourage more businesses to invest in information from the outset, because from personal experience, when properly used, it does help businesses grow.
Does Nielsen feel threatened by the presence of other global market research companies in Nigeria?
We are excited about the growth of the industry and acknowledge that competition is healthy for the industry. This is why Nielsen is constantly innovating to provide better solutions and richer insight plus making sure that we always live up to our value of integrity. Our global CEO Mitch Barns talks about the zero-sum game, which means greater collaboration to grow the industry. With opportunities for expanded visibility through various businesses coming into Nigeria, the more the awareness and significance of market research will grow. As the industry grows, more research companies will have the potential to grow.
How do you feel about the 2015 Nielsen Global Impact Day?
I am really encouraged by the impact that associates from Nielsen West Africa and across over a hundred countries in the world have made through this year’s Nielsen Global Impact Day, which is our annual global day of volunteering. Specifically for Nigeria we invested time and resources in the Ikeja Local Government Primary School in GRA Ikeja, where we mentored the children on various topics, renovated the borehole to provide clean, running water, provided food for everyone in the school and revamped the library and donated books. So, I am excited about doing good and doing well. For me personally, it’s really gratifying to see what has been done and the investment that Nielsen staff gave physically, financially, of their skills and time.
This year’s event is unique in terms of turn out and resources deployed to it, what’s responsible for this?
I think it’s just that we see the importance of doing good within the communities that we operate in. We challenged ourselves internally on how we can take this to a new level. We are growing as a business and we want to have a bigger impact across sectors in Nigeria with our clients, with the communities that we operate in and with brands.
Nielsen West Africa in the next five years
We are looking for significant growth –I cannot share specific numbers with you but we are aiming for profitable double -digit growth across West Africa. To achieve this, we are building a high performing team that exceeds client expectations and helps our clients to grow their businesses significantly.
Assess the markets under your control in terms of performance
In terms of size Nigeria is the biggest and that is explicable because of the size of the population and economy. All our markets are growing and we just keep challenging ourselves to deliver significant growth as we satisfy clients’ expectations.