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Why Frontline Market Research is the best research company for Africa

Jun 30, 2020
Why Frontline Market Research is the best research company for Africa

Frontline Market Research (FMR) is a South African based market research company that specialises in Africa. They have offices in Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth and representation in most of the rest of Africa.

As a professional marketer I have worked with FMR for many years. I have enjoyed watching the company grow and what has always impressed me is their innovation and boldness.

I asked Steve Johnson, their director of the Strategic Projects Division, to describe FMR in a few words.

“We are a full service market research consultancy company and we believe that we have some of the most granular African market environment data available. Our ongoing research ensures that our data is up to date and we frequently undertake bespoke projects for companies that require specialised market research and insights,” he replied.

So how well do they know Africa?

There are few organisations that know this continent better. As FMR say, they have walked the streets, driven the roads and hiked the bush of this diverse and complex continent. It is no wonder that their catch phrase is “We know Africa.”

There are a couple of countries, most of them war torn, where FMR has not worked and this is only because no one has requested research in those areas.   The state of upheaval is not the reason for FMR’s lack of footprint. In fact FMR made their name by conducting research in countries where others feared to tread.

I met the founder of FMR, Kevin Abraham, in the early ‘90s and was fascinated with his approach to market research. He literally walked barefoot into countries that had just emerged from civil wars, genocide and other forms of strife. A more unassuming, less threatening person than Kevin would have been hard to find.

No warlord, freedom fighter or despotic politician saw Kevin as an adversary. He got to places where the bigger names in market research would have required armoured vehicles, a Special Forces security team and a huge budget just to set foot.

Kevin’s informal attire of shorts and T-shirts hid a very astute and statistically minded brain and a determined and highly organised busy strategy.

So when the likes of Coca Cola and ABINBEV wanted to enter a previously untapped market they called the FMR team to find them every retail outlet, formal and informal.

Today FMR uses the same grassroots research approach but makes use of cutting edge technology too.

Market research services

FMR’s market research services are comprehensive and include retail tracking services, route to market research, various fit for purpose retail audits and census, satisfaction surveys, shopper/consumer surveys, stock generated market share (SGMS), trader and customer satisfaction surveys, market sizing and segmentation, time and motion studies, execution audits and more.

Steve adds, “The Retail Census process is one of the of key research methodologies within our basket of products that clients require when wanting to really understand the market. We literally ‘walk the streets’ to obtain a census of all the businesses that a customer requires in a geographically defined region.”

FMR makes use of in house developed technology as well as leveraging off of GIS software called SpacialXL and RouteXL. They have an exceptional knowledge on various GIS software solutions and offer training, consulting and support on SpatialXL BI Suit.

“Our Geomapping team has a wealth knowledge filled to the brim with rich information that will help you make better informed business decisions,” says Steve.

Their Outlet Location & Activation (OLA) App ensures that every outlet researched has its GPS location mapped, images recorded and other data captured accurately and efficiently.

Steve says, “This data is invaluable. Our customers can increase their sales and reduce their costs. We not only find them more outlets for their products, but also improve travel efficiencies for sales reps and delivery vehicles.”

Understanding the market environment

Having gathered massive amount of data on the market environment, it is then the job of FMR’s Retail Tracking Services to keep that data relevant.

Elmari Campher, director of Retail Tracking Services says, “We measure retail data and trends over time and use that information to provide both strategic insights and tactical actions into African markets.”

FMR’s retail tracking services allow clients to track their performance in the market environment versus their competitors, measure brand and product successes and identify threats.

“Our objective is to enable our customers to strengthen their market position,” adds Elmari

To do this Elmari and her team use Full Retail Audits, Bi-monthly Retail Audit, Tactical Retail Audits, Frontline Stock Generated Market Share, Execution Audits, and Satisfaction Surveys.

Yes, they do know Africa

In my opinion, Frontline Market research knows Africa. Not only do they know this, the continent with the fastest growth rate, but they have the data available in formats that make it easy to convert into revenue.

Contact Steve Johnson on 084 200 0111 or email steve@frontlineafrica.com. Contact Elmari Campher on 074 838 5555

Visit them at 210 Amarand Avenue, Pegasus Building 1, Menlyn Maine, Pretoria or at Clarendon Court, 9 Lutman Street, Richmond Hill, Port Elizabeth