Market Research for Advertisers

images (9)“How do we reach our target market?” Isn’t that what every business wants to know? Whether you are selling bubble gum or funeral policies, making contact with potential customers is key to your success.

In 1997 marketing people got together with their advertising agencies and the South African Advertising Research Foundation to discuss truly independent market research that would answer that critical question – right across Africa.

Working closely with SAARF, advertisers formed, first, the Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation and gave a seat on both its board and its technical committee to each of the bodies that represent the advertising and marketing industries, plus all the electronic media and any publisher with a run of more than 5,000 copies.

Together we designed a questionnaire that answers key questions:


•  Who buys what product and where?

•  What media do they watch, read and listen to?

•  What’s the best time to reach them?

•  If we want a targeted marketing campaign, who makes up our target?

•  What do they believe? Knowing this helps us develop better campaigns.

For 14 years, the Zimbabwe All Media and Products’ Survey has answered these questions to the satisfaction of the advertising industry: the people who pay for the research.

As good marketing people, we are delighted by the interest our first, urban survey of 2012 has created but we’d like to correct a few misconceptions:

•  It surveyed urban people. That was the research house’s brief. It was selected 18 months ago in an open tender, evaluated by the entire marketing spectrum of Zimbabwe

•  It asked people what they read, watched and listened to. It did not ask publishers how many copies they print: advertisers would like to know that too and ZARF actively encourages publishers to subscribe again to the Audit Bureau of Circulation. ZARF can’t do that for them and no media house in Zimbabwe has contracted with them. We know: we checked.

•  The data was closely examined by everyone interested in the advertising and media industries of Zimbabwe prior to release.

•  Zimbabwe’s ZAMPS is regarded as state of the art by other African countries who conduct similar research.

•  Media houses do stop submitting the 1.5% levy agreed to by all advertisers: but they can’t remove themselves from the survey, because their own advertisers – plus potential ones – want to know readership, listenership, etc. And increasingly their advertisers are asking us if the media and agencies they choose are submitting the levy to us. If not, they are moving their advertising.

•  Media houses do not commission or pay for the research: their advertisers do. Why? Because across-the-board, independent research is cheaper, has a wider base and is more reliable than each company paying for its own data.

•  The levy does not belong to the media house: it’s their advertisers’ money that the media is withholding from their own foundation.

•  If a medium thinks we are not doing our job, they should brief their ZARF board and committee representatives to work to make us better. All products, research – and even media – can be improved.

•  And, ahem, only two newspapers, the Daily News and The Chronicle’s readership grew in our Q3 2012 data.

•  We survey online readership, not hits, in Zimbabwe only.

For a longer brief on what ZARF and ZAMPS does for Zimbabwe’s advertisers and media, please or visit the ZARF offices at 137 Northway, Hatfield. If you are in business, this is your body and your research and we value your interest and input.