The Failure of Nigerian Businesses and The Importance Of Marketing

The Failure of Nigerian Businesses and The Importance Of Marketing

“Show me your marketing strategy and I will tell you how well your business will scale”

Firstly, I would say that I really do not like the structure of small businesses in Nigeria and their approach towards marketing. Then the next thing I would say is that I hate the fact the small business owners have not learnt to stand out.

If you’re out here and you’ve got crazy ideas, you have very good talent, dreams and visions, skills and you’ve struggles with gaining attention in the marketplace, then you did well joining the train.

I’d be showing you the failure of Nigerian businesses in the world today and why you need to step out of the crowd to rule your lane.

Few years ago, once you have an idea, it was very difficult getting the whole world to buy your idea.

No 1. The internet was at its new era in the country and it would cost more to get everyone to know.

No 2. The truth with an idea, a philosophy, a product naturally is that it only seems convincing to you.

There are over 8 billion other people in the world with different problems, different mindset, different thoughts, different things going on in their lives.

So whatever idea/product/content created needed to spend a lot of time before others would get convinced. You will discover that back in those days, despite these difficulties, a lot of companies still succeeded, the likes of Dangote, Innoson motors, Indomie and a host of others.

How did they thrive when there was no internet or there were few people using the internet?

They simply met needs!

Dangote started cement business. Nigeria was filled with huts and tree houses. Civilization had entered the country, people would need to build houses. How would they build houses if not use cement?

Did Dangote need to go to every house in Nigeria to tell them to buy cement? Once Mr A purchases and builds his house, Dangote doesn’t need to tell Mr B, Mr A’s house did the marketing for Dangote and Mr B comes to purchase.

What point am I trying to drive here? Any idea you have, any product, content you have must solve problems for the people concerned.

Was Dangote a genius? Business is all about common sense.

I want you to write this down; “Marketing is common sense paid attention to”.

As the country was embracing westernization, there were lots of big problems surrounding the whole nation. Food was becoming scarce because population was increasing, people were running to white collar jobs and there were fewer farmers. So something needed to be done to preserve food for longer period of time.

That’s when you’d discover lots of new brands came up with new products that could be preserved and re-branded. They didn’t need too much social media.

They used Mass-Media (television and radio). They also used consumers to market for them. That is what facebook, whatsapp all used to get billions of customers and as we dig deep I would teach all of those.

I am just trying to drive a point here which is the mistake most new businesses are making presently.

Write this down as well; “my product must solve a problem”. Now ask yourself, what problem is my idea solving?Is it a present problem or a future problem.

Pay attention. INNOSON MOTORS didn’t just become a billionaire in one night. Follow me, let me tell you his strategy;

Civilization was entering Nigeria, government were connecting roads between states, cities, towns. People need to move from one location to another since the road was made available.

Quick pause: NOTE THIS : “A problem solved creates another opportunity for another problem to be created and solved”

Linking the story with what you just jotted down, Government were creating roads which means they’ve solved the problem of movement. They didn’t solve transportation problem.

A good road is not the only solution to transportation problem. What if the road was long, what if robbers live beside the route? Cars are needed right. But can everyone afford cars? Okay, let’s import motorcycles.

How many other businesses have emerged from the road?

  1. Importer of cars and motorcycles
  2. Sellers
  3. Drivers
  4. Riders
  5. Mechanics
  6. Petrol stations
  7. Road safety

And on like that.

So from what I read, Innoson started by repairing motorcycles, then he saved up or probably collected a loan. He decided to start importing motorcycles. Now pay attention. He was not the only one into motorcycle importation back then. But he came up with a plan.

Importing motorcycles through a particular truck would accommodate only 13 motorcycles (for example). That is what all of them were doing.

Then he asked himself;


They are being charged by the custom per truck so it doesn’t matter how many fits in. He had to employ mechanics to travel to the other border, dismantle, then they assemble back here.

Do you know how much that would bring him?

The problem With Nigerian businesses today is that they’re profit driven alone and I’m I saying your business shouldn’t make profit.

The world has advanced. The problems of before are no longer problems. People have solved them. It is your turn to solve a problem. It could be fashion, poetry, music, food, idea etc

That you’re selling sneakers, you’re solving a problem. It may not be to everyone but to a target set. That you sell Ankara, you’re solving a problem. It may not be to the world but you are set of people.

Now that you have that idea, you really need to understand what works, how things are done in the present world. The businesses of those days had their failures too. But many businesses these days make more mistakes.

People start up ideas and quit. Not because the idea wasn’t awesome or useful but they never learnt marketing. Nobody knew they existed. The market today is so clumsy.

The goal of any business in this present age is to be remarkable. That’s the marketing term. Being remarkable means doing something different or doing the same thing in a different way.

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