Makola Market Chronicles


Strategic Marketing with Tarsicius Edem Dorpenyo

Tarsicius Edem Dorpenyo is the founder and CEO of Dorpenyo Digital, a full-service digital marketing and media firm that helps brands elevate their online presence. For inquiries, you can contact him via email at dorpedem@gmail.com or by phone at (+233) 505 671 671. You can also visit dorpenyo.com to learn more about their digital marketing services.

Episode 2:

The Unseen Pioneers of Market Research – The Women of Makola Market

Since time immemorial, traders at the Makola Market, many of whom have had little formal schooling, have developed their capacity to detect client requests, respond to shifting trends, and flourish in a dynamic and competitive business environment without formally gathering and assessing data before making judgements. Their intuitive approach to market research exemplifies how ingenuity, adaptability, and a thorough awareness of client behaviour can drive organisational growth and innovation even in the most challenging conditions.

Join me as I explore the intriguing world of Makola Market vendors, with a focus on women, and learn vital lessons about market research and business development.

1. Keen Observation:

Without access to tools for gathering data, analysing patterns, and interpreting market signals, the traders have developed an outstanding ability to observe and evaluate market movements through careful observation. They use excellent observational abilities to replace high-tech tools and formal data. They keep a close eye on consumer behaviour, noting which products receive the most attention, which stalls have the longest lines, and which trends appear to be gaining popularity. This thorough monitoring allows businesses to stay ahead of the curve and identify new opportunities or shifts in demand.

Maame Serwah, a garment dealer, informed me she keeps track of the goods that clients look at or try on the most. When she observes an increase in popularity in a specific style, she stores more of that style. Emefa, a food vendor, stated that earlier this year, she saw that a nearby stand selling bushmeat meals frequently had long queues showing a shift in consumer preferences towards bush meat. Hence, she decided to create bush meat dishes to attract a segment of that demographic. By doing this, she not only retains her current clientele but also expands it.

This technique of market monitoring relies on human intuition and the ability to perceive subtle clues, which can frequently result in faster adaption and tailored client care. While statistical analysis is lacking, this technique is heavily reliant on human interaction and real-time feedback, providing traders with a very responsive manner to operate their firm in tandem with their direct market environment. This hands-on approach can sometimes detect nuances in consumer behaviour that more formalised data collection methods may miss.

2. Trend Anticipation:

The women of Makola Market are adept at forecasting market trends before they become mainstream by combining their observational skills with intuitive insights and experience. They have a knack for anticipating future trends and adjusting their offerings accordingly, whether it’s noticing an increase in demand for organic items, discovering a niche market for handmade crafts, or sensing a shift towards indigenous products. Also, in anticipation of local or cultural festivities such as Homowo, Christmas, Easter, or Eid al-Adha, dealers rely on prior trends to determine which products sell out rapidly during these events and boost their stock appropriately. During peak demand periods, traders can earn by expanding stock of certain popular commodities or launching special offers around them.

In dynamic market situations such as Makola Market, traders use finely tuned observational skills, intuitive insights, and substantial local knowledge to anticipate market patterns. This competence demonstrates not only a comprehension of client behaviour but also the ability to adapt their methods to changing market demands. Here’s a closer look at how this trend prediction works and its implications:

Case Studies in Trend Anticipation

1. Organic Products:

Observation: Traders may see a gradual increase in client questions about pesticide-free or locally produced produce.

Intuitive Insight: Based on their understanding of expanding health and environmental awareness, merchants may forecast a surge in demand for organic items.

Action: They start sourcing more organic products, possibly designating a part of their stand to these things, and actively market them as healthier alternatives.

2. Handmade and Artisan Crafts:

Observation: Unique, culturally relevant, or handmade products may be more popular than typical offers.

Intuitive Insight: Recognising a shift away from mass-produced goods and towards more authentic, artisan products, traders anticipate a niche and expanding market.

   – Action: They invest in these products, possibly collaborating with local artisans, and use storytelling as a marketing tool to highlight the craftsmanship and cultural heritage of the products.

Majority of the traders (women) at Makola Market prioritise their customers’ needs and desires. They consider market research as an ongoing conversation with their clients, not a one-time event. They ensure that their product offerings are always in sync with their target market’s evolving needs by soliciting feedback on a regular basis, listening to customer suggestions, and responding to shifting tastes. In essence, they demonstrate that successful adaptation to a dynamic business environment requires a combination of sharp observation, intuitive insights, trend forecasting, continuous refinement, and an unwavering commitment to client satisfaction.

Entrepreneurs in various industries may navigate market uncertainty, seize opportunities, and achieve long-term success by adopting a similar mindset as that of the Makola women.

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