What is Marketing Research?
Marketing Research is a process of collecting, gathering (continuously) and analysing information about the marketing of an organisations product or service. It then helps an organisation to identify marketing opportunities and threats in the market.
Why R & D is important to an organisation like GIPF?
GIPF is a defined benefit fund, which means that the members (government employees and participating institutions) are promised specified benefits upon their retirement age irrespective of what might happen in the market prior to their retirement date. It is therefore important that GIPF must develop a correct marketing mix that is relevant to the needs of both current and future members. Research & Development helps an organisation like GIPF for instance, to understand where majority of the members are situated, as well as to identify their needs. This information is particularly relevant when deciding on the best town, region to erect or rent an office space so that members can access GIPF services whenever they are in need of it. Despite the fact that GIPF is a defined benefit, it operates in a highly competitive environment; therefore R & D plays a role of identifying and analysing key competitor’s weakness and strengths. This helps the organisation to establish its competitive position in the market by introducing new product offerings. From an operational perspective, R&D plays an advising role to senior management based on the research findings such as new business opportunities, product mix developments amongst others.
At macro level, R&D is responsible for monitoring the economic, social and political trends as they relate to or impacting the Fund.
During the 2014/2015 financial year, the Fund undertook a Study on the Wellbeing of GIPF Pensioners to critically assess the impact of retirement benefits on GIPF pensioners’ daily lives. The study revealed some of the following relevant findings which are receiving attention;
- There is a poor saving culture among employees in Namibia, hence a financial literacy programmes is needed for GIPF’s prospective retirees in an attempt to encourage them to save for their retirement and discourage them from making financial commitments’ while they are about to retire.
- Regional towns such as Eenhana in Ohangwena region, Opuwo in Kunene, Outapi in Omusati region and Mariental in Hardap don’t have GIPF offices, this makes it difficult for members (pensioners in particular) to easily access GIPF services in case of need.
The aim is to ensure that the Fund designs and evaluates overall pension policies aimed at promoting the well-being of pensioners.
Furthermore the R & D Unit commissioned a study on the Competitiveness of GIPF’s Products and Services, the findings of this study will be shared in the upcoming article.