Census Results Should Affect Your Marketing Strategy

Hi guys!  People like to sell, companies like to sell but we do not sell to ghosts now do we?  We sell to people and people are different, and they like different things.  Since people like different things you have to segment the market and target specific customers.  The question is do you know the basics of the makeup of the Zimbabwean market?  Be honest with yourself.  There are a lot of companies that sell products in the Zimbabwean market and yet they do not know the makeup of the market.  As a result they make costly mistakes.  The census results provide a good starting point in terms of knowing the characteristics of the market on a basic level.  Let us see, using a few examples, how the Zimbabwe Census results from 2012 should affect your marketing strategy today.

Zimbabwe Fact Sheet

The Zimbabwe Fact Sheet.  Here is an overview of the 2012 Zimbabwe Census.  There are some clues here as to what you should be aiming for as a business.  Let us dig in (Zimstat)

Sex Ratio

Let us quote a verse from the Bible:

Isaiah 4 v 1

In that day seven women will take hold of one man and say, “We will eat our own food and provide our own clothes; only let us be called by your name.  Take away our disgrace!”

Wow!  That would be a great situation for any lazy man who does not want to over exert himself in order to get a woman.  People claim that this is the situation in Zimbabwe and that the national statistics which show that there are 500 161 more women than there are men go some way in validating this claim.

The sex ratio is conventionally defined as the number of males per 1000 females in the population of a society.  More girls than boys are born each year, but the excess number of males at birth is gradually reduced by the higher male mortality rate, to an age-point where the number of women begins to exceed the number of men. (encyclopedia.com)

Now, how does that affect your marketing strategy?  It can affect it in ways that you would never consider.  Allow me to quote this passage from an article about what is happening in China.  Apparently their one child policy and preference for male children has led to the country having too many men.  The following is the result:

“This gender imbalance has caused young men and their parents to increase their savings.  From the paper:

This imbalance has caused young men, and especially their parents, to increase their savings rate in order to compete better in the marriage market.  The same force has also contributed to a rise in the corporate savings because more parents with an unmarried son and more young men themselves have chosen to be entrepreneurs.  Given the difficulty of getting a bank loan, new entrepreneurs and small firms must rely on self-savings to finance their operation and expansion.  Wei and Zhang (2011) and De and Wei (2013) estimate that this force has accounted for another one third of the current account surplus…because the sex ratio imbalance is going to rise over the next decade, the part of the surplus due to this factor is not going away any time soon.  (businessinsider.com)

In this case the sex ratio is affecting the way that men save money.  It is important then to look at the demographics in the census results to ensure that you make the correct assumptions in your marketing strategy.  Take a look at these local guys who have a savings scheme going on.

POSB Easy Save

POSB Easy Save – The demographics in Zimbabwe seem to be working against the success of this product in some way.

Looking at Zimbabwe’s sex ratio of 93 (93 males per 100 females) it means that men are in demand so much that what is happening in China does not apply here.  Zimbabwean men do not have to be as affluent as Chinese men in order to get hitched so they will not save for that.   To see how important this factor is for POSB’s product let us look at the other (better known) reasons for why people would want to save money:

  • Saving for a rainy day – It is always a rainy day in Zimbabwe
  • To go on holiday – Generally we cannot afford to save up to go on holiday as we see it as an unnecessary luxury due to the harsh economic times that we find ourselves in
  • To save for retirement – The current economy does not allow that as we do now know what currency we will be using in the future.  This level of uncertainty makes sure that most choose to not go down this route

Looking at the list above saving for marriage seems to be the biggest reason why individuals in Zimbabwe would want to save money.  It is something that is almost a given in terms of it occurring and so this would be one of POSB’s best bets in order to get people to save money.  Now since men in Zimbabwe are in demand and are under no pressure to raise their game this will affect their attitude towards saving.  POSB should consider the census results in their marketing strategy in this regard and make the necessary adjustments from making a neutral pitch to something like appealing to Zimbabwean women (they seem to be the parties that are more interested in marriage) so that they can approach the men and encourage them to open joint accounts where they can save for marriage.  The use of girl power will see savings rise I am sure.  I can see the advert already.

Pension Fund Potential

Pension Funds.  What you see in the image above is the potential.  According to Zimstat 34.70% of the Zimbabwean population is between 25 – 64 years old.   I am thinking that this is usually the age range that is targeted by pension funds.

Age Composition/Percent

The age composition looks at the distribution of the population across the age groups of less than 15 years of age; 15 to 64 years of age; and above 65 years of age.

Age composition is critical to companies like First Mutual Life who provide services like pension funds.  I have been paying towards my pension now and the figures look impressive.  Whether or not I will get that money is another matter altogether.

Now pension funds are probably not the in thing right now because of the state of the economy.  Providers of these pension fund services are justified for feeling disheartened but should things get to the level that is in the images below:


Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds.  The error message says something about their marketing strategy vis a vis the outlook for the Zimbabwean pension funds market is concerned.FMLFirst Mutual Life.  I clicked (On Google) on the heading ‘Group Pension – First Mutual Life’ and this page came up.

These companies may be basing their marketing strategies on the economy but are they also paying attention to the census results?  Running a website is not extremely expensive, especially for a company, so why let things like this happen because business is not going so well?

34.70% of the people in Zimbabwe are between 25 and 64 years of age which translates to approximately 4.5 million potential customers (ceteris paribus).  Zimbabwe has a high unemployment rate but a good marketing strategy would ensure that a company keeps in touch with individuals who are most likely to become viable in the future as opposed to shutting down them down completely.  They could conduct low cost educational campaigns or make potential customers follow them through various media to get an appreciation of pension funds so as to develop interest that can be tapped on in the future.  It would a slow burner but the census results make it imperative that this opportunity be ceased in these dark times.

The marketing strategy of First Mutual Life and other firms should be affected by the census results in this way.

TV Sales and Hire

These are beds that are being sold at TV Sales and Hire.   They are nice looking beds.  However, something seems to be missing though.


I spent some of my early years in Gweru.  My sister and I used to share a bunk bed, I was in grade 2 then.  We constantly fought over who would get the top bunk.  When it was time for us to get our own rooms the beds were simply separated and voila, we had two beds.  The other one was taken into the other room.  Bunk beds are usually great for kids as they accommodate small bodies, they save space in a room and are cheap among other things.

According to the Zimbabwe census results the average size of a household is 4.2 people.  58% of the people in Zimbabwe are married.  I would like to assume that most of the married couples share a bed.  I am also thinking that in most cases the other 2 people (of the 4.2 people) are children.  In the case of TV Sales and Home there would then be the potential to sell at least two beds in a home, maybe 3 as these are what would be required.  The question then would be the type of the bed.   On the page tvsales.co.zw/bedsets/ you will only find double and queen size beds.  Double and queen size beds would indeed work for the married couples or even the divorced and widowed adults.  What about the children?  41% of the people in Zimbabwe are below the age of 15 with 26% of them being between 5 and 14 years.  Can all the parents afford double and queen size beds for the kids?  Would the kids want to sleep on double beds?  Surely there are enough kids in the country, according to the census results, to make a case for a different type of bed.  You see a lot of children sharing a single bed with other kids or even sharing with the maid because there is one double bed.  Do you think the kids like doing this?

Bunk beds would be the solution.  They are cheaper which is crucial in our harsh economy.  They are also more fun for the kids.  The census results also show that there is a huge market that can be served.  Bunk beds would also be ideal in this situation where tenants are now leasing inside rooms.  Put the kids on a bunk bed in one room and lease the other room.  The census results should affect TV Sales and Home’s marketing strategy.  There should be more variety in terms of the bedding that they have in stock.

A census report contains a lot of information that can be used by various types of companies to make important decisions when creating their marketing strategy.  People make up markets and knowing how many people are in a certain area by number, gender, age group etc. is essential when crafting a marketing strategy.  Imagine how much money the government used when they conducted the 2012 census?  Making use of that information will mean that you will get a lot of value at a negligible cost.  You will also make the right marketing decisions unlike some of the companies who are losing money.  Do you think that the Zimbabwe census results should be considered when you are crafting your marketing strategy?

If you would like to learn about combining marketing strategy and data analytics click here, for just general marketing strategy click here, and here is another resource, click here.



By | 2018-01-12T16:19:43+02:00 April 13th, 2016|Categories: Marketing, Strategy|2 Comments


  1. Taurai April 15, 2016 at 11:23 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Ruvimbo.
    It is indeed very important to know what to do with data gathered. Data means different things to different people depending on how we decipher it. Only then will it be information which we can make sense and use of.

    • Ruvimbo Munyavi April 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Taurai thanks for reading
      For sure. There is a lot of valuable information around us that we can use for our own benefit. If one is to put their time and energy into some of these things they can end up benefiting in ways that they never imagined.

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