SAMRA creates Diversity Sub-portfolio


The Southern African Marketing Research Association (SAMRA) wants to make the benefits of what the association offers attractive to the newcomers to the industry, across the entire cultural and colour spectrum.  
According to SAMRA chairperson Salome Barnard the newly created SAMRA Membership Diversity sub-portfolio aims to ensure that the association is not only fully inclusive, but that it embraces all market and social research areas.

“While the market research industry per se boasts a significant number of younger people across all racial groups, SAMRA, as the representative industry association, would like increasingly to play an empowering role to equip younger members for more senior positions and to position marketing research as a rewarding career option,’ says Barnard.

Among others, membership benefits include the opportunity to network with industry colleagues countrywide as well as internationally and learn from papers and presentations at the annual SAMRA conference and the various branch meetings. Likewise, SAMRA accreditation includes many benefits and confirms members’ professional status, ensures ongoing professional development, informative and relevant SAMRA newsletters and international alignment through SAMRA’s affiliation with global counterparts like ESOMAR.

As for Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) and transformation, Barnard explains that SAMRA adopted the DTI 2007 Codes of Good Practice on Black Economic Empowerment, with the accompanying Generic Scorecard and its Compliance Targets. SAMRA members, from both the supplier and user side, are committed to achieve these targets.
She says: “The Market Research Industry was grouped with the Marketing, Advertising and Communications sector for the purpose of the Charter process and was not allowed to have its own Charter. However, the market research industry is not structured along the same lines as the marketing, advertising and communications sector. The total economic contribution of the market research industry in terms of annual turnover is smaller than that of the marketing, advertising and communications sector. It is estimated that market research’s contribution was only about R1.4bn for 2009, which is far exceeded by the contribution made by the marketing, advertising and communications industry’  

Barnard adds that more than half of SAMRA Corporate members have an annual turnover of less than R5m, ie a B-BBEE recognition of at least 100% and a further fifth of Corporate members an annual turnover of between R5m and R25m, ie Qualifying Small Enterprises. Smaller companies constitute an estimated 70% to 80% of the market research industry and account for about 15% to 20% of annual turnover in the industry.
Some of SAMRA’s initiatives to boost diversity and transformation in the industry centre on skills development, assistance to market research freelancers, special interest groups and smaller operators, as well as a bursary scheme.
– Skills development: Most of the SAMRA corporate members participate in skills development in the form of various SETA-supported initiatives (eg learnerships for fieldworkers). In addition, SAMRA offers short training courses/workshops open to SAMRA members and non-members.

– SAMRA Research Freelancers/Small Businesses Special Interest Group:  The aim of this initiative is to provide a forum for SAMRA and other research freelancers/small businesses to share business/project work/resources (eg joint ventures, competing with large companies); share ideas/learning/training/development (eg new methodologies, de-stressing, quality management, codes of best practice, etc); networking, business discussions (ie regarding work in general, trends in the industry, people’s views and experiences with regard to the effectiveness of various forms of publicity, mixing project management and business management efficiently, supplier information, etc); provide support/motivation, have a greater say in the industry. It is hoped that this will contribute to enterprise development in the long term.

A similar interest group was also established for qualitative research experts.

– SAMRA Bursary: SAMRA funds an annual bursary for final year first degree studies in a field that will potentially lead to a career in the marketing research industry.  This bursary is awarded to a previously disadvantaged student who qualifies on the basis of academic achievement and financial need.  The bursary is administered by an anually selected university. This initiative is specifically aimed at advancing the pool of skills for the research industry.

“Through its diversity drive, SAMRA hopes to attract more younger members across cultural divides so that its growing membership can be a true reflection of the professionalism of and marketing research excellence in the industry. In order to ensure sustainability as a voluntary member organisation, increasing member diversity is essential,’ concludes Barnard.


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