The Importance of Market Research: Insights from The Dual Prevention Pill Research conducted in Southern Africa

The Importance of Market Research: Insights from The Dual Prevention Pill Research conducted in Southern Africa

If you don’t know what your customers are looking for, it’s hard to offer them something that will meet their needs. If you do know what they’re looking for but aren’t sure how much they’ll pay for it — or even if you think they should be paying more than they are — then it’s going to be hard to get them excited about your product or service. The best way to figure out the answers to both of those things is by doing some research with your customers!

Whether you’re starting a new venture or expanding your current business, market research will give you a better understanding of what people want, how they want it, and why. It will help you identify opportunities for growth and new markets while making sure that any changes to your offering align with what your customers are looking for.

So What Exactly Is Market Research?

Market research is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal to help you stay on top of your game and become more successful. It’s the process of collecting data from key stakeholders through qualitative and quantitative methods which help businesses understand their customers so that they can create solutions that meet their needs, wants, and desires.

Market research is like having an expert on hand during every step of the process — you can ask questions and get answers without needing any special knowledge or training in order to do so. You can also use this information to help guide future decisions (and avoid making mistakes). Market research doesn’t just tell us what people want; it tells us how much they’re willing to pay for it, too!

Through focus groups, interviews, surveys and other methods, you can determine what products, services, and systems your customers are looking for as well as how much they’re willing to pay for them. This information can also help you to evaluate your existing products and services so that you can make improvements where they’re needed most.

And that’s where Human Centred Design research came in the Dual Prevention Pill (DPP) market research study.

The Dual Prevention Pill Case Study

The client’s objective was to rapidly and successfully introduce a daily oral pill for both HIV and pregnancy prevention by supporting product development and demand creation strategies. In order to achieve this, human-centred design (HCD) research was conducted in South Africa and Zimbabwe with the goal of understanding the perceptions, barriers, and motivators of end users, providers and influencers as they relate to the DPP.

The DPP is a pill meant for daily consumption by women of reproductive age that consists of oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention and a combined oral contraceptive (COC) for pregnancy prevention.

The market research workshops were designed to deliver solutions to two challenges:

  1. How to help women make an informed decision about the DPP and its benefits in comparison to other pregnancy and HIV prevention methods.
  2. How to build the women’s confidence so that they can successfully take a pill every day.

These workshops generated insights into the women, their beliefs, their pain points, and their needs and desires. In Zimbabwe, the women understood the importance of protection but were fearful of their husbands’ reactions to the pill. Similarly, in South Africa, the women understood the need for protection but were anxious about the stigma and judgment associated with sexual activity in their communities.

The women highlighted that they wanted access to clear information on the DPP — its ingredients, method of use, side effects, and a forum where they could openly discuss sexual and reproductive health issues without fear of judgement.

Research uncovered opinions and concerns of other key stakeholders including husbands/partners, mothers, and nurses. While the opinions were varied, all believed that using PrEP may lead to promiscuity and infidelity. The mothers agreed that it was safer for their daughters to have some form of contraception than nothing at all, but were also concerned with the negative connotations that come with it from a religious stand. The husbands in South Africa believed that family planning choices were the woman’s concern while those of Zimbabwe believed that it was their responsibility and deemed it unacceptable. The nurses had little-to-no confidence that younger women would regularly take the pill and preferred that it be used by older women.

Through the market research workshops with the end users, an understanding of the target market was developed and this was used to define the product messaging that would support the project goal of rapidly and successfully introducing the Dual Prevention Pill and generating demand for it. Below are some of the key messages taken out.

This HCD research revealed that the DPP would not be positively or rapidly accepted in either market yet due to existing barriers, such as the stigma surrounding family planning. These insights enabled our client to refocus their efforts and develop messaging that would help break down these barriers. In the long-run, this would create an opportunity for the DPP to be considered as a family planning option in these markets.

By conducting market research, you can identify gaps in the market that can be filled and create solutions to help close them. This will benefit your business, your customers, and all other relevant stakeholders. Reach out to us today via email us at so we can help you do the same for your business and the products or services you offer.