April 5, 2024

Research-Driven Marketing: a discussion with Miora, Head of Marketing at Baobab Group

Welcome to another interactive blogpost, where we bring you an exclusive interview with Miora Randriambeloma, the current Global Marketing Director at Baobab, conducted by our UX Researcher Oulymata.

In this conversation, our central theme revolves around gaining unique insights into the State of UX in Africa from Miora's perspective. Key focal points include Miora's commitment to research, the marketing sphere. Alongside these insights, we delve into Miora's remarkable career journey from France to West Africa, which encompasses various roles in e-learning, mobile money, microfinance, and her current position in marketing at Baobab. 

Collectively, this interview sets the stage for an exciting upcoming study on the State of UX Research 2023, promising to be a resource for professionals seeking to understand the evolving user experience landscape in Africa. (read previous studies from 2021, 2022 here)

Introduction to Miora and her journey.

Ouly: Miora, could you tell us about your career journey and how you became interested in digital innovation?

Miora: Certainly. I began my career in marketing and digital transformation consulting in France, working for a firm that is now part of CapGemini, one of the world's leading IT companies. It was during this time that I developed a deep interest in digital technology and its transformative effects on customer journeys, consumer expectations, and innovation. My experiences varied across sectors, including telecoms and banking, depending on the clients I served.

This diverse experience served as the driving force behind my interest in the digital and innovation field. Subsequently, I co-founded an e-learning company based in Ghana with a colleague, which is still thriving today under the name Chalkboard Education.  They offer a mobile e-learning platform to international institutions and organizations for distance learning. Our clients primarily included agricultural and cocoa organizations, international bodies, and universities. This venture marked my initial foray into West Africa.

Miora's role in marketing and the research initiatives at Baobab.

Ouly: That's quite an impressive journey. Can you share more about your transition into the realm of mobile money and microfinance, and your role at Baobab?

Miora: Of course. After my experiences in West Africa and the e-learning sector, I continued to broaden my expertise, with a particular focus on money transfer and mobile money. It was this trajectory that led me to Baobab, which is the leading microfinance network in Africa in terms of portfolio. Baobab has a rich history, having operated for over fifteen years in regions like West Africa, China, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Importantly, they were present in these markets before the advent of mobile money and fintech. 

Ouly: Your role at Baobab seems multifaceted. Could you tell us more about the research initiatives you undertake to better understand customer behavior and needs?

Miora: Certainly. At Baobab, we emphasize the importance of research in our marketing efforts. We conduct both quantitative and qualitative research to gain insights into customer behavior and habits. This research allows us to assess customer satisfaction, understand the usage patterns of our financial products, and align our digital and product roadmaps with these insights. I work closely with various teams, including the innovation team, product teams, and operational teams in the field to ensure that research findings are effectively integrated into our strategies. To be transparent, we are actively working on accelerating these steps to get even closer to our existing and potential customers.

Ouly: It's fascinating to hear about your research-driven approach. Can you elaborate on your plans for expanding the research team and utilizing big data in your marketing efforts?

Miora: Absolutely. We have a relatively small research team currently, but we have plans to grow it. While we have previously collaborated with research firms, we intend to take a more hands-on approach to tackle the evolving challenges in the financial services sector, particularly mobile financial services in Africa. We aim to cultivate research capabilities internally and continue to collaborate with external partners. Additionally, we are exploring the idea of establishing a big data team closely aligned with our marketing efforts. This team will be responsible for processing our dataset, enabling us to perform advanced segmentation and funnel analysis. I believe that leveraging big data is a crucial aspect of modern marketing, and it's a direction I'm enthusiastic about as a marketing director.

Ouly: Awesome! Those are big plans in the right direction!

The importance of UX research and adapting it to local contexts.

Ouly: Also, given your extensive experience, can you share your insights on the differences in working with early-stage fintechs versus more mature startups, and the importance of user experience (UX) research in this context?

Miora: Well, working with early-stage fintechs and more mature startups can vary significantly, and the approach depends on the size and resources available to the company. I believe that recruiting UX researchers can be done early on, regardless of the startup's size. User experience research is essential to understanding customer behavior and requirements from the outset, ensuring that the right product is developed. One notable difference in this context is the regulatory landscape. Regulations in the fintech industry can vary greatly between different countries, and it's essential to navigate these differences effectively. The texts that govern fintech may also differ significantly. Therefore, a deep understanding of local regulations is crucial, particularly when working across borders.

Ouly: You mentioned the importance of integrating culture and customs into research. Could you elaborate on this and share your perspective on the significance of the "how" of research over just the results?

Miora: Indeed, beyond language, culture and customs play a pivotal role in conducting effective research. Researchers need to be sensitive to the cultural nuances, expectations, and gaps within the research context. Understanding the "how" of research, including the methods and approach, is often more critical than just focusing on the results. It's essential to establish a strong rapport with research participants, minimize biases, and ensure that the research process is culturally sensitive. To achieve this, it's crucial to know the expectations and gaps of the research and define the scope in collaboration with the target audience. Using the right tools and partners, minimizing bias, and building trust with contacts are all essential components of effective research. In the end, it's about doing the right things to reach the research target successfully.

Upholding Ethical Standards in Marketing

Ouly: Data and technology play crucial roles in marketing. Can you share your thoughts on ethical considerations and tools that support your work in this regard?

Miora: Ethical considerations are paramount, especially in projects involving data and technology. It's crucial to ensure that ethical and legal standards are upheld in all our interactions with customers and partners. Data and technology tools can be harnessed for segmentation and filtering, which saves time and enhances targeting. These tools are invaluable for defining and cross-referencing customer profiles and automating decision-making processes. They empower us to move faster and make smarter decisions.

Ouly: What do you think about the use of AI in an African context?

Miora: In the context of AI, especially in the African market, there's a need for adaptation to local challenges and data security issues. Providing the right information to AI tools is essential to make them intelligent. I personally believe that to learn from the experiences of peer organizations and experimenting with AI tools are essential steps in harnessing their potential.

Ouly: It's evident that technology is rapidly changing the landscape of customer interaction. Could you share your insights on conversational tools and their role in prioritizing requests and saving time?

Miora: Conversational tools have become increasingly important in streamlining customer interactions. They can efficiently prioritize requests, saving both time and resources.

Final Words/ thoughts

Ouly: As we wrap up the conversation, could you provide advice for professionals looking to enhance their research capabilities and foster innovation within their organizations?

Miora: Absolutely. I would advise professionals to read case studies, immerse themselves in the organizations they work with, and consider the challenges they face from the perspective of customer experience. It's vital to take an interest in various aspects of the business, including its unique challenges, and incorporate feedback from others who have successfully integrated innovative solutions. Additionally, aligning policies and HR management is essential, and regular performance appraisals can help teams and managers align their goals.


Miora's journey, insights, and unwavering commitment to research, user experience, and ethical practices illuminate the realms of marketing and digital transformation. Her adaptability, regional insights, and dedication to cultural sensitivity offer valuable guidance for navigating evolving landscapes. Like many marketing managers should be, she is intrigued by the crucial role of technology, AI, and conversational tools in shaping the future of customer interactions. 

As we continue to map out the UX space in Africa, we invite you to fill our survey to help us bring more value through data-driven decisions. Filling the survey allows us to learn more about the tools, methods, salaries, and challenges UX professionals are facing in the field. Your input is invaluable in shaping the future of UX in Africa."