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‘In depressed economy, cutting marketing communication budget isn’t right option’


 Okeme, ADVAN President

Okeme, ADVAN President

The Managing Director of Nielsen West Africa, Mr Lampe Omoyele has said that despite the down turn in the economy, brand owners must vigorously engage with consumers, though the temptation is to cut marketing spend, which is not the right option.

Omoyele said that from the research conducted by his company, a brand and marketing research firm, showed that Nigeria still have the highest level of consumers’ confidence on the continent. This, to him, implies that if brand owners engage with consumers, they will spend.

Speaking at the maiden edition of Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) Marketers Conference, Omoyele argued that brands should not cut down on its marketing budgets despite internal and external pressures because they will ultimately make more gains.

Presenting a paper on ‘Consumer Confidence Trends  and Engagement’, he said that since the third quarter of 2015, consumer confidence in the economy has dropped significantly, and it has dropped further in the first quarter of 2016 due to nagging issues like devaluation, foreign exchange crisis, high inflation, budget delay  and many others.

Due to these challenges, he claimed most households now prioritise its expenditures, cutting down on what they spend on.
Omoyele disclosed that the sector that has had the worst hit is the FMCG, which is usually a major indicator for consumer confidence in any country, highlighting how most of the companies in the FMCG have reported losses. On the other hand, Alcoholic beverage brands, Telco brands and non-alcoholic beverage brands have all recorded some growth despite the drop in consumer confidence.

In the second lead paper , ‘key digital trends and opportunities for Advertisers’, Country Manager, Google Nigeria, Juliet Chiazor said brands must start using digital platforms and tools for marketing if they don’t want to go into extinction. For her, whether brand owners like it or  not, digital communication  has come to stay, so brands must learn how to utilize it properly.

There were two panels of discussants anchored by Chidi Okoro, MD of UAC Foods Plc; and Ugo Geri-Roberts, MD of Milward Brown Nigeria, to dissect various issues thrown up by the two main speakers. The panellist included, Joan Ihekwaba,  GM- Marketing, UAC Foods Nigeria;  Kachi Onubogu, Commercial Director, Promasidor Ltd; Ken Onyeali Ikpe, MD/CEO of Mediacom Nigeria; Fatai Odesile,  Managing Director of Grand Oak Ltd,  Bunmi Oke of 141 Communications; Obinna Anyalebechi, Consumer Marketing, Guinness Nigeria Plc and others

In their submission, they advised that marketers should be mindful of what consumers want and work towards achieving them. On the relevance of the digital space in marketing, they stressed the importance of flexibility, creativity and openness but they also advised that brands should not just focus on what is “shinning and new” but what can really deliver in the marketplace.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who was the special guest of honour, in his keynote address, stressed the need for ADVAN and government to work together so that government can learn from the professional marketers on how best to build consumer/citizens’ confidence in a difficult situation and galvanise them to rally behind government and support its policies.

Earlier, the President of ADVAN, Mr David Okeme, said that the conference was in line with the association’s tradition of keeping strategic marketing issues on the front burner of businesses in Nigeria,

Okeme promised that more programmes are in the offing for the  purpose of aggregating all shades of thoughts, ideas and suggestions that will place the relevance of marketing at the heart of strategic business discussions in Nigeria.

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