‘Why brands must create feedback channels, embrace digital marketing’
• Oracle Experience Limited, Firstbank, others shine at awards
Top Nigerian marketers, CEOs, entrepreneurs, brand owners, representatives and consultants last weekend converged on Ikeja, Lagos for the sixth edition of the Marketing Edge National Stakeholders Summit.
The summit, which had as theme, ‘Marketing paradigms in the age of digitalisation’, aimed at discussing the change in the marketing profession as a result of digitalisation, its effects and proffer solutions to the problems caused by the phenomenon.While welcoming guests, Mr. John Ajayi, Publisher/CEO of Marketing Edge Magazine, stated that the summit was conceived as a means of interrogating prevalent issues affecting the Nigerian marketing industry and proffer feasible solutions to them.
“This summit aims primarily at initiating new conversations that are germane to the growth and developments of the integrated marketing communications sector in Nigeria. It is a forum where professionals, industry operators, experts and thought leaders converge to share insights and knowledge that will provide all stakeholders with requisite compass to navigate the competitive business environment,” he said.
Ajayi explained the reason for the selected theme was in order to create a relationship between brand owners and the consumers, especially in the area of technological advancement. He also urged company owners to adapt to the contemporary trend of marketing, rather than depend on the obsolete methods of plying their trades.
Mr. Udeme Ufot, who chaired the event, highlighted the various effects digitalization has had on the marketing world as it now affords consumers rare opportunities of having great knowledge of what happens in their various companies.“We are in an age where nothing is guaranteed except learning and change. The notion that the consumer is king has been replaced with the paradigm of the consumer as God, all knowing, all present and all effective. At the click of a button, a consumer can have access to any information he desires, check for the best deals and complain or commend on services rendered. In today’s world, a business is like a glass box. Outsiders can now see inside, the values, the services, the organization’s policies, structures, pitfalls and strengths,” he added.
Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria and Ghana, Mr. Yaw Nsarkoh, who delivered the lecture, gave some effects of digitalization on marketing, as he spoke on the need for Nigerian marketers to evolve with the change in order to remain useful.
“There is a certain degree of peer pressure that comes in marketing. CEOs are like teenagers. They suffer from peer pressure. This means that they are in the race to catch up with similar companies and as such must use everything at their disposal to win the never-ending competition of attracting customers to their products.Digitalization has brought another new dimension to this competition and marketers are beginning to realize that unless they move with the train, they will soon become obsolete and out of job. Technology is determined to fulfil this dreaded promise. You can see it from disintermediation, which is the absence of the traditional middlemen, demonetization, which is the absence of visible cash but advent of cashless transactions, dematerialization, demystification and delegitimization, explosion of feed-shorter attention spans, connected world reality and biotech and all-redefining impossibilities.”
Nsarkoh, who is also a renowned public speaker, also cautioned obstinate marketers who have resolved to stick to the traditional ways of practice to have second thoughts and go digital.He furthermore explained that technology has reduced the former autocratic judgments of marketers and brand owners, as it has made more responsible. He added now these brand owners know that they are vulnerable to the prying eyes of consumers who are on the lookout for any shortcomings so as to move to a similar product.
Moreover, Nsarkoh pointed out the need for marketers to embrace digitalisation as it brings them closer to the consumers, who are the engine room to every organisation. He enjoined every organisation to create a feedback channel where consumers irrespective of financial status can now have more successful interactions with them and discuss on how to improve their products.
“We must stay connected to all people, because they are the reason for our existence. There must not be any form of discrimination among consumers due to their financial class. The ‘poor’ masses constitute the majority and problem arises when marketers see these people as ordinary whereas these ‘ordinary’ people are key to the development of every organization. We should take a key from the entertainment industry that brings on board all its fans and this has added a tremendous growth to it.
“Brands must participate in conversations with society. We must take the brands to the people and the best way to do this is by technology. Any system that does not have a feedback room will collapse. Brand power, marketing power are absolute powers and when marketers see themselves as all knowing, whose assertions must not be challenged, then there will be little or no conversations with the consumers and this leads to the fast decline of the organization.”
According to Adebola Williams, CEO, Red Media Africa, “everybody now have access to the market like it has never been before. The Internet has broken boundaries. Marketing has moved beyond B to B, C to C, but is now H to H, which means human to human. Everything done in today’s marketing is all about the consumers and any serious business that is not thinking about the Internet is making a mistake. Digitalization will continue to improve and marketing must follow suit. Let’s get on board.”
Mr. Emeka Okeke, CEO, Carat Nigeria, said, “hold on to your belief if you want to. Remain stagnant if you so desire. Innovate or die.”Mr. Chris Wulff-Caesar, MD, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, said, “brands belong to the consumers, they can make or mar brands. Digitalization is an enabler, a supporter but it doesn’t change the way we should do things.”
At the awards ceremony held at Balmoral Hall, experiential marketing agency, Oracle Experience Limited was recognised for its outstanding and consistent performance in the category.The agency clinched two awards, including the Leadership Award in Experiential Marketing and the Brand Personality of the Year award, to the agency’s founder, Felix King Eiremiokhae.
Governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode received recognition of Political Brand of the Year. Other winners were New Crystal Communications Limited: Innovative Leadership Awards in OOH, Rock City FM, Innovative Young Radio Station of the Year, Algorithm Media, Outstanding Young Digital Agency of the Year, APCON- Regulatory Excellence Recognition Award while AIT emerged as the Television Station of the decade.
Firstbank, got the Financial Brand in ICT & Social Media, Fidelity Bank, received the Outstanding TV Commercial of the Year awards, Knorr Cube, Preferred Seasoning Brand of the Year, Three Crowns Milk, Outstanding Dairy Brand of the Decade, MTN, Outstanding Telecoms Brand of the Decade, Trophy Larger, Brand of the Year, GMD Direct won the Innovative Experiential Agency of the Year Award while Tequila emerged as the Outstanding Experiential Agency of the Year.
Reacting to the award, Eiremiokhae stressed that the awards further affirmed that the work of his agency and the stories it had been telling till date are compelling stories that touches the consumers.