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Why marketers must engage CEOs, SMEs


Former MTN Nigeria CEO/CEO Africa Context, Mike Ikpoki (Left); former MD/CEO Insight Communication/CEO Open Squares, Feyi Olubodun and Chairman Market Space, George Thorpe during the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria-EXMAN 6th Annual general meeting business seminar recently in Lagos

Speakers at the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria (EXMAN) Conference have advised marketers to engage more with chief executive officers — CEOs and small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) — rather than limit their practice to marketing directors, brand managers and multinationals in order to widen the value proposition of their trade.

They argued that though Nigeria had the advantage for a successful economic reconstruction, it was imperative for organisations to define the market for survival and growth.

Former CEO, MTN Nigeria & Ghana/CEO Africa Context, Michael Ikpoki, while speaking on ‘Selling to the C-Level’, said the biggest threats to Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) today were cyber security, technological disruption and regulatory and operational problems.


He pointed out that a recent research on CEOs by KPMG 2019, showed “70 per cent of the CEOs surveyed are clear that the tenure of CEOs have become shorter, as its being induced by performance. They are meant to perform at the top of the profession and make more impact within a short time.”

He noted, “though CEOs are optimistic about economic growth in the next three years, they are also cautious about how their businesses would grow within the three years. Organisations need to be futuristic and be more focused around the customer by anticipating their future needs. Agility is now the new currency, as delay would lead to losses.”

Speaking on ‘where is the BTL market headed and why should it matter to all’, Chairman, Marketspace, George Thorpe, said the future would be different and agency implications enormous.

According to him, “measurability, accountability, impact for the naira, in terms of market share has become a major concern for clients. The problem is not as acute as presented but the consultants will do better by consolidating the disciplines to device a methodology for integration.”

He further noted that complacency could cause clients to decline.

On global level, Thorpe noted that the five biggest agency networks control about 80 per cent of the budget for creative, adding, ‘whoever is trying to do creative business in this part of the world and has not secured an affiliation should better look for market outside the multinationals.

Thorpe settled on market segmentation, market positioning, market attractiveness and market proposition, adding, “you don’t have to be in the same space, there are different new opportunities, new blue oceans that can be created within the marketing industry. There so many multinationals but there are millions of SMEs, what are you people doing as an industry to position and proposition it.”

Speaking on ‘Understanding the African Consumer’, former CEO, Insight Communication/CEO Open Squares, Feyi Olubodun said, “the way brands are consumed is determined largely by the cultural frame of reference of the consumers and specifically on the case of African or in this case, the Nigerian consumers, adding, “we consume brands within our own specific frame of reference, which we are now able to map and say these are the elements of that cultural frame of reference and it is influencing the last mile the final stage of brand decision and brand purchase with the consumers.”

For president of the association, Mr. Kehinde Salami, the theme for this year’s AGM, ‘the experience is key’ pointing particularly to Mr. Thorpe paper, said, “we don’t just have to be in the same space, there are different new opportunities, new blue oceans that can be created within the marketing industry, the so many multinationals and you can count them on the fingers but there are millions of SMEs. What are doing as an industry to position and our proposition in meeting their needs.?

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