ADVAN advances shift in practice

As part of efforts to broaden the knowledge scope of its members and enlighten them on the current trends of digitalisation and its effect on marketing, the Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), recently organised a peer-to-peer learning seminar.

The seminar which held at Protea Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, had as its theme, “The Changing Role of Marketing in a Digital Economy.” The event had in attendance top advertisers, marketers, and business executives who deliberated and brainstormed on various issues surrounding the advancement of technology and growth of digitalisation in Nigeria, what it portends for marketing, and how marketing can fully utilise the latest phenomenon.

Declaring the seminar open, former President of ADVAN, now Commercial Director, Grand Oak Limited, Aare Fatai Odeshile, said the forum was one of the association’s ways in uplifting the living standard of Nigerians. He added that the programme was a platform for all stakeholders to interact and learn from each other.

“In ADVAN, one of the commitments that we give ourselves is how can we raise the standard of living in our way because if you have a learned and educated society, half of your problems is solved.

“The insight into this is to provide a forum, not just learning from the guest lecturer, even from you as well and that is why you will notice the way the programme has been designed. It is not a one-way affair, it’s designed to take feedback and also learn from each other”, Odeshile said.

One of the resource persons, the Country Manager, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan, who spoke at the event, noted that Nigeria is fully engrossed in the digital revolution. As a result of this development, Ehimuan said that the role of marketing is evolving and the implications of digitalization can be seen holistically in the country in terms of real-time information gathering and dissemination, interaction with brands online, and the espousal of new business models and opportunities.

Furthermore, Ehimuan while imploring brands to properly complement both online and offline strategies of marketing warned stakeholders that the dynamics of marketing is changing from traditional broadcast media to engaging dialogue online saying “It is very important that you think about maintaining the connection with the user and leveraging the existing trend which is real, it is not about to go away, digital is here, Nigerians have embraced it fully, they’re very active and you either adapt or risk becoming irrelevant and loosing connection with the consumer.”

Also speaking at the seminar, Brand Building Director, Unilever, David Okeme, advised brands to ensure they understand the demography of their target audience, come up with great content and purposeful ideas for their brands, and have a formidable platform to reach out and engage the target audience in order to remain significant in the digital era. He further said brands must take into cognisance the income level of their target audience and must be able to appropriately balance the digital medium through which they intend to reach them.

In addition, Okeme urged advertisers to utilise the opportunities provided by Search Engine Optimization and Websites as tools for information. He said, “If you want to catch people who are thinking before they decide what brand to buy, what tool do we need? Search! They would first search and check prices on the website.”

The founder, Cool Brands, Anouk Pappers, who was represented at the event by the Chief Executive Officer, Brand World Media, Clara Okoro, said research has shown that a good human reputation can increase the willingness of clients and customers to conduct business with brands especially in this digital era. She further went on admonishing brands to ensure they develop their brands and build reputable contents that will positively launder their image.

According to Pappers, “The truth is, if anything about you is online, positive or negative, it’s there forever. What people find about you online might actually lead them to want to do business with you. If you’re ambitious and you want to eventually climb the ladder, anybody you’re going to deal with in the future is going to go online to get a background check on you.”

Speaking on the challenges and imperatives of marketing on the millennia class, Co-Founder of Anozim, Onyeka Akumah, said marketers must ensure that they keep up with the pace with the “New Digital Natives” who are responsible for the rise of digital media in Nigeria as they are multi-connected to the world via the internet and several electronic gadgets so as not to lose out.

He added that marketers and advertisers must devise strategies which would strike the heart of the young generation, being attentive to their needs, connect with them via the digital platforms, and giving them the unique ownership of the brands.

Another resource person, the Managing Director, Nielsen, Harshya Rdhan, said there are significant challenges for marketers with the new technological status and it beholds on them to ensure that they eliminate such issues such as trust, reducing the cumbersome nature of business, and repealing the dire manner in which online business works.

Rdhan whose presentation was done by his representative, Shubha Siddhartha, Associate Director, Consumer Insights, Nielsen, lamented that despite the growing influence of online platforms particularly mobile phones over traditional media, the penetration level for advertisements for mobile phones is still at its lowest ebb. He therefore urged advertisers to ensure they correct the tide by making consumers more aware of their offerings. He also advised marketers to ensure they employ the use of technology to enhance shopping experience for their intended target audience.

The peer-to-peer learning seminar was a robust interactive session as participants engaged the resource persons and exchanged ideas and thoughts throughout the various presentations.


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