Enhance skill set to match future business environment – CMO, MTN

By Oghale Mafuru

The Chief Marketing Officer of MTN, Adia Sowho has reiterated the need for marketing professionals to build their skill sets and capabilities in order to maintain relevance in an ever changing marketplace.

The CMO stated this in her keynote address at the recently held ADVAN awards where she urged professionals to be awakened to the new realities on ground and begin to prepare themselves in earnest to respond to the dynamism of the business environment which will be controlled by consumers.

In her words: “The expansion of these skill sets is specifically important when you consider automation. If you go on a website now, you can find that AI writes copy, designs logos and creates advertisements for you, and creates videos. So, small businesses can considerably hire computers and fill up their marketing needs. Where does that leave us?”

The brand builder, who charged marketing professionals to develop the requisite capabilities to be able to compete effectively, noted that “computerized agencies with their not so great logos are cluttering the same landscapes we are trying to occupy with the same customers. Furthermore, these services are available at the fraction of the cost and at the click of an online agreement.”

Speaking further, she noted that “Decision making has changed. It is no longer centralized. It is now decentralized. Imagine that your brand is no longer the sole property of your business anymore. It belongs to your users. A simple jimstick will show that your users are probably talking about your brand more than you are. It is not sole property anymore. This changes the meaning of authority and custodianship in our business.”

While affirming that the industrial age has gone into extinction with the arrival of the internet age, the advertising icon noted that technology remains the veritable platform to drive success in the marketing industry of the future, hence practitioners should continue to innovate new ways to harness technology in their marketing initiatives.

According to her, even though technology advancement has made human involvement in marketing functions minimal, there is still a ray of hope for professionals who will continue to improve their skill sets as there is some mandatory human operation that machines or software cannot perform.

“Before it sounds that we have lost our jobs to the internet economy, I will say this, understanding human motivation is something that human beings are still at best at. Technology cannot do it and this is what inspires me and keeps me going.”

She added: “Therefore in our businesses, we need to be more data driven on the evident side and that makes a new world of creativity possible. What we used to call knowledge before is easily cast as an opinion in the face of so much data. So we must back our opinion up with data and act under the evidence.”

Sowho tasked professionals to be strategic with data analytics and management by embracing the omnichannel world and exploring partnerships and collaboration as it will impact significantly across the value chain of marketing efforts.


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