IMC expert proposes establishment of “business charter” to tackle industry debts

An Integrated Marketing Communications industry expert, Funmi Onabolu, has advised stakeholders on the need to establish a comprehensive industry-wide charter to help redefine terms of business relationships, address the debts challenge and payment issues across the industry.

The proposed charter when fully operational would spell out the terms in  business relationships amongst players in marketing communications, particularly  the clients and marketing agencies, and it must be ratified and attested to by the various industry sectorial groups namely, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria(AAAN), Outdoor Advertising Association of Nigeria (OAAN), Media Independents Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN),   media groups ; Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) and Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON).

Giving answers to questions on developmental challenges in the IMC industry in an exclusive interview with MARKETING EDGE in Lagos, Onabolu, Managing Director/CEO, Cosse Group observed that the IMC industry in Nigeria was replete with multi-faceted developmental challenges basic among which is debt and the instability in patterns of payment.

The agency chief executive, who was particularly critical regarding the 120 days credit terms policy by the multinational companies, noted that all industry initiatives in the past to address the debt issue had met with little success, insisting that industry debts could only be totally checked or minimised when such a charter is put in place and is seen to be operational.

“For debts to be totally or really minimised in the industry what you need is an industry charter, basically signed by marketing organisations, agency groups and media owners. Everybody signs to a charter which says, this is how we operate and then we keep to that charter. It is done in South Africa; it is done in Europe and definitely in America.

“Debt is something that we are trying to tackle many times but there hasn’t been enough success. One thing or the other usually derails industry efforts at different levels; whether at HASG and even APCON level,” he said.

According to him, for reasons bordering on ‘poverty of the mind’, the very tough operating business environment, lack of professional pride and sufficient confidence in peoples own capabilities, most operators in the industry were timid and not bold enough to look at clients in the face and say sorry, we won’t operate this way”.

He added, however, that once the charter comes into place, it would be very much easier to keep everybody within the rule.

Projecting into the future and prospects of the marketing communications industry in Nigeria, the astute practitioner stated that despite the challenges, the industry would ultimately survive, adding that Nigeria being a very formidable and dynamic country would definitely overcome its current economic pitfall and emerge as a major contributor to global economic growth.


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