IMC experts advocate regulation, constant engagement to drive growth

By Felicia Nwosu

Against the backdrop of the reforms and regulations introduced by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON) as part of its proactive approach to address challenges, promote growth, and ensure sustainability in the Nigerian advertising industry, some industry experts have shared insights on the recent development.

In separate interviews with MARKETING EDGE, they acknowledged the significant positive impact of the reforms on the industry while also highlighting areas that need further clarity.

Victor Afolabi, CEO of GDM Group, emphasized the pivotal role of regulation in fostering industry growth and stability. Afolabi, who has extensive experience in the tech sector, highlighted the importance of engagement and dialogue between ecosystem players and regulators to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

His call for increased regulation stressed the need for clear and effective regulatory frameworks to support the burgeoning tech sector.

“I believe in regulation, and I believe ecosystem players need to engage. For every conversation and engagement, there’s a middle point. It is never a zero-sum game; it can be win-win for every party. I will suggest we constantly engage people in dialogue and seek to understand each other. I am a big advocate of regulation,” he said.

Afolabi explained that effective regulation addresses uncertainty, which is crucial for attracting investment and promoting professionalism.

“When you have regulation that addresses uncertainty, everyone who comes in knows the rules of the game. It’s like playing a football match, it attracts investment, brings in professionalism, improves practices, and brings in foreign capital. Regulation itself is not bad; in fact, it is essential for business.”

Rotimi Olaniyan, Programme Director (MSc Digital Marketing and Data Analytics) at Nottingham Business School, UK, in his opinion, underscored the complex interplay between regulation and industry growth.

He said while activist regulators can drive necessary changes, a balanced approach is essential to avoid over-regulation and encourage self-regulation within industries, by establishing robust compliance and measurement systems which is crucial for justifying marketing spend and fostering accountability in the experiential marketing sector.

The marketing expert mentioned the significant challenges posed by Nigeria’s current regulatory landscape. Olaniyan, who has extensive experience studying regulations across various environments, shared his insights on the role of regulators and their impact on the market and industry growth.

He noted that the precedents set by activist regulators could have long-term consequences and warned against over-regulation, which he believes can stifle industry growth and innovation

“Nigeria currently has what I like to refer to as an activist regulator. This means we have a regulator who is not only active but also bold in their approach. While this activism is not inherently good or bad, it does create friction with other actors within the ecosystem. These regulators must be prepared to deal with the consequences of their actions.

“It’s not just about the current reforms; it’s about the precedents they set, which we might have to deal with further down the line. Regulators need to be careful not to become active participants in the industries they regulate. For example, they should set standards and qualifications rather than directly offering training services,” he said.

Afanide Uwem, the MD/CEO of All Seasons Zenith Nigeria praised ARCON’s reforms but also called for clearer guidelines in digital vetting.

He affirmed that while the regulatory landscape has improved, continuous refinement and clarity in specific areas are essential for sustained progress.

He, however, pointed out that there are still areas needing improvement, particularly in the realm of digital vetting.

“The recent move into digital vetting is a bit unclear. I’ve encountered cases where the vetting process lacks clarity. It’s important to know exactly what is being vetted and under what criteria,” he said.

Despite these ambiguities, Afanide reiterated his positive assessment of ARCON’s reforms.

“Overall, they’ve done a very good job. The sense of oversight has led to better practices across the board. They just need to address the gray areas to ensure everyone is on the same page. ARCON’s reforms have been quite good. The way we used to operate is changing. Now, people work with a sense of being watched which ensures that operations are conducted more transparently and correctly.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    No comments found.