MARKETIG EDGE Summit: Yaw Nsarkoh warns that technology could spell doom for agencies

Yaw Nsarkoh, Managing Director of Unilever Nigeria/Ghana has warned marketing communication agencies that they risk being made obsolete unless they innovate and make themselves more relevant within the marketing value chain.

Mr. Nsarkoh was the guest speaker at the annual MARKETING EDGE Summit and Award which held yesterday in Lagos at the Radisson Blu Hotel. In his usual quintessential style, the Unilever CEO, who is a much sought after speaker globally and an expert on the African market, took the close to 500 marketing executives at the summit on insightful ride on the evolution of marketing and consumer behavior, and narrowed it down to the impact and use of technology.

While delivering his speech titled, “Marketing Paradigms in the Age of Digitalization”, Nsarkoh stressed that technology was evolving at a pace that threatens the relevance of intermedia outfits whose roles does not have direct relevance in consumers’ lives. He also added that those who seek to make the most of technology must use it as a tool and not  destination in itself.

His warning was coming at a time when some multinationals are increasingly experimenting with in-house agencies, in a bid to save cost. Also marketing communications agencies are now increasingly coming under scrutiny globally as advertisers demand for more transparency and proof of return on investment.

The one hour presentation which was the highlight of the MARKETING EDE Stakeholder Summit, challenged marketeers to redefine their roles within the framework of the marketing profession in a bid to find more relevance and deliver more value to consumers.

“If you are not playing a fundamental part in the delivery of a service or a product as a solution that improves people’s lives, and all you do is to be there as an intermedia player, know that you are living in a world that you will soon be obsolete and irrelevant.

“That is what the truth is and that is what we need to say to ourselves. I know there are many agency people here. If your job is simply to take this and give it to this as a transaction, in no time we are living in a world where technology will get rid of you,” the Unilever CEO opined.

Nsarkoh’s sentiments were also reinforced by the high powered panelists who provided broader shades of context and perspectives to the presentation. Steve Babaeko, Group CEO X3M Ideas Group, agreed with the main speaker that the most important element in creativity is the people and not the platform, adding that platforms will come and go, but the people will always remain, and therefore “marketing should most importantly be about the people and not platforms.

Another equally brilliant submission was made by Adebola Williams, a journalist and youth development expert, who stressed that marketing should be all about people, adding that “marketing was moving away from B2B or C2C and it’s becoming H2H- human to human.”

Other member of the panel who offered their insight included Emeka Okeke, Group CEO of Media Fuse Dentsu Aegis Network harped on the evolution in how consumers consume media content.

“Before now what do we have as content? We had content that was very long and written for linear television. What do we have today? Content are written for multiple devises. It’s about snakable content. Contents that are so short because consumer no longer listen to long content anymore.”

Earlier in his welcome address, John Ajayi, Convener of the summit and CEO/Publisher of MARKETING EDGE said the theme “Marketing Paradigms in the Age of Digitalization” was chosen to create a nexus between brand owners and the consumers, as well as provide lasting solutions to the challenges confronting them in a world that is now digitally “wired”.

He added that the theme was intended to ignite a fresh conversation on contemporary marketing issues that have become very sacrosanct in terms of the business of marketing management and the management of marketing business.


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