Nigeria’s experiential market still grapples with innovational gap – Olaniyan

By Felicia Nwosu

Dr. Rotimi Olaniyan, Programme Director at Nottingham Business School, UK, has stated that the Nigerian experiential market still grapples with innovation gap in its operations. He described the sector as being a child of necessity within the marketing space.

Dr. Olaniyan stated this during an exclusive interview with MARKETING EDGE ONTV in Lagos, where he shared insights into the state of experiential marketing in the country. He maintained that the sun-sector has not kept pace with global trends in digital integration, and emphasized the necessity of embracing digital elements to remain competitive in today’s market.

Olaniyan, who traced the evolution of experiential marketing from its roots in direct marketing to its current prominence as a vital strategy for consumer engagement, also expressed concern over the industry’s lagging in innovation, particularly in digital integration when compared to global standards.

“Digital element is where the world is moving to. I don’t see the same level of progression within this market. I am not saying there isn’t. The biggest issue, in my view, is that there is a missing link in our ecosystem in experiential marketing, and that is compliance and measurement. The problem with experiential marketing today, in my view, is that it is a prison of its good fortune. I think that it is suffering from the lack of innovation within this space. We haven’t thrown sufficient innovation at the space compared to what I’ve seen in other environments,” he said.

To address these challenges, the passionate industry thought leader emphasized the urgent need for improved compliance and measurement practices within the experiential marketing ecosystem. He stressed the need to accurately assess effectiveness to optimize strategies.

One of the significant hurdles facing the industry, according to Olaniyan, is the shortage of strong brands in Nigeria, which he said intensifies competition among agencies vying for a limited number of accounts. He therefore stressed the need for agencies to differentiate themselves and offer value beyond basic execution.

Attesting to some of the structural challenges, Olaniyan suggested that mergers and acquisitions could help streamline the abundance of experiential agencies.

“We have so many experiential agencies out there. I ran three agencies in my lifetime, and quite honestly, do we need as many? But then, the question is, who’s going to drop his. I think there’s clearly going to be the need for mergers and acquisitions. There’s no doubt about that. We also have to deal with the culture of the owner-manager. The intensity of rivalry is driven by certain parameters or certain fundamentals, which clearly shows that the barriers to entry are low. There doesn’t seem to be anything truly proprietary, in terms of how we’re able to offer value to clients, beyond tactical execution. Some of this, to be honest, is also the fault of the client-managers, because they’re not challenging the agency.”

The seasoned marketer called upon client-managers to take a more proactive role in driving innovation within the industry by challenging agencies to deliver added value beyond mere tactical execution.

Olaniyan underscored the pressing need for increased innovation, digital integration, compliance, and collaboration to propel Nigeria’s experiential marketing landscape towards sustained growth and effectiveness.


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