Practitioners fear for future as NIMN, Nigerian Police escalates harassment of digital marketing experts


Digital marketing professionals and marketing experts in Nigeria have found themselves ensnared in a web of bureaucratic red tape as NIMN joins forces with the Nigerian Police Force to enforce its will upon unsuspecting practitioners.

The targets of this onslaught include established professionals registered with esteemed associations such as the Association of Digital Marketing Professionals of Nigeria (ADMARP), Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), and certified marketers holding CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) certificates.

A statement signed the Publisher/ CEO of MARKETING EDGE, Mr. John Ajayi described as “quite unfortunate that what was introduced as a commendable initiative to recognize these outstanding digital marketing and marketing professionals for their hard work can be turned into harassments and unreasoned intimidation, as NIMN targets established figures who have demonstrated exceptional resilience, dedication, and innovation in their respective fields. ”

He stated further that “Instead of celebrating the achievements of these young star professionals, they are being made to have found themselves face unjustifiable harassment and embarrassment at the hands of the institute.”

Ajayi further noted that as the digital technology industry continues to flourish, providing avenues for creativity and entrepreneurship, the unfortunate reality facing digital marketing professionals and marketing experts is now a climate of fear and uncertainty perpetuated by the very institution tasked with fostering professional growth and development.

“It’s more saddening that this is coming at a time when Nigeria is massively losing its vibrant talent and workforce to foreign climes,” the Publisher added.

He observed that “NIMN that wants marketers to reckon and register as members with it has not organised any training or retraining programmes for aspiring marketers in the last one decades. Ditto for certification and recertification wondering how young marketers will know about its existence.”

The genesis of this conflict can be traced back to late 2023 when Marketing Edge Publication, a leading marketing communications publication, unveiled its list of top digital marketing professionals and marketing experts.

The initiative was part of the publication’s 20th-anniversary celebrations as it showcased its longstanding commitment to promoting marketing communications and brand journalism in Nigeria.

The recognition was quickly met with disdain by NIMN, triggering a barrage of legal threats and public denouncements. NIMN seized the opportunity to cast a shadow over the industry magazine, dragging Marketing Edge to the court of public opinion and urging professionals to dissociate from its rankings.

Marketing Edge Publications Limited, a registered entity with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), specializes in media practice, research, and advertising.

Led by its CEO, John Ajayi, a member of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) with over three decades of journalism experience, the publication upholds journalistic integrity.

As an independent publisher and member of the fourth estate of the realm, Marketing Edge has for two decades maintained a sterling reputation, both locally and internationally, since its inception in 2003.

For years, the Publication has independently recognized outstanding brand icons through meticulous research and industry expertise. Its annual list of exceptional individuals and corporations is celebrated for its merit-based approach, earning Marketing Edge the title of “Best Marketing Magazine” and solidifying its position as a trusted industry watchdog and independent publisher.

Now, NIMN, in collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force, initiated a campaign of harassment against digital marketing professionals and marketing experts, causing uproar and raising pertinent questions about regulatory overreach and professional autonomy.

The issue at hand raises broader questions about the role and conduct of industry regulators. Should regulatory bodies be concerned with industry rankings and awards conducted by independent publications? Should they have the authority to dictate how professionals are recognized and celebrated within their respective fields?

The National Institute of Marketing, ostensibly established to champion the interests of marketing professionals and promote industry standards, has instead become synonymous with intimidation tactics and heavy-handed measures.

Instead of stifling recognition and innovation, regulatory bodies should focus on fostering an environment conducive to professional growth and advancement.

The current situation reveals the urgent need for industry stakeholders to engage in constructive dialogue and find common ground.
Rather than alienating professionals and undermining their achievements, regulatory bodies should strive to be allies in their journey towards excellence and recognition. Ultimately, the fate of marketing professionals in Nigeria hangs in the balance.

Will they continue to be stifled by outdated regulatory practices, or will they be empowered to thrive in an environment that celebrates their achievements and contributions? The choice rests with industry stakeholders and regulatory bodies alike.

It’s time to chart a new course towards a future where talent and innovation are embraced, not stifled, by regulatory oversight.


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