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Mr Emeka Okeke
The Managing Partner and Group Chief Executive Officer, MediaFuse-Dentsu International, Mr Emeka Okeke, in this interview with HENRY FALAIYE, speaks on how data and technology can be leveraged to improve timelines, outputs and increase general productivity in industries
Across the world, data and technology have become one of the most valuable resources. In your view, how do you think Nigeria can benefit from data and technology and what industries do you think will benefit the most?
Every economy must leverage data and technology for quality output, timeliness, relevance, viability, and scale; Nigeria is no exception. Virtually every sector of the economy must leverage this, not just for survival today, but to thrive in the future.
Today, more businesses are demanding results from marketing professionals that cannot be achieved without the sophisticated implementation of data and technology to build out models that predict outcomes, design econometric models or simply guarantee effective communication within the limits of a scarce resource.
We have always leveraged data and technology. The key difference today is the volume of data now available that must be mined and the advancements in technology to make sense of the trove of data which is growing exponentially.
Nigeria will benefit from this growth on many fronts; empirical-based decisions will be faster, and there will be improved quality of service as we will be able to build predictive models to read trends and act fast. Marketing professionals will be able to determine commercially viable returns on marketing investments, with pinpoint accuracy.
What do you think are the barriers to the growth of data and technology in Nigeria? How do you think we can overcome them?
Firstly, there is a barrier to adoption. Many marketing professionals claim to understand the benefits of adopting a data-driven marketing ideology but very few do.
There is a knowledge gap that must be addressed among professionals in the marketing field and the parallel disciplines in engineering, data science and design who must be collaborated to activate data and technology for marketing.
Surmounting these barriers does not need to be herculean. In the age of the Internet, access to formal and informal education is in abundant supply. There is ample opportunity to experiment and build hypotheses with real-world impact.
We must look beyond the immediate gratification of ‘billboard advertising’ to the future where marketing evolves into gratifying memorable experiences for the consumer that leads to brand growth.
In the industry, many clients demand insights but are unwilling to pay for the data which will generate the desired insights. What is your advice to agencies to encourage clients to invest in data?
Agencies must decide to invest in data for their survival, not just because the client is willing to pay for it. The benefits, both immediate and long-term, have cascading, the multiplier effect on the ability of the agencies to manage their mandate effectively and efficiently.
The agency must leverage data and technology, not just for client briefs but in the entire business operation. Advertisers that leverage data and technology do not limit it to just marketing effectiveness but their entire business operations. For these business enterprises, the need to invest in data and technology is essentially crucial for growth.
What, in your opinion, are the critical skill sets needed by marketing communications professionals today to ensure they are well positioned to develop data and technology solutions?
These are tertiary-level knowledge in the sciences – engineering, statistics, computer science, economics etc. These include the technical competence to think, experiment and apply learnings.
According to the National Communication Commission, we currently have 206 million mobile subscribers and over 150 million active data subscribers. How can marketers take better advantage of this vast subscriber base?
While one may consider the population of active data subscribers in Nigeria as large, we must also note that every phone number (MSISDN) represents access to a much larger data-set of user habits and behaviours, relationships established and those to be forged or sunset, and declared or inferred intent in the form of aspirations or motivations.
Exploring the data generated from just one single subscriber offers a wide range of opportunities that marketers can leverage to build brand equity through physical and virtual experiences, drive commercial growth and create value through co-creation between brand and consumer.
Marketing teams must evolve from planners, designers and strategists to include engineers (builders) and sociologists (analysts).
The industry with the support of the Federal Government is working to improve data capabilities within the media industry. What do you think agencies can do to improve their internal data capabilities?
Media agencies must make the needed investment in data and technology. They must recruit the right talent, explore partnerships for growth and respect data laws.
There is a lot of conversation right on around the elections and this will only intensify as we approach the end of the year. How can data and technology improve electioneering in Nigeria and what role should advertisers and media practitioners play?
Effective use of data and technology may facilitate personalised reach at scale. By leveraging basic information from phone numbers, we can build effective marketing models that facilitate voter education and information about contending parties and their ideologies, candidates across all strata of government and the electioneering process.
Marketing assumes a pivotal role, moving from a communication tool to a platform for influence at grassroots levels. We may even begin to decipher the possible outcomes based on a keen understanding of the intents of audiences.
What should be the priorities for clients looking to make the best use of data and technology particularly in marketing communications?
They should invest in the right talent and build effective teams, invest in high-fidelity technology systems that enable all aspects of the business to leverage the same data source for business growth.
They should also ensure data collection meets established privacy laws, and be disciplined enough to know and work with relevant data from the mass of data being generated every instant – separate the wheat from the chaff.
Google plans to end third-party cookies by 2023. What are your thoughts on how agencies can be better prepared?
This deadline has been shifted again to sometime in 2024. Agencies must build out solutions and explore partnerships to leverage and grow first-party data for use in marketing communications. This will require a keen understanding of evolving policies governing data acquisition, access, storage and sharing.
They should also foster partnerships for growth with marketing technology platforms like Google and Meta, Facebook, telcos, Nigeria Population Commission, and other relevant first party data aggregator with stable Data Management Platforms.
Also, agencies should take the pain of investing in the right talent and the right technology platforms.
What is your advice to agencies here to future-proof their business?
Agencies should research consumer behaviour and engage in long-term investment. They should also have a culture of innovation and experimentation within their organisations. Basically for them to learn, share and apply.
What is your advice to agencies to future-proof their business?
Agencies should research consumer behaviour and engage in long-term investment. They should also have a culture of innovation and experimentation within their organisations. Basically, for them to learn, share and apply.
For instance, MediaFuse-Dentsu is leading the charge with Consumer Connection System, which is an innovative consumer lifestyle and product survey that gives advertisers and other stakeholders in the marketing communications industry a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour and how they interact with the different media platforms.
CCS and associated tools derivable from the data stack is an absolute game changer in communication planning in Nigeria. Advertisers, the media and communication experts desire and deserve the level of details that CCS provides to follow and track today’s sophisticated consumer who with modern technology receive millions of messages every day and therefore have become very discerning in their choices of products and services. They no longer rely solely on raw messages from mainstream media to make up their minds about brands. They live in a connected world through multiple sophisticated devices, and we therefore need systems like CCS to track changes in their lives and behaviour.
What’s your Ad-spend prediction for the rest of the year?
If you are following the development in the industry, you would have come across our ad-forecast, which is done to serve the global audience.
Advertising investment is forecast to grow by 8.7 per cent globally in 2022, according to our latest Dentsu Global Ad Spend Forecast report. The report is released twice-yearly and it combines data from close to 60 markets globally. In January, we forecast 9.1 per cent growth in the first half of this year.
Is this possible with the rising inflation and crises witnessed in many countries?
For the forecast, escalating media price inflation, geopolitical tension, upcoming key elections, and one of the most anticipated global sports events of the year, the FIFA World Cup, are considered. Due to continued uncertainty, the current and historical comparison data has also been adjusted to remove Russian investment from the forecast, to better reflect the rest of the international ad spend trends and predictions.
There will also be continued recovery despite another year of economic uncertainty, with global 2022 ad spend of $738.5bn, which is based on an adjusted growth forecast to 8.7 per cent. This is regardless of a stronger 2021 and with the expectation of rising inflation around the world impacting consumer demand in 2022.
How about 2023, and which region is expected to grow more in ad spend?
Looking ahead, we expect the 2023 global advertising market to increase by 5.4 per cent to reach $778.6bn followed by a further 5.1 per cent increase in 2024.
Digital will drive global ad spend growth in 2022 to reach $409.9bn, a 55.5 per cent share of total ad spend. This growth is supported by Video, Paid Social, Search, and Programmatic.
In 2022, the Americas will be the top ad spend region at $329.6bn and the most dynamic with spend increasing by 13.1 per cent. India at 16.0 per cent growth will stay ahead of the US at 12.8 per cent and Brazil at 9.0 per cent as the fastest growing market.
What will be the fate of traditional media?
The digitalisation of traditional media will be another key driver of total ad spend growth in 2022. As with previous predictions, ad spending in newspapers and magazines will continue to decline while radio is rebounding with growing Audio podcast listenership via Audio Macks which is equivalent of Spotify and YouTube; but this time Audio Mack focuses on audio podcast streaming with significant advertising campaigns running on the platform.
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