Seasoned experts and professionals have called on Business owners, industry captains, and brand custodians as well as stakeholders operating in the marketing and communications ecosystem to be in sync with data and technology if they want to remain relevant, and at the top of their marketing game.
They made this call recently at the 2022 Annual Marketing Conference organized by the National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) while making presentations on the theme, “Driving Business Sustainability in the Age of Data and Technology” at the prestigious Eko Hotels & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Setting the pace for the conference, Keynote Speaker, Mr. Kola Oyeyemi, stated that contrary to the traditional belief that the advent of technology would improve the lives of many at the expense of ‘a smaller few’, tech advancements have continued to take its toll on many businesses, due to the failure of those businesses to take advantage of the benefits inherent in such techs.
He, therefore, argued that with the explosion in data and very aggressively disruptive technologies, it has become imperative for business sustainability to be discussed from the perspective of performance fundamentals.
Describing as ‘unsettling’ the issue of disruptive technologies, the chief executive of Axiom Intel Limited noted that while technology can enhance operational and financial efficiencies, it can also accelerate a business’ decline and extinction, if not handled adequately.
“This is like riding a wild tiger. Any error can be very fatal. Technology can help you drive operational and financial efficiencies. It can make you leaner, fitter, smarter and more profitable. It can make you more innovative and enable faster access to market. However, technology can also accelerate your extinction,” he stated.
Oyeyemi also cautioned that such disruption might have a negative impact on businesses, though it might not necessarily be through intra-business competition, but as “a barbarian from outside” the industry.
Using the advent of smartphone technology as an example, he argued that the introduction of the first smartphone device by IBM in 1992 and the advent of the internet had permanently made smartphones to change the face of business and personal interactions.
“This is one of the most visible examples of Creative Destruction. The smartphone took mobility of life and business to a whole new level and created a convergence of industries into this powerful device,” he added.
According to the former President of the Advertisers’ Association of Nigeria (ADVAN), the convergence had led to the premature death or mutation of a lot of industries, with over 14 classic industries changed or being changed just by the emergence of the smartphone.
Some of the industries affected, he added, included music production and distribution, video production and distribution, banking, insurance, watch, print production, broadcast, gaming, retail brick and mortar channels, maps, credit, cinema, advertising, photography, hospitality, transportation, logistics, education, and medical practice.
Oyeyemi attributed such disruption to the fact that technologies have no regard for extant rules of engagement or the old factors of competitive advantage.
“These technologies have no regard for extant rules of engagement or the old factors of competitive advantage. They are barbarians who have pulled down old structures and systems and created a whole new frame for competitiveness beyond industries,” he stated.
“The need to drive sustainability in business in the environment painted thus far has been a global discourse that has engaged thought leaders in the last couple of years. A school of thought believes that the age of Sustainable competitive advantage is gone forever. That school postulated the new age of Transient Competitive advantage.”
Citing Rita Gunter McGrath’s “The End of Competitive Advantage”, the former ‘MTN man’ challenged the age-long foundational assumptions in the Strategy field. These assumptions, he said, are that industries are made up of relatively enduring and stable competitive forces; that once an organization achieves certain advantages, they are sustainable and that industry-focused sustainable advantage creates a bias toward stability.
“In a VUCA environment, this is most dangerous. It creates wrong reflexes. The incentive to build up on the existing business model is tempting. People generally and conveniently fall into habits and routines. Organizational rigidity festers and innovation is impaired. In a volatile environment, this is certain death!” he declared.
He, therefore, c citing Gunter, submitted that organizations need to move away from industry-focused competitive benchmarking and competitive analysis. “Industry competitiveness is still important. However, a higher level of analysis beyond the industry is required for survival and sustainable success.”
The keynote speaker, therefore, charged business owners to be wary of organizational rigidity since such strategy impairs innovation and ecosystem thinking and could therefore lead to the extinction of such businesses.
Oyeyemi’s Keynote address was immediately followed by the first panel session which featured a robust discussion on the topic, “Disruptive Marketing”. Segun Ogunleye, GM, Marketing, Seven-Up Bottling Company; Otome Oyo, GM, EXP Africa and Joyce Ibukun-Aiyemo, Marketing Coordinator, Allied Foods (Burger King)facilitated this session. Angela Makinwa, Client Engagement Director, EXP Nigeria moderated the session.
Using relevant practical examples, Ogunleye spoke about how Brand Pepsi as well as other LRP brands in the SBC portfolio are reinventing the wheels in consumer engagement and disruption using technology as well as data analytics.
In her contribution, Joyce Ibukun-Aiyemo harped on the need for marketing practitioners in the country to take disruptive marketing seriously. “This is because it helps you freshen your products in the eye of your customer, and creatively give you a competitive advantage,” she stated.
Their session was followed by the one on “The Future of Marketing In A Tech-Driven World”. Dr. Uchenna Uzo, Faculty Director, Marketing, Lagos Business School; Ladi Ogunseye, CMO, Canary Point Corporate Services; Omobolanle Akingbala, CMO, HireFoster and UzedUanikhehi, CEO/Cofounder, Zedi Africa facilitated this session while Nsima Ogedi-Alakwe moderated the session.
Also speaking at the event, the institute’s president and chairman of Council, Mr. Idorenyen Enang, described the conference as a way of creating a platform for stakeholders in the nation’s marketing space to exchange ideas.
In a related development, not fewer than 17 prominent practitioners, with some drawn from sister professional bodies were inducted into the institutes Fellowship. According to Enang, the action was a way of further enhancing the practice and collaborating with sister professional bodies, with the aim of bringing more benefits to its members.
Some of the inductees include AAAN President and X3M Ideas boss, Steve Babaeko, Managing Director of Rites Foods Ltd., Saleem Adegunwa; GM, Marketing (LifeCare Division, SBC), Charity Ilevbare-Adeniji and Executive Director, Corporate Affairs, FrieslandCampina WAMPCO Nigeria, Ore Famurewa.
Others include Olusegun Ayoola, MD/CEO, Expose Marketing Solutions, Prof. Aliyu Mamman, Pioneer Rector, Federal Polytechnic, Daura; Oyeronle Adebayo, Head, Travel Insurance Unit, AIICO Insurance; Benita Adelore,General Manager, Leventis Motors, Chukwuemeka Augustine, Managing Director, Vinecrest Nigeria; Adebowale Sangosanya, Consultant, Blue Teal and Tolu Ojo, MD/CEO, Tamy Consulting Nigeria.
Relatedly, the institute has elected Prof. Michael Kupolati and Mrs Ebisan Onyema, as its first and second vice-presidents, respectively.
Announcing this at the institute’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on the second day of the marketing conference, the President of the institute, Enang, stated that the newly-elected officers, would replace the duo of Dr. Kasuwar Gambo and Mr. Chuka Eborah, the erstwhile first and second vice-presidents, respectively, who had served out their terms on the institute’s council.
Congratulating the duo, Enang expressed the belief that the newly-elected officers would bring to bear the vast experiences they had garnered over the decades on the marketing field.
He also expressed the institute’s gratitude to the erstwhile first and second vice-presidents for their contributions to the growth and development of the institute in the past few years.
Responding on behalf of the new officers, Kupolati assured them of the duo’s commitment to contributing their own quota to the development of the marketing institute.
Kupolati and Ebisan emerged victorious after the online manifesto night and voting exercise, conducted by the Electoral Committee of the institute, between June 8 and 17.
While Kupolati was elected unopposed with 293 votes out of 450 registered votes, Ebisan defeated Ayoade Adeyemi with 241 votes to the latter’s 180.