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Companies’ quest to boost sales in 2020 expected to jolt activity among marketing agencies

… Digital PR, specialisation key considerations

Some operators in the tough-surviving Nigeria’s marketing communication industry are optimistic of healthy marketing activities this year which will assist to buoy the struggling industry.

Though, such enthusiasm was expressed at the beginning of last year on the back of election period. This did not actually materialise as expected, due to some whims but this year, the optimism is linked to heightened desire by more companies to push for increased market share. This is expected to lead to introduction of variants and product re-launches.

Also anticipated is intense activity of market challengers and counter responses; companies seeking new ways to engage with the consumer; and investment fallout from border closure and the needed marketing communication.

Analysts believe that the border closure since August 21, 2019 will further spin more partnerships, opportunities for branding, packaging and marketing by investors which will increase activity in the marketing communication sector.

Adetola Odusote, Deputy Director, Reignite and Public Affairs Limited who noted that capacity of rice and chicken production is growing fast said this will create room for communication by clients for sales especially as emerging rice products are rising.

According to Odusote, the immediate past secretary of PRCAN, many clients who survived the turbulent past years will be ready for marketing activities going forward to sustain the business. This is in the face of statement by IMF that Nigeria’s economy will grow by 2.1% this year, the same growth level in 2019. Therefore there will be need to engage consumers to create traction to products and boost sales.

To set the tone for serious marketing this year, some companies have shown interest to recruit new marketing agencies by holding pitches. “Pitches are on-going as clients have started their plans in earnest”, said Bolaji Abimbola, the CEO of Integrated Indigo.

Some organisations such as Lafarge and Stanbic IBTC recently held pitches for marketing communication agencies while International Breweries recently recruited another agency for business. While Lafarge is yet to appoint an agency, Stanbic appointed Media Craft to market its activities. “Many more pitches will come this year by clients who are looking for consumer engagement through various channels”.

Looking at recruitments for agencies by clients, Innocent Nwani, a PR practitioner with HKStrategies said companies are considering specialisation of agencies before appointing them. Companies in the FMCG, Oil and Gas or financial sector will consider agencies with experience in those sectors. Companies that are also looking to engage consumers through digital channels will favour agencies with expertise in digital PR.

He said agencies with different specialisations can form collaborations to stand advantage to bid for businesses. Collaboration among agencies to keep the industry healthy was one of the key points underlined at the recent National Advertising conference held in Abuja.

Expecting much activity this year, Abimbola foresees that new product challengers will not rest on their oars this year. This will keep the industry bubbling as companies will try to hold on their market shares while agencies will struggle to hold on to their businesses.

Daniel Obi

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