• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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‘Digital marketing must involve conversation’


Nigeria’s digital market is worth about $2 billion and it could grow to $10 billion in the next five years if the right things are done, according to Jesse Soleil, the vice president of Porter Novelli who was in Nigeria to help develop core digital capabilities. Jesse who is confident of the growing trajectory of digital marketing in Nigeria told BusinessDay that content and understanding human behavior are key in digital marketing. Porter Novelli is a public relations firm that is part of Omnicom Group with presence in about 60 countries.

What is the objective of your first time visit to Nigeria?

Yes, this is my first visit to Nigeria and I have seen a beautiful city and surprisingly I didn’t believe it but the people are hospitable and wonderful, kind and caring. The reason I came is that I am the head of digital for Porter Novelli and Africa is a very important market for us and particularly Nigeria is a very important market for the company. I have been in Kenya and I am here in Lagos to help develop our core digital capabilities even further and understand other kinds of product analytics and measurement in the PR industry in Nigeria so that we can really be at the forefront of that industry in this market.

So, what have been your observations so far about digital marketing in Nigeria?

It is obvious that mobile is important. One of the big opportunities is to leverage the platform. While it is true in the U.S and some other markets that mobile is a big opportunity, it seems that here it’s the centre of it. We are interested in being able to leverage the use of mobile in our strategy. It is important we are here and we are ready to do a great job. From opportunity perspective, there is also an amazing opportunity here. Nigeria has a growing market and we think it is really important place to succeed as those opportunities continue to exist.

In a big market like Nigeria, Africa, why do you think the digital marketing is not growing with that fast drive?

It is not just here that it is experiencing slow growth. In Europe and Asia it is slow. Although different types of digital engagement have taken off. But we still have to remember that digital market is still marketing. The best practices we use in marketing sometimes go off the window because we say it is digital. That is what I am hoping to help out. To do great marketing and think of what the audience wants and do that. It is not to do things we think we need to do but do things the consumers want.  I think we have been doing the things we need to do not the things the people want.  We need make that switch, focusing on the behavior of mobile, social and behavior of digital platforms. Marketing has not changed but the behavior has changed. The right things have to happen for digital marketing to take off properly.

What is the edge of Porter Novelli brand when it comes to digital marketing?

We have been around for a long time and we started with social responsibility programmes and a large part of that is driven by research and data. We are one of the first agencies to use data to inform programme development. In fact data and analytics and measurement practice is the core of our ability to design good programmes and that is what gives us the edge. Being able to understand how people behave is not just watching what they do but being able to see the data that tells us what is actually happening on different platforms.

You said that designing stuffs in digital is not digital marketing, then, what is digital marketing

Digital marketing is really understanding human behavior.  Brands today present their characteristics to consumers on social media but that is not what social media is about. When you are on social media, there should be conversation and consumers should participate but brands don’t get that yet. Some treat social media as broadcast networks and that is why those brands don’t succeed and the programmes are ignored.

How then could these brand owners be re-orientated in to understanding the model and the process of digital marketing?

The first thing is to know your audience and what they want. These are small niches about who will like you not on facebook but like you enough to engage with you. If someone does not believe that you care or credible and if you don’t show them that you care there is no reason for them to engage with you.

Are there some challenges that come with digital marketing?

Because you want to be in digital marketing, you don’t necessarily have to undo the platforms. Sometimes the platforms are the right platforms but it is about the content and how the content is set for the opportunity. What we do now is to sit down with our clients and talk about how we can structure the content. Digital marketing brings the consumer to engage with the brand. That is how digital and indeed all marketing works.

Structuring content has been a big challenge in digital marketing, how do agencies and clients navigate through this?

The question is why content. We are working on helping our teams understand the way to structure engagements. It is not the technology but how you think about it.

How do clients checkmate potential fraud that may come in online marketing?

One of the things we recently launched is a partnership with cyber security firm. There is a lot of hacking and conversations on internet about vices. Some of these people openly discuss cyber attacks and who they want to attack. There are ways to hear and see what could be possible very early before they happen. It is really going with your eyes wide open. In the next 10 years everybody is going to invest heavily on looking at cyber security and how they are going to protect the assets of their clients.