Kehinde Salami, President EXMAN

The experiential marketing practitioners in Nigeria under the aegis of Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria- EXMAN, have been tasked to take their expertise beyond marketing directors, marketing marketers brand managers and multinationals to chief executive officers-CEOs and small and medium scale enterprises- SMEs in order to widen the value proposition of their trade.

Mr. Michael Ikpoki, former CEO, MTN Nigeria & Ghana/CEO Africa Context, Mr. George Thorpe, Chairman Market Space and Mr. Feyi Olubodun, former CEO, Insight Communication/CEO Open Squares, who spoke at the EXMAN 6th Annual General Meeting business seminar in Lagos recently, were unanimous in their submissions that experiential marketers need to move a notch higher by engaging the CEOs and extending their services to millions of SMEs in the country.

Olubodun who spoke on “Understanding the African Consumer” said, “The way brands are consumed is determined largely by the cultural frame of reference of the consumers and specifically on the case of African or in this case, the Nigerian consumers,” adding that  “We consume brands within our own specific frame of reference, which we are now able to map and say these are the elements of that cultural frame of reference and it is influencing the last mile the final stage of brand decision and brand purchase with the consumers.”

Speaking on how experiential marketing industry can adopt cultural nuances to better their trade, the ex-CEO of Insight Communications said, “I think exman is so critical because they are the last mile, they are the ones that actually engage directly with the consumers. They can use some of these in designing the kind of consumer engagements that they proposed to their clients and they execute.”

L-R: Mike Ikpoki, former MTN Nigeria CEO/CEO Africa Context, Feyi Olubodun, former MD/CEO Insight Communication/CEO Open Squares and George Thorpe, Chairman Market Space during Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria-EXMAN 6th Annual General Meeting Business Seminar in Lagos recently.

He further stated that when they look at the specific nuance of the particular brand they are working on and how consumers see those brands, what are the cultural triggers that dictate how consumers would engage or consume those brands and then begin to develop and design execution ideas that would table in and tap in to those cultural nuances to the benefit of the brands.

Ikpoki, who dwelt on the need for the practitioners to move beyond chief marketing officers to chief executive officers, believed that most CEOs do not understand the working and operation of experiential marketers.

The Africa Context CEO said, “Experiential marketing industry should find a way to engage the CEOs. They need to start the process on how to begin to engage at the C-level.  They need to begin to engage CEOs and getting them to understand what it is they are doing and look better to position their expertise as solution provider to problems that keep them up at night.”

Meanwhile Mr. Thorpe who presented a paper on “Where is the BTL Market Headed and Why should it matter to all?” felt that experiential marketing industry is over relied on few multinationals businesses rather than creating a new vista that exist in SMEs across Nigeria.

Thorpe, who settled on market segmentation, market positioning, market attractiveness and market proposition said, “You don’t have to be in the same space, there are different new opportunities, new blue oceans that can be created within the marketing industry. There so many multinationals but there are millions of SMEs, what are you people doing as an industry to position and proposition it,” he queried.

Speaking of the feedback from members and quality of the engagement the session has provided, the President of the Association, Mr. Kehinde Salami said, “the theme for this year’s AGM is “the experience is key” and you can see the quality and experienced faculty we have brought to come and talk to us. They have addressed three different issues that we see as an industry.”

Particularly on Mr. Thorpe paper, Salami said, “We don’t just have to be in the same space, there are different new opportunities, new blue oceans that can be created within the marketing industry, the so many multinationals and you can count them on the fingers but there are millions of SMEs. What are doing as an industry to position and our proposition in meeting their needs,” and guess what he added, “There are not 180 days payment circle.”

According to him,   it has been a valued session, it has been an engaging and interesting one and from the initial feedback we have gotten so far I think EXMAN has gotten it right in terms of the faculty and in terms of the kind of issues we are touching on, which are germane to our industry,” he said.