The Managing Partner and Group Chief Executive Officer, MediaFuse-Dentsu International, Mr. Emeka Okeke, in this interview with HENRY FALAIYEtalks about how data and technology can be used to improve timelines and output and increase overall productivity in industries

All over the world, data and technology have become one of the most valuable resources. How do you think Nigeria can benefit from data and technology and which sectors do you think will benefit the most?

Every economy must leverage data and technology for high-quality output, timeliness, relevance, viability and scale; Nigeria is no exception. Virtually every sector of the economy needs to take advantage of this, not only to survive today, but to thrive in the future.

Today, more companies are demanding results from marketing professionals that cannot be achieved without the advanced implementation of data and technology to build models that predict results, design econometric models, or simply ensure effective communication within the confines of a scarce resource.

We have always used data and technology. The main difference today is the amount of data available now that needs to be mined and the technological advancements to understand the vast amount of data that is growing exponentially.

Nigeria will benefit from this growth on many fronts; empirically based decisions will be faster and there will be improved quality of service as we can build predictive models to read trends and act quickly. Marketing professionals will be able to determine commercially viable returns on marketing investments, with pinpoint accuracy.

What do you think are the barriers to data and technology growth in Nigeria? How do you think we can overcome them?

First, there is a threshold for adoption. Many marketing professionals claim to understand the benefits of adopting a data-driven marketing ideology, but few do.

There is a knowledge gap that needs to be bridged between marketing professionals and the parallel disciplines in engineering, data science and design, who need to work together to activate data and technology for marketing.

Transcending these barriers doesn’t have to be huge. In the internet age, access to formal and informal education is abundant. There is ample opportunity to experiment and build hypotheses with real-world impact.

We need to look beyond the instant gratification of billboard advertising to the future where marketing evolves into satisfying memorable consumer experiences that lead to brand growth.

In the industry, many customers demand insights, but don’t want to pay for the data that delivers the insights they want. What is your advice to agencies to encourage clients to invest in data?

Agencies must decide to invest in data to survive, not just because the customer is willing to pay for it. The benefits, both short and long term, have a cascade, a multiplier effect on the agencies’ ability to manage their mandate effectively and efficiently.

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The agency needs to leverage data and technology, not just for briefing clients, but across the entire business. Advertisers leveraging data and technology are limiting it not just to marketing effectiveness, but to their entire business. For these companies, the need to invest in data and technology is essential for growth.

What do you think are the essential skills marketing communications professionals need today to ensure they are well positioned to develop data and technology solutions?

This is tertiary level knowledge in the sciences – engineering, statistics, computer science, economics etc. These include the technical competence to think, experiment and apply lessons learned.

According to the National Communication Commission, we currently have 206 million mobile subscribers and more than 150 million active data subscribers. How can marketers better take advantage of this massive subscriber base?

While one can consider the population of active data subscribers in Nigeria to be large, we should also note that each phone number (MSISDN) represents access to a much larger data set of user habits and behavior, established relationships and to falsify or terminate, and stated or inferred intention in the form of ambitions or motivations.

Exploring the data generated by just a single subscriber opens up a wide range of opportunities that marketers can leverage to build brand value through physical and virtual experiences, drive commercial growth, and create value through brand-to-brand co-creation. consumer.

Marketing teams must evolve from planners, designers and strategists to engineers (builders) and sociologists (analysts).

The industry is working with the support of the federal government 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 necessary investments in data and technology. They must recruit the right talent, explore partnerships for growth, and respect data laws.

There is a lot of talk surrounding the election and this will only intensify as we approach the end of the year. How can data and technology improve elections in Nigeria and what role should advertisers and media professionals play?

Effective use of data and technology can facilitate personalized reach at scale. By using basic information from phone numbers, we can build effective marketing models that facilitate voter education and information about warring factions and their ideologies, candidates at all levels of government and the election process.

Marketing plays a vital role, transforming from a means of communication into a platform for grassroots influence. We can even begin to decipher the possible outcomes based on an understanding of the audience’s intentions.

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What should be the priorities for customers looking to make the most of data and technology, especially in marketing communications?

They need to invest in the right talent and build effective teams, investing in high-fidelity technology systems that allow all aspects of the business to use the same source of data for business growth.

They must also ensure that data collection complies with applicable privacy laws, and is disciplined enough to know and work with relevant data from the mass of data being generated every moment – separating the wheat from the chaff.

Google plans to end third-party cookies by 2023. What do you think about how agencies can be better prepared?

This deadline has been pushed back again to sometime in 2024. Agencies need to devise solutions and explore partnerships to leverage and grow first-party data for use in marketing communications. This requires an understanding of evolving policies regarding data collection, access, storage and sharing.

They should also foster partnerships for growth with marketing technology platforms such as Google and Meta, Facebook, telcos, Nigeria Population Commission and other relevant first party data aggregators with stable Data Management Platforms.

Agencies should also make the effort to invest in the right talent and technology platforms.

What is your advice to agencies here to future-proof their business?

Agencies should examine consumer behavior and make long-term investments. They should also have a culture of innovation and experimentation within their organizations. In short, for them to learn, share and apply.

What is your advice to agencies to future-proof their business?

Agencies should examine consumer behavior and make long-term investments. They should also have a culture of innovation and experimentation within their organizations. In short, for them to learn, share and apply.

For example, MediaFuse-Dentsu leads the way with Consumer Connection System, an innovative consumer lifestyle and product research that gives advertisers and other stakeholders in the marketing communications industry a deeper understanding of consumer behavior and how they interact with the various media platforms. .

CCS and associated tools that can be derived from the data stack is an absolute game changer in communication planning in Nigeria. Advertisers, media and communication experts desire and deserve the level of detail that CCS provides to track and monitor today’s sophisticated consumer, who with modern technology receives millions of messages a day and has therefore become highly critical in their choices of products and services . They no longer rely solely on raw messages from the mainstream media to make a decision about brands. They live in a connected world through multiple advanced devices, which is why we need systems like CCS to track changes in their lives and behavior.

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What is your forecast of your ad spend for the rest of the year?

If you follow the developments in the industry, you would have come across our advertising forecast, which is done to serve the global audience.

According to our latest Dentsu Global Ad Spend Forecast report, global advertising investment will grow by 8.7 percent by 2022. The report is published twice a year and combines data from nearly 60 markets worldwide. In January, we expect growth of 9.1 percent in the first half of this year.

Is this possible with rising inflation and crises in many countries?

The forecast takes into account escalating media price inflation, geopolitical tensions, upcoming key elections and one of the most anticipated global sporting events of the year, the FIFA World Cup. Due to ongoing uncertainty, current and historical comparison data has also been adjusted to remove Russian investment from the forecast, to better reflect the rest of international ad spend trends and forecasts.

There will also be continued recovery despite another year of economic uncertainty, with global ad spend reaching $738.5 billion in 2022, based on an adjusted growth forecast to 8.7 percent. This is regardless of a stronger 2021 and with rising inflation expected across the globe to impact consumer demand in 2022.

What about 2023, and which region is expected to grow more in ad spend?

Looking ahead, we expect the global advertising market to grow 5.4 percent in 2023 to $778.6 billion, followed by a further 5.1 percent increase in 2024.

Digital will drive global ad spend growth to $409.9 billion by 2022, a 55.5% share of total ad spend. This growth is supported by Video, Paid Social, Search and Programmatic.

By 2022, America will be the largest ad spend region and the most dynamic at $329.6 billion, with spending growing by 13.1 percent. With a growth of 16.0 percent, India will lead the US at 12.8 percent and Brazil at 9.0 percent as the fastest growing market.

What will be the fate of traditional media?

The digitization of traditional media will be another key driver of total ad spend growth in 2022. As with previous forecasts, ad spend in newspapers and magazines will continue to decline as radio recovers with growing listenership to audio podcasts via Audio Macks, the equivalent of Spotify and YouTube; but this time, Audio Mack focuses on streaming audio podcasts with major ad campaigns on the platform.

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