The old marketing axiom, innovate or die, could not have been more apt at this time, in the nation’s integrated marketing communication (IMC) space. Not a few analysts are of the opinion that the much-envisaged technology-induced ‘disruptions’, in the global advertising space has begun to manifest, and the reality of leaving individuals and brands, averse to such change, behind, is beginning to dawn on the industry.
The advertising space, globally, is beginning to witness a rise in the clout of digital advertising. The reality is, the relatively unknown, online advertising, years ago, is beginning to eat deep into the revenue shares of the traditional media. And, not a few believe that the trend may continue for some time to come. The only way of survival for any media, desirous of eking a living in the space, they argue, is to join the digital ‘bandwagon’.
Evidence, no doubt, abound to back the increasing popularity of digital advertising. For instance, the 30th World Press Trends report, released by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (Wan-Ifra), recently, shows that the overall global ad revenues in 2018, have continued to decline, despite the increase in paying audience and demand for quality news.
According to the report, global ad revenues in 2018, shrank, by 3 percent, with much of the decline coming from the print media, which suffered a 7 per cent decline, at the period under review.
But, despite the trying economic times being experienced by the traditional media, digital advertising continues to hold huge attractions to brands, desirous of exposure, as evidenced in the 5 per cent increase it recorded, same year.
Evidence of the growing influence of digital advertising is seen in the report, which attributed the 0.5 percent increase in the number of paying news audiences, to 640million per day in 2018, to continued strategy and growth of getting readers to convert to digital subscribers.
Curiously, in spite of the focus on digital transformation, print revenues, the report says, still accounts for about 86 per cent of news publishers’ revenue.
“In 2018, print circulation declined by only 1 percent, globally. Naturally that picture varies from region to region and from country to country,” the report added.
The difference, according to regions, for many, perhaps informed the slight difference in the report and the one recently released by Mediafacts, a key resource for marketing professionals, in the West and Central Africa, published by mediaReach.
Interestingly, one striking semblance between the two reports , Mediafacts and World Press Trends Report, is the decline in advertising spend, they both carry. For instance, just like the WPT Report, Mediafacts also reported an ad revenue drop from N88billion of 2017, to N81billion, in 2018.
Perhaps the only difference in the two reports is that instead of suffering a decline, the fortunes of the nation’s print, in 2018, were not negatively impacted, according to Mediafact, as against what we saw on the global stage, in the World Press Trends Report of 2018.
Another common ground, in the two reports remain the continued relevance of digital advertising, in marketing communication space, both local and global.
Interestingly, the effects of these reports and others that have continued to confirm the supremacy of digital advertising over the regular ones, have no doubt been reverberating in the nation’s IMC space.
For instance, brands, desirous of creating publicity hype around themselves, have continued to court the digital advertising space, due to its reach and cost effectiveness.
Reacting to the latest trend, the publisher and Chief Executive Officer of Marketing Edge, one of the nation’s pioneer brands and marketing journals, Mr. John Ajayi believes it is time for brands and marketing communications practitioners to begin to take online advertising seriously.
“It behoves on players, across industries, to know how to deploy digital for maximum business advantage. Leveraging the digital, at different levels, is very pivotal to top line achievement, hence the need for brands, desirous of survival to join the train,” the Marketing Edge publisher argued.
According to him, a key factor that would always attract brands to the digital space is its almost zero regulation, which gives brands the advantage of pushing information, that would, ordinarily, have been impossible on the traditional media space.
Besides, Ajayi added, the digital space offers brands much cheaper options, despite its wider reach.
“That is why you see brands even inviting influencers, bloggers and other citizen journalists to their events, nowadays. It is because of no other reason, but the mileage they can achieve through those people,” he argued.
Ajayi however described the decision of some of the nation’s traditional media, especially print, to have a strong online presence, as a step in the right direction.
“I know of a newspaper, whose major source of ad revenue generation is from the digital space. That tells you the digital ‘threat’ must be taken seriously by every stakeholder in the nation’s IMC space,” he added.
Ifeoma Okoye, Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager of the Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), would not agree less with the above submission on the increasing popularity of digital advertising.
She, however, disagree with the widely-held notion that market budgets are always being reviewed downwards, at trying economic times.
“The decline in advertising spend does not necessarily mean a slice in marketing budgets. For instance, for us at NBC, the budget is still there, what we have just done is to redeploy the spends to those channels, especially digital, that would bring us optimal results at far cheaper costs,” she stated.
A practitioner, who would not want his name in print, believes the advent of digital might force many agencies in the nation’s advertising space to go under.
“Everything about the industry is pointing to the continued relevance of technology in driving the way we do our things. But the challenge here is that, how many of us are actually prepared for this ‘paradigm’ shift?
To another practitioner, what is happening at the nation’s IMC’s space is like ‘scratching the surface’.
“We still have a long way to go. Practitioners need to come to terms with the disruption the technology is causing in the industry. It is after that that we can begin to talk of looking at the opportunities it offers and harnessing them,” the practitioner stated.
Former president of the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria (PRCAN), Mr. John Ehiguese, believes the industry will begin to witness a change, that might lead to repositioning among agencies.
“We may soon begin to witness a lot of merger and acquisitions in the nation’s marketing space,” he added.Read Full Story