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Marketing practitioners should be ready to innovate, re-strategise during tough times —President, NIMN

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A  lot of people believe you’ve been able to live up to some of your pre-election promises, some of which were  a new and befitting secretariat for the institute, an aggressive membership drive and capacity development programmes for members. But, after all these, one is tempted to say what next?
Well, the fact remains that we’ve not started yet.  This is just what I will call foundation-laying.  This is not the vision we have for the institute. Being in a rented apartment and furnishing it is not the vision. The vision is when the institute is fully in place, there will be no issue  they will be discussing about  commerce and marketing in this country that the institute will not be consulted.

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The vision is that by the time the institute is  fully there, every single marketing practitioner will  proudly be eager to be a member.  Nobody would have to be pursuing anybody to come and renew their subscriptions and the rest of it. They will be ready to do that  without prompting; since they will see the institute as value-adding.

My vision is that by the time  the institute is fully starting,  the marketing professionals will  have full opportunities for training and development. As a young Brand Manager, growing up then,  I know the kind of marketing trainings that were available in the country in those days. We are fully determined  to bring those glorious days back.  You saw what we did the other time, when we invited Professor Ogbeche to come and deliver a lecture at one of our events. My vision is that the type of training programme we are going to be having are going to be truly practical. If for example we want to talk about the role of a Brand Manager, in a company, I don’t want it to be handled from a theoretical point of view. I would want somebody who is a Marketing Director from PZ, Guinness, who is an experienced person to come and share  such experience of brand management, not somebody who will go and read textbook and begin teaching. Those are some of the few things we think we can do. It’s not about Tony Agenmonmen, we are talking about the institute now.

Whether Tony is there or not, it doesn’t matter. We are talking of the kind of trajectory we are looking forward to for the future. Like I said, what we are doing now is laying the foundation. I’m excited, I’m happy people are seeing the results. You were at our last event, you saw the quality of people that attended the event. I’m sure in February, last year, when we did our Conference, you didn’t see this quality of  people and professionals you saw at the last event, then. But we hope to keep on consolidating on these gains.

Next year, when we are doing our conference again, I expect to see an improvement in the quality of attendance, until we see all our members come back.  And I can tell you they are all coming back. You saw them. Since the last two  activities that we had, the Secretariat had been getting patronage from these people. I know a lot of people who had contacted and told me they see what is happening, they are proud,  and they want to come back. And they are doing all these on their own. So, I believe we are not there yet, but we are on track.

 

But what are you doing to ensure that such legacies are built on, even after your tenure?

You see, what we are talking about here is  not personalized. It’s not about an individual. It’s not about my person. But it is about being interested in the affairs of the institute. We must be interested in how the institute is run, either now or in the future.  For instance, the quality of the people that are coming in, is quite encouraging. If you leave your house unattended, abandoned; rodents, rats will take over. But if you leave in the house, you wake up there and you ensure it is well taken care of, the house will remain clean. I think with the kind of feelers we are getting from all our members, I think we have come to a stage where people are not going to allow any rot to come into the institute again.

 

Are you seeking re-election?

As for whether I’m contesting, we still have quite some time. The problem with  all these projections and calculations on whether somebody is contesting or not contesting is that you get distracted.  What I’m saying in essence is that we still have a while, we still have a lot of work to do before talking about the institute’s elections. We can’t be doing AGM in the heat of general elections. So there is quite a while. So when our own ‘INEC’ (electoral umpires), you know we also have our own ‘INEC’,  release their timetable, then we take it up from there.

 

Your overview of the marketing practice in the outgone year?

When you say marketing practice, what aspect of it? Is it the performance of the companies? Is it the performance  of the professionals? Is it the marketing challenges of the environment? Which one exactly?

 

I wouldn’t want to narrow it down to any, Sir?

I think the environment had been, for quite a while,  tough and  challenging. There is no dispute about that.  But even in turbulent times, the marketing people that excel are those who are able to come up with the right innovation and  the right strategy to address the peculiarities. And let me tell you, even despite this  current environment, some companies are making good money, they are making good profit, and they are doing very well. So that’s the challenge of management, that’s the challenge of marketing. The challenge is for you, as a marketer to be able to adjust your strategy, depending on the peculiar situation. But, if you ask me:  is it a walk in the park? No. Life, itself was not meant to be easy, anyway. If it was that easy, we wouldn’t even need any training that would equip marketing practitioners on how to survive in a tough environment or terrain. In all, I  would say there was  nothing extra-ordinary in 2018, that a normal marketing person should not be able to address. Yes the challenges are difficult, but that’s why they are there.

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