Quest for knowledge burns bright at Marketers Fireplace event

By our News Team | 2022

Uganda Marketers Society brings top-notch speaker lineup to Kampala for annual gathering of industry thought leaders.

The Uganda Marketers Society was honoured to host renowned TEDx speaker and creator of the SOSTAC planning model, PR Smith, in Kampala recently. 

This was his first visit to Uganda and Smith was warmly welcomed by local marketing professionals who had eagerly awaited his presentation at the annual Marketers Fireplace, which this year took place on Friday, 2 December.

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PR Smith during his presentation to Ugandan marketers. Photo courtesy of Uganda Marketers Society

It is the society’s biggest event of the year, bringing together a variety of marketers and business leaders to discuss topics and glean insights aimed at enhancing business growth. This year’s theme was ‘Driving Growth Through Digital Transformation’.

The 2022 Marketers Fireplace kicked off with an online webinar presented by one of the keynote speakers – Dr Dave Chaffey, digital marketing guru, writer and co-founder of Smart Insights. He explained how marketers can use the RACE framework (‘React’, ‘Act’, ‘Convert’ and ‘Engage’) to drive digital transformation in today’s complex business environment, which requires a planned strategic approach.  

Chaffey gave a powerful session on emerging digital trends for 2023, including artificial intelligence (AI) applications, the rise of the Metaverse, and growth of video.

The long-awaited masterclass on strategic planning and innovation followed. This was facilitated by Smith and hosted by Robert Sebunya of Stanbic Bank.

According to Smith, strategy should be the shortest element of the plan, and half of the strategy should comprise situation analysis. He quoted renowned management consultant, Kenichi Ohmae, who emphasised that “there is no point in rowing harder if you’re rowing in the wrong direction”.

Delegates developed an integrated digital marketing plan

Thereafter, delegates participated in a practical planning session where they developed an integrated digital marketing plan to launch a book about using renewable energy and a new supergrid in Africa. Each delegate was given an opportunity to present their strategy, tactics, and innovative thinking to the audience – who acted as judges.

The afternoon session included a panel discussion on the use cases of digital transformation in the public and commercial sectors. The panel comprised: PR Smith; Herbert Olowo, Head of IT and Operations at Absa Bank Uganda; Doreen Lukandwa, Vice President of MSF Africa Global Enterprises; and Donato Laboke, Head of Channel & Marketing at Sanlam East Africa. The session was moderated by John B. Babirukamu, General Manager of Hedge Group.

Olowo outlined recent digital innovations by Absa Bank, such as the use of cardless QR code solutions at all ATM locations, which is allowing customers to access cash without a card in just a few minutes. Lukadwa noted that the intention of digital transformation is to reduce the cost of acquisition.  

The panelists also discussed the issue of data privacy and protection – as raised by the audience. They shared various recommendations on what marketers should do to ensure that customer data is not misused as organisations innovate in the face of digital transformation.

Later that evening, guests enjoyed sundowners on the roof terrace of the Protea Hotel Skyz, which provides great views of Kampala during sunset. There were fun moments to network and obtain an autographed copy of PR Smith’s latest book: ‘SOSTAC® Guide to your Perfect Digital Marketing Plan’. SOSTAC stands for ‘Situation’, ‘Objectives’, ‘Strategy’, ‘Tactics’, ‘Action’ and ‘Control’.

Guest of honour at the event was the Honourable Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, Uganda’s Minister of State for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. He encouraged marketers to think of Uganda as their first product to market, adding that it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and whatever happens in Uganda must be positioned strategically to promote it as a tourist destination.

During the Marketers Fireplace, UMS President David Balikuddembe, announced that the African Marketing Confederation’s 2023 conference will be hosted by the Uganda Marketers Society in Kampala in September next year. It will bring together marketers from across Africa for a three-day event.

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    Dr Kin Kariisa

    Group CEO - Next Media

    Dr. Kin Kariisa is an extraordinary force at the helm of Next Media Services, a conglomerate encompassing NBS TV, Nile Post, Sanyuka TV, Next Radio, Salam TV, Next Communication, Next Productions, and an array of other influential enterprises. His dynamic role as Chief Executive Officer exemplifies his unwavering commitment to shaping media, business, and community landscapes.
    With an esteemed academic journey, Dr. Kariisa’s accolades include an Honorary PhD in exemplary community service from the United Graduate College inTexas, an MBA from United States International University in Nairobi, Kenya, a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering from Huazong University in China, and a Bachelor’s degree in Statistics from Makerere University.
    Dr. Kariisa pursued PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radboud University in Nijmegen, Netherlands. As a dynamic educator, he has shared his expertise as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at both Makerere University and Radboud University.

    Dr Kin did his PhD research in Computer Security and Identity Management at Security of Systems Group, Radbond University in Nigmegen, Netherlands. He previously served as a lecturer of e-Government and Information Security at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda and Radbond University in Netherlands.

    Dr Kin did his postgraduate courses in Strategic Business Management, Strategic Leadership Communication and Strategies for Leading Successful Change Initiatives at Harvard University, Boston USA.

    • Other current and previous roles played by Dr Kin Kariisa:
    • Lecturer of e-Government and Information Security to graduate students at Makerere University, Kampala and Radbond University in the Netherlands
    • Director of Eco Bank Uganda Limited, one of the largest banks in Africa
    • Chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters, an umbrella industry association for all Television, Radio and online broadcasters in Uganda.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Nile Hotel International, that owns the leading hotel in Uganda, Kampala Serena Hotel.
    • Chairman of Board of Directors of Soliton Telmec Uganda, the leading telecom company in Optic fibre business managing over 80% of optic fibre in Uganda.