Marketers can be the glue embracing tech and driving change in Africa

By our News Team | 2023

Conference is told marketing must be indispensable to the business and show value. Marketers cannot wait to be told what to do.

Marketers must be the glue for change in Africa by helping the continent’s businesses and brands to be data-driven, analytical and to integrate their operations by successfully using all the data available to them.

Speaking during the 2nd annual marketing conference of the African Marketing Confederation, which is this year taking place in Uganda, Professor Robert Ebo Hinson, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Ghana Communication Technology University, said it was concerning that African brands seemed to be regressing in consumer esteem versus foreign brands operating on the continent.

Marketing Conferences

Photo courtesy of Uganda Marketers Society

Referring to a Brand Africa study published in April 2023, which emphasised that foreign brands were increasingly admired by the continent’s consumers while indigenous brands were losing headway, Prof Hinson called for local marketers to take charge and sell themselves and the importance of their skills to the C-suite.


He was a keynote speaker on the opening day of the conference, which runs until Friday at the Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel in Entebbe. This year’s event is being hosted by the Uganda Marketers Society (UMS) in conjunction with the African Marketing Confederation (AMC).


Prof Hinson emphasised that “the technology train stops for no one” and it was up to African marketers to embrace this, using technology to help measure the ROI of their marketing strategies. “This is what the C-suite wants, we must be able to show how marketing is growing the business and growing sales,” he said.


Technology is creating fundamental change in marketing


Embracing evolving technology was a key theme throughout the opening day, with speaker after speaker noting the fundamental changes taking place.


Nondumiso Ngobese Mabece, Head of Consumer Marketing and PR at Multichoice Africa Holdings, speaking during a panel discussion on Media and Marketing Communications, said digital and data was helping DStv on a daily basis to deeply understand its customers and gain new insights.


“We monitor our figures daily across Africa; we know each market and how they are performing. Then we act accordingly. Marketers cannot be scared of figures or targets – those days are gone.


“Marketing must be indispensable and show value. We must display thought leadership within the business. We cannot wait to be told what to do; we must be leading.”


During an afternoon panel discussion on artificial intelligence, moderated by Lucia Musau, CEO of the African Elite Group in Kenya, delegates heard that AI could not be expected to think for marketers, who still needed to direct AI’s actions according to the needs of the organisation.


As one participant put it: “We must still have our marketing heads screwed on. If you don’t know what you need, how can AI help you?


Delegates also heard that AI can be particularly effective in improving customer experience (CX), by scaling it and making it more feasible. AI had the advantage of being able to spot connections in raw customer data that human analysts may struggle to identify.


The conference continues today.

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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.