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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.
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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Kalu has been with the agency since 2016 and brings a wide range of experience and professional expertise to his new role.