By DAVID AUDU
There is an understanding now more than ever that the future of marketing is in the digital space. In this interview by DAVID AUDU, the CEO and cofounder of Wild Fusion, Abasiama Idaresit, explains the growing relevance of digital advertising, among other issues in the industry.
Looking at social media marketing in Nigeria, it started few years ago, could you state how it has improved and a change agent?
Basically, social media marketing has been growing in a phenomenal rate, especially in Nigeria. We are happy because, according to the GDP we are Africa’s largest technology market so, we are talking of over 120 million access to phones, and the largest internet market on this continent, over 54 million connected people so, that is a huge number that we have out there online and, we are beginning to pump into the contacts of digital marketing i.e. social media marketing. Over the past few years it has been growing at a phenomenal rate, and I have absolutely no doubt that this will continue to grow.
What gives you the confidence it will continue to grow?
When you look at the trend, what technology is bringing to marketing, the concepts of the principle still remain the same but, technology is delivering a whole lots of value to advertising and marketing so, we are looking at targeting, reporting in terms of cost effectiveness, in terms of being able to reach users at a particular time of the day and most importantly, the returns of advertising spend and technology tend to drive that.
Do you have the mechanism to reach certain audience?
That is the foundation of online marketing, the ability to have precision and precise targeting so, if you are going on platforms like Facebook, Google works or Google adwords, they have already segmented users. So, if you register on Facebook or you register on the internet, you do give out information on who you are; your name, your age, your gender, what you studied in school, how old are you, what are your interest and based on these interests, advertisers are able to reach to you, with relevant contents that are relevant to your interest and relevant to who you are so, reducing the cost engagement for advertisers and creating a very rewarding ecosystems for both advertising family and the users.
Is digital marketing over rated in terms of its impact?
It is not over rated and why it is not over rated is because, we are seeing the returns, we are seeing the returns on advertising and people are not stupid. If something is over rated and they are not getting returns, they are not going to continue doing it talk less of putting in more resources and what we are saying over the time is, advertisers and marketers are investing a lot more in digital platforms because, they are seeing returns. There are case studies. We have case studies of how small businesses have been impacted, how they grow, how they moved from point A to point B using digital technologies. It is not over rated, it will continue to grow and across the world this is a platform that is delivering returns for advertisers and marketers all across the world so, it cannot be different in Nigeria.
Is it a misunderstanding of what digital marketing is about?
Yeah, I do agree with you, it is a big problem in the market and that’s why we are trying to address it because, people are not well trained and do not understand the concept, they end up making a lot of mistakes and people will begin to feel it is over rated. There are very few digital agencies that know what they are doing, not a lot do understand how to deliver value to their client through technological platform, and that is why we’ve gone ahead to partner with Digital Marketing Institute of Ireland, that is the global Digital Training Institution that delivers Digital Marketing Training across the world and we’ve joined a partner with network to set up the Wild Fusion Digital Centre which would be a one stop centre that delivers international training for Nigerians.
Could you tell us, what motivated you to set up this Digital Training Centre?
A few things, first is, we have a country here that is the biggest economy in Africa, we have the biggest Digital market in Africa, we are the 8th largest country in the world in terms of internet users and yet, there are no infrastructures to train people to understand the concept of Digital, to train people to begin to use the principle of and the concepts and the tools out there to deliver value for themselves and for their clients. So, we said okay, let us go out there and help build the local market, let us go out there and develop people. So many Nigerians are travelling out of the country to learn these concepts, why do you have to go that far? Just come here and get trained. You know, that is what is driving us because, we strongly believe in this country, we strongly believe in what we are doing.
What drives you at Wild Fusion?
First of all, it is delivering value to customers, that’s one; number two, it is also building the local ecosystem, we want to empower Nigerians with the tools to succeed, we want to empower people with this concept of technology because, we know technology can help move people from where they are to where they want to be. Technology is driving banking industry, is driving businesses across the world, it shouldn’t be different in Nigeria so, that’s what is driving us, and we are very confident in what we are doing.
Why will you train people on what you are making money out of?
Let me explain something to you, it will be so short sighted for you not to see a market as big as that, and to see level of unemployment in this country and how poor, how low and see a way for people to get trained and do nothing about it, it is sense of responsibility and as the market leader and the pioneering digital agency in this country, we believe that it is our responsibility to help this market grow and that is why we are going up there to train people, that’s why we are going up there to provide people with the tools that will help them succeed.
Are you going to set up training centres in other parts of Africa?
To be honest with you, people are flying in from Ghana and Kenya for the training this week, as I’m speaking with you. And again, it shows and it buttress the fact that look, if you create an opportunity to develop the market, you are going to definitely get interest from not just within your immediate society so, we believe that for Africa to succeed and for it to emerge as the power house economically, we need to start investing in infrastructures, not just physical infrastructures but human infrastructures. If we don’t have that infrastructure, we will never grow and catch up with the rest of the world.
Who regulates the contents of the social media marketing?
Well, if we are looking at it from a relative perspective, the publishers, the likes of Facebook and Google, have their own regulations which they have stipulated and they made very clear and they are very strict with some of these rules. For example, is going to be very difficult for anybody to try promote pharmaceutical products on Google platforms without certain support authorization so, this is an example of regulation and we also, as responsible advertisers, look at some of the creative materials, look at some of the contents and decide what should go online and what shouldn’t but, publishers are regulating, we agencies and partners to regulators and definitely we do have bodies in Nigeria that are responsible for regulating advertising communications in Nigeria.
What are some of the benefits from having this Institute here?
The first thing first is, you have an International Centre that is well set up, that is world class, the training, the content is International right here in Lagos, where people can come and get qualification that is recognized anywhere in the world. Like I mentioned earlier, people from Ghana and from Kenya are flying this week for this training and the reason that is happening is because, people do recognize the DMI, the Digital Marketing Institution of Ireland as an International standard for Digital Marketing Training, that is one of the benefits. And also, it reduces cost for students because, they don’t have to travel out of the country for this training, you can do it right here in Lagos where you can interact with other students and interact with your lecturers. Some people decide to study on their own using Internet platform to read up on the internet but, being in the class and interacting with other students, looking at local case studies and listening to your teacher is a fantastic opportunity for you to be well rounded in the subject matter.