Lever­ag­ing tech­nol­ogy for com­pet­i­tive­ness in OOH ad­ver­tis­ing

Financial Nigeria Magazine - - Contents - By Akachi Ngwu Akachi Ngwu is the Founder/CEO of Con­sumer Scores In­ter­na­tional Lim­ited, a La­gos-based in–store ad­ver­tis­ing so­lu­tions provider. He is an alum­nus of the Busi­ness Lead­er­ship Pro­gramme of Leap Africa. Email: akachi.ngwu@csinic­headng.com

Suc­cess­ful or­ga­ni­za­tions are driven by com­pe­tent peo­ple, ef­fec­tive sys­tems and pro­cesses, as well as good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance. As such, Nige­rian out-of-home (OOH) ad­ver­tis­ing firms who must com­pete in a rapidly-chang­ing world need to re­think their strate­gies with re­gard to pro­cesses, busi­ness of­fer­ings, and gov­er­nance prac­tices to be com­pet­i­tive.

The com­pet­i­tive­ness of a firm can be de­scribed as the abil­ity of the firm to of­fer com­par­a­tively good or bet­ter goods or ser­vices that meet the qual­ity stan­dards of a given mar­ket – and pro­vide ad­e­quate re­turns for its share­hold­ers. The abil­ity to be com­pet­i­tive is driven by a set of or­ga­ni­za­tional prac­tices, dy­namism and op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency. The race is on in the OOH in­dus­try, as var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions ex­pand their port­fo­lios to be at the cut­tingedge.

With in­creased adop­tion of tech­nol­ogy by con­sumers, ad­ver­tis­ers and prac­ti­tion­ers in the OOH in­dus­try need to im­prove their work pro­cesses and ser­vice de­liv­ery to meet the de­mands of the mar­kets. Whether we like it or not, tech­nol­ogy has be­come part and par­cel of mod­ern life. Or­ga­ni­za­tions need to un­der­stand and ap­pre­ci­ate the im­pact of tech­nol­ogy in work­flows, task as­sign­ment, com­pet­i­tive po­si­tion­ing and client ser­vic­ing. This will help in de­ter­min­ing or­ga­ni­za­tional per­for­mance.

Tech­nol­ogy is en­hanc­ing the way busi­ness is done, but it could also be a threat to or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­dus­tries that fail to adapt to tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tions. The OOH in­dus­try is not im­mune from the cre­ative dis­rup­tions tak­ing place in other in­dus­tries. For in­stance, the ubiq­uity of the in­ter­net has dis­rupted the print me­dia in­dus­try. Also, Uber, an on­line trans­porta­tion net­work com­pany, is dis­rupt­ing the tra­di­tional busi­ness model of taxi­cabs.

One of the dis­rup­tions in the ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try is a new app, AdWal­let, which has a busi­ness model struc­tured around pay­ing con­sumers for watch­ing ads on their phones and mo­bile de­vices. AdWal­let gets clients to place their ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns on the AdWal­let web­site. The process of cre­at­ing the ad­vert is sim­ple. Users then watch the ad­vert and get paid af­ter an­swer­ing an adrelated ques­tion. For ev­ery 30-sec­ond ad­vert, a user makes 50 cents, while AdWal­let gets paid 50 cents. The user re­ceives an ad­di­tional 25 cents for shar­ing the ad­vert on so­cial me­dia.

Users can re­ceive their pay­ment when they have $10 credit. Con­sumers un­dergo a process of reg­is­ter­ing on AdWal­let web­site and when­ever there is a new ad­vert, they re­ceive a text mes­sage in­form­ing them that a new ad is ready for view­ing. The app is cur­rently op­er­a­tional in New Mex­ico, United States.

In­deed, as growth in ad­ver­tis­ing bud­gets slows in Nige­ria amid a weak macroe­co­nomic en­vi­ron­ment, tech­nol­ogy ap­pli­ca­tions can be­come crit­i­cal in help­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions cut cost, while en­hanc­ing ef­fi­ciency. But high lev­els of in­no­va­tion and skills are re­quired on the part of prac­ti­tion­ers to lever­age tech­nol­ogy and be com­pet­i­tive.

The uti­liza­tion of the In­ter­net of Things (IoT) in out­door ad­ver­tis­ing in­fra­struc­tures has reached an ad­vanced stage in the de­vel­oped economies, par­tic­u­larly in the U.S mar­ket.

For ex­am­ple, Clear Chan­nel Out­door, an OOH ad­ver­tis­ing com­pany, launched an out­door mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form, called RADAR in 2016. With the launch of RADAR, Clear Chan­nel Out­door uses ag­gre­gated mo­bile data to pro­vide clients with in­for­ma­tion on con­sumer be­hav­iour. The data helps com­pa­nies un­der­stand where their clients go and the best OOH lo­ca­tions to reach them.

Big data an­a­lyt­ics helps or­gan­i­sa­tions to bet­ter un­der­stand mar­ket trends, cus­tomer pref­er­ences and use­ful in­for­ma­tion that can help them make more in­formed busi­ness de­ci­sions. The im­por­tance of data to mar­ket­ing cam­paign projects was re­cently brought to the fore by the first fe­male and newly-elected Pres­i­dent of Ad­ver­tis­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (AD­VAN), Fo­lake Ani-Mu­muney. Ac­cord­ing to her, data is crit­i­cal to achiev­ing good re­turns on in­vest­ment in mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion as it en­ables proper me­dia plan­ning and buy­ing. With­out ad­e­quate data-driven in­for­ma­tion, it's very dif­fi­cult to as­cer­tain con­sumer be­havioural trends and their im­pli­ca­tions for busi­ness.

Glob­ally, or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­dus­tries use re­search and de­vel­op­ment (R&D) to cre­ate new mar­ket of­fer­ings and im­prove ex­ist­ing of­fer­ings to re­main com­pet­i­tive. Tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion are cre­ations of R&D. Im­bib­ing the cul­ture of R&D at this era of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tions will help po­si­tion the out-of-home ad­ver­tis­ing in­dus­try in Nige­ria in line with global best prac­tice. Stake­hold­ers like AD­VAN, the As­so­ci­a­tion of Ad­ver­tis­ing Agen­cies of Nige­ria (AAAN), Me­dia In­de­pen­dent Prac­ti­tion­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (MIPAN), and Elec­tronic Me­dia Con­tent Own­ers As­so­ci­a­tion of Nige­ria (EMCOAN), among oth­ers need to ac­cept the re­spon­si­bil­ity to drive the process.

Sug­gested re­search and de­vel­op­ment ap­proach in­clude set­ting up a cen­tre for out­door ad­ver­tis­ing re­search by the pro­fes­sional bodies and reg­u­la­tors in se­lected Nige­rian uni­ver­si­ties. A pro­fes­so­rial chair could also be en­dowed solely for OOH re­search stud­ies. OOH is a sec­tor with huge po­ten­tial as demon­strated by its in­creas­ing im­por­tance in the mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions value chain. To fully har­ness that po­ten­tial and for the lo­cal in­dus­try to be glob­ally com­pet­i­tive, re­search and de­vel­op­ment needs to be treated as top pri­or­ity by all stake­hold­ers.

Akachi Ngwu

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