Leveraging technology for competitiveness in OOH advertising
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.