Updated: Nov 1, 2018
Kehinde Salami is the current President of the Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria and Chief Ideas Officer at Ideas House a leading Experiential Marketing Agency. He shares his thoughts on challenges facing the industry and the Future of Experiential Marketing.
“Dearth of talent is a major issue facing the experiential marketing industry. As other sectors (eg telcos, multinationals, financial services) etc pay more, the experiential marketing industry has found it increasingly difficult to attract the right type of talent with commensurate attitude and staying power. ”
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF & HOW YOU BECAME AN EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING PROFESSIONAL?
My sojourn in marketing spans the best part of 23years. Having started my career in sales at P&O European Ferries and Timberlands UK working in the European Sales Team department, I then moved on to core marketing with specific focus on marketing strategy and customer valuation modelling at British Airways and Heathrow Express. In all aforementioned roles, agency integration and management was integral part of the learning exercise. In 2002, a return to Nigeria led me to join Tequila as Strategy & Business Development Director. This was my first taste of agency operations hence I finally crossed to the other side as they say. Being an experiential agency of repute, I cut my teeth in this exciting area of marketing till date spearheading Ideas House marketing Communications as CEO as well as current President, Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria EXMAN
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING?
Experiential marketing is that arm of marketing communications that enables brands the opportunity to create a relevant, specific and highly targeted sensory experience for shoppers and consumers alike with an important feedback mechanism across various unique channels. It’s the ONLY area of marketing communication that dials up all 5 sensory organs in every human being alive. Hence, Experiential marketing avails you the opportunity to see, hear, taste, touch and smell.
HOW HAS THE EXPERIENTIAL MARKETING INDUSTRY FARED IN RECENT TIMES?
For the Nigerian market of which I’m familiar, the industry has grown exponentially with many multinationals in high demand for experiential marketing solutions. However, as consumers have become increasingly knowledgeable with 20% of the nation’s telephony subscribers using smartphones (30m subscribers), there is greater emphasis on experiential marketing agencies to infuse / leverage technology for greater impact at scale
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES FACING THE INDUSTRY?
1. Financial Capacity to service multiple projects at scale. A well-structured experiential agency MUST have in place a financial plan of between 8-10% as either cash or access to cash at a moments notice
2. Skilled workforce – Dearth of talent is a major issue facing the experiential marketing industry. As other sectors (eg telcos, multinationals, financial services) etc pay more, the experiential marketing industry has found it increasingly difficult to attract the right type of talent with commensurate attitude and staying power. This volatility coupled with lack of adequate professional training programs is a major challenge facing our industry
3. Cohesion – Ego, individual rather than collective interests and low barriers to entry is another major issue facing the industry
Our industry still hasn’t matured to the point where individual companies merge to paint a bigger picture and share resources in a bid to drive down costs. Why would three agencies have separate rigs, warehouses, sound equipment’s etc. Still on cohesion, lack of it is why clients can continually drive down agency fees to its current low levels.
HOW ARE EXMAN MEMBER AGENCIES WORKING TO IMPROVE THE INDUSTRY?
Thankfully, we now have a collective voice under the banner of EXMAN, the industries association. Guided by its code of conduct and constitution, successive EXCO’s have tried to midwife the collective with far reaching results. Notable amongst this is that 46-member agencies are members and clients are starting to understand the need to only patronize certified member agencies via pitch etc. Other programs which the association has initiated to resounding success are the Brand Ambassadors Program, Training & Capacity Building initiatives, Somewhere in Naija portal to mention but a few
WHAT IS THE FUTURE OF EXPERIENTIAL?
The future looks bright with better understanding of the concept of shared values as well as full investment and integration in digital solutions which will greatly increase that much needed scale across geographies. In addition, if experiential firms can focus on staff skills attainment, maintain standards and sort out the current financial impediments, the industry can certainly look forward to greater success in the near future.