Activities in the experiential sector in Nigeria had been projected by analysts to be on the low side in the early part of 2019. This was blamed on the general elections which was earlier scheduled for the 16th of February. Expectedly, brands and organisations had adopted a ‘waiting posture’ until after the elections with a view to seeing what the external environment would portend. Now that the elections are more or less over, It remains to be seen what exactly 2019 will offer an industry in dire need of sustenance.

"92 percent of brand-side respondents believe integrating experiential marketing within the overall sales and marketing funnel is imperative to their success."

The experiential sub-sector, just like other sectors depend on the larger economy for their sustenance. Kayode Olagesin, Managing Director of Town Criers looks at it this way: “Everything we do depends on the larger economy. If the economy grows, it means more volume for activities, transactions, more value for the country. At the end of the day, we will have more clients doing more activities and it cascades down.

“But if the economy is slow, you will see that clients will also adjust accordingly. My advice is for everyone to closely monitor what is happening in the economy, look at any key projection the government has made. One of these key projections is the fact that the oil benchmark has been placed in 60 dollars per barrel. If our prices stay at that level and above it should be good for us. If it comes below, then there is a problem. If the government is not able to achieve its revenue projections in terms of oil and non-oil, our budget deficit will grow bigger. All of these things have an impact on us. But we are optimistic that the election is happening early in the year, we are hoping that it will go smoothly, a winner will emerge and whoever loses will concede defeat so that we can all move on.”

The Experiential Marketers Association of Nigeria, EXMAN, has through its President, Kehinde Salami, indicated its preparedness for the coming year. The association has also entered a yet-to-be-disclosed partnership with Stanbic IBTC bank in preparation for the ongoing year.

“EXMAN is really more about efficiency operation this year, it is about consolidation of the gains of the past and it is about charting new territories in terms of areas we have not been active in like the public sector-government parastatals, NGOs, financial services and technology space. Those are the areas I am expecting our members to focus on in 2019 and beyond.

“We are also looking to focus more on digital, because there is now the online experience. Experiential has gone beyond offline to also now include digital. What we are doing offline, must find a way to travel online. So, I am hoping that the collaboration on digital and the infusion of digital will lead to a better experience and amplification of our offerings,” he had said.

2019 future looks bright for experiential marketing in Nigeria as more and more clients are seeing more and more reasons to engage the consumer. However, agencies will need to continue to prove their worth and develop new and improved ways to give clients the best value and ROI for their investment. And it’s this investment that will be scrutinised more than ever, with clients wanting more from their money, marketers will need to be smarter looking at improved ways of spending clients’ budgets and making them work harder, adding greater value to the client and consumers lives.

Recent times have also seen what appears to be a movement away from technology, both from a consumer perspective and from a business spend. People appear to be more conscious of spending all their time looking at mobile phone screens and not appreciating the here and now, with an increasing popularity in taking a digital detox. From a business point of view, online advertising spend has become fraught with uncertainty, with issues such as increasing cost due to higher competition, ad fraud and algorithm changes affecting performance. This all helps to strengthen the role that experiential and live events have to play in the marketing mix. Get it right and businesses can expect to form deeper and more personal relationships with their consumers.

Looking more closely, two shifts that will impact 2019 are: Creative technology integrated into experiences. This is interestingly in line with what the EXMAN President said the association will be focusing more on, in the course of the year. Owned IP; agencies and brands that create their own IP become the master of their own destiny and allow multiple revenue streams and engagement models across all touch points, giving consumers the very best experiences that drive advocacy and leads to sales.

Recently, AgencyEA, a global full-service brand experience agency, announced the findings of its second annual research study on the state of experiential industry. The industry-wide study also takes an in-depth look at the anticipated tren