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Growing the Nigerian Marcomm Community Through Knowledge Sharing

Good afternoon Faculty member.

The subject of discussion is inspired by Tosin Balogun session on; The Value of Local Certification in Building a Successful Marcomms Career in Nigeria, Basamta soon to be released book ‘My Crazy Attempt’ and Ademola Adeshola comments on World Protogees day.

At the beginning!
Just like Tosin, marketing found me, enticed me to bed with her, and each passing day makes me see how being with her opens up doors of opportunities. My career in marketing started in 2011 after a friend recommended me for the Head of Web Development position in a fast-growing digital marketing agency. I resigned a few years later to start my agency alongside two partners; because we did not know the Nigerian marketing industry, the company soon folded up. I was left with two options, try again or get an 8–6 job. I chose the former.

What Next?
In our earlier days of starting over again, my partner and I decided to seek help hence the company fail like the first; we reached out to the MD of an established agency, the help never came. He saw us as a competition and did not want to help. We got the memo early enough and decided to seek help elsewhere. Unfortunately, there was nothing much to learn from the Nigeria space, those in a position to help, wanted to keep us at a level they can control our growth. In the digital space, only a few materials pointed us in a direction, when we seek to look further, we encounter a roadblock.

Since we could easily access resources around starting and growing a media agency in other clans, we subscribed to as many newsletters, attended several webinars and listened to podcast. Hubspot.com, Youtube, Slideshare, and Linkedin Groups became our GOTO place for data and needed knowledge as well.

How is our story relevant to the growth of the industry?
There is an African proverb that goes;

“When an African old man dies, a library dies with him”.

Why is knowledge-sharing important to the growth of the industry?
In our case, the lack of knowledge of the workings of the Nigerian marketing ecosystem resulted in our creating some problems for two of our client-agency partners. Also, we did not understand nor see the need for NIMN or APCON membership. To us, those bodies are for the big boys raking in millions in a single project.

  • There was also a lack of a proper mentorship structure available. A handful of mentors back then were mostly accessible through paid or invite-only programs.
  • Access to technology fueled by the lack of a working mentorship structure also made it easier for a whole lot of us young professionals to become independent too quickly causing more problems for the industry.
  • There was also the negligence of the Marcomms industry to nurture marketing talents, living every man to himself and no man for the industry growth.

The resolution… So how do we grow the industry through knowledge sharing?

  • Let’s build Community Clusters: In 2011, The Advertisers Association of Nigeria (ADVAN) through research discovered why most of its industry initiatives do not interest the younger professionals of its member organisations; launched its Peer2Peer Learning Platform, an informal gathering where Junior to mid-level brand and marketing managers can meet and greet as well as share knowledge.
    The Peer to Peer platform became a success. The election into ADVAN executive offices thereafter had more young professionals vai for available positions. It also helped increase its membership subscriptions and overall program engagements year to date. Following the success of the Peer2Peer program, ADVAN launched its CMO Forum for Senior level marketing managers and CMOs.
  • Let’s try the Digital Route…: Let’s build digital communities around marcomms interest. We can take a leaf from The Brief Faculty and create communities around interest points.

Why digital you might ask?

  • It’s a very relatable channel since most young professionals are digital natives
  • It’s a cheaper way to connect.
  • It lowers the barrier and helps mentors and mentees to be closely knitted
  • Unlike tangible resources and material assets, which can quickly become available to competitors, knowledge is a unique resource as it increases in value through use. Sharing knowledge will strengthen the MarComm ecosystem, improved working practices, give direction to young professionals and help older practitioners learn about new trends & technology fasters.

Taking a quote from an article I found on The Tolly:

“As people appear to be more willing to spend their valuable time to inform others when they experience a sense of “belonging together”, knowledge sharing can channel effective participation.”

When active participation is enabled and supported within a community, individuals share and combine their knowledge, and apart from having personal benefits, they are also contributing to the community’s greater worth.

Way Forward

  1. Let’s replicate “The Brief Faculty” across the different sector in the industry, Creative, Experiential, Digital, Media, Print, PR, Publishing etc I will leave this to the Senate to ruminate on.
  2. Let the mentors impress it on all marketing certification bodies in Nigeria to create a digital forum where young marketing talents can be nurtured. This is now very important and urgent!
  3. Make the ability to get certified easier and communicate the benefit to young professionals. Many young professionals don’t understand why they have to choose NIMN or APCON over any International certifications.
  4. Marketers need to tell more of their stories as we see the Tech founders do. We need more professionals to tell their stories but more importantly, we need the brand journalist/publishing house to amplify these stories.

And on this final note, I will leave us with another African proverb:

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together”.

Thank you
Victor’s presentation in a closed marketing group The Brief Faculty.

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