Marketing Manager, Optimum Exposures Limited, a leading out-of-home company, Lucia Akinwolere, spoke to Raheem Akingbolu on the place of marketing in today’s business and how Optimum Exposures is redefining the outdoor market through cutting edge technologies. Excerpts:
What is the place of marketing in the out of home industry?
Beyond the out-of-home industry, marketing is important in any business and organisation as a driving force to drive sales and improve on the bottom-line. In today’s world, the role of marketing in organisations is too important to be ignored. Large and small organisations are today competing for the same market and the most innovative and proactive have emerged victors.
As a result, a company’s survival is dependent upon their wise marketing efforts coupled by financial operational among other functions within their structure. In the out-of-home industry, marketing is important in the area of conceptualisation of strategies through which clients would be attracted into the various sites to market their products and drive their campaigns.
Marketing plays a huge role in increasing the market share of any organisation, including the out of home industry. It helps to reassure the existing clients and bring in new businesses. In short, the job of marketing cannot be underestimated because it concerns with increasing the market share monthly, quarterly and all year round.
Why should brand owners or government agency go for out-of-home in place of other tools of marketing?
Every brand owners and even government are out to engage their target audience on their way to the office, on the street and in the market. Like I used to say anytime an issue like this comes up, it is only through the outdoor platform that constant reawakening can easily be achieved.
This is possible because out-of-home advertising is the only platform that reaches the consumers while they are outside their homes. Out-of-home advertising is focused on marketing to consumers when they are “on the go” in public places, in transit, waiting or in specific commercial locations, such as in a retail venue. Today, we have various forms, there are digital platforms and there are static ones that stare at consumers on the roads.
It helps you to showcase your products to the public. It is like a reminder as it keeps telling the story every second. There are situations when some people will pass a particular place several times in a day and the outdoor platform register the product in their mind as many times as they pass. This will result and translate to patronage of the advertised products and eventually increase the bottom-line of the business. From any angle one chooses to look at it, marketing shapes the image of an organisation and how people perceive the products or services. It indeed gives organisations and consumers the confidence about their products or services.
The industry is advancing globally, with many of the still sites giving way to digital platforms, how can you describe the local industry adaptation to this new technological trend?
You will agree with me that even though Nigeria is just coming up in the area of digital, the fact remain that we are catching up well with the global trend. Today, when you look around, you will discover that Nigeria parades an array of digital platforms that can match what is obtainable anywhere in the world. Every day, the industry is advancing. It is common now to get to a particular place where there was a static board few months or years ago that have transformed into digital platform. Now, the awareness is getting stronger, people don’t just want to see their campaigns on a still platform; they crave for something interactive and engaging. Migration to digital is a gradual process and we are moving fast and better than we were a few years ago.
Compared to other tool of marketing, why should a brand manager go for out-of-home?
Like I said, out-of-home is like a reminder in the advertising industry. For instance, when a commercial is run on television or aired on radio, consumers will not make an instant decision based on that but through a constant reminder platform as provided by outdoor, such a consumer will have a change of mind and make a decision to buy. That is why every brand owners need to engage the out-of-home to keep consumers on their toes by reminding them on the need to buy a particular brand.
How is Optimum Exposures tapping into technology to advance its operations in the Nigeria market?
For us here, we have been able to toe the global line by upgrading most of our static platforms to digital. For instance, we have one at Adeniji in Lagos here, which we called ‘lion’, which is so far the largest platform in the sub-Sahara Africa. Again, we have a new upgrade coming up soon, which is going to be bigger than the one in Adeniji, that will be called ‘elephant’ because of its size. Elephant, as we all know is the biggest animal that one can think of. Beyond Lagos, we have gigantic digital boards in Onitsha, Port Harcourt and Abuja, more are coming. Another way, we are tapping into this is by partnering a global digital agency –Daktronics, an LED supplier that is reputed to have conceptualised the best sites globally, to serve our clients better and give them more values for their money.
Can you please give an insight into the Unique Selling Points of the company’s new board?
Like I said, the shape of Elephant is massive, towering and big. Now, talking about this platform, it is going to be the smartest billboard in the sub-Sahara Africa. It is not only the fact that it is the smartest but the fact that it is interactive and easily connects consumers. Advertisers can easily connect it with their websites and feed on it. It can be linked with the twitter account and consumers can also be engaging in live tweeting with the platform at home and in the offices. At every step, these brands come up on the board, live tweet comes up with it and instagram are connected to it. Brands can have live events they want to project on it. In short, it is not only interactive but it is also dynamic and engaging. The size is 600 square meter and it is in a prime location on Eko bridge. Another advantage is its closeness to market –the popular Apongbon market which will also encourage huge traffic to the site.
Let me quickly add this, aside helping advertisers to grow their brands, the board can also be seen as a Corporate Social Responsibility platform, provided by our agency to serve the public. On the board is a displaced clock that will serve the public. There is also a slot there that will be updating the public on weather at every point in time. Another thing is that it has an information display. For instance, if there is fire outbreak in a particular place, the board will inform the public and relevant agencies. Therefore, beyond what it does for brand owners and consumers, it also serves members of the public in various ways. What this tells us is that there is something for everybody that looks at the board for various reasons.
Can you share the feedback on the board as you market it to existing and potential clients?
We have introduced the board to a number of organisations and the response has been positive. As I talk, corporate entities, like Globacom, First Bank, Hennessy and many others have all shown interest to come on the board. Generally speaking, premium brands have seen the value in this premium board because of the value it can offer. They have seen that it can help them connect the massive segment of the society and so they are willing to come on board. There is no brand manager we demonstrate it to that has not taken interest because it speaks to all demography of the market; the youths and the old. It is out to give value to the clients and serve the high segment of the market.
Now that competition has escalated more than ever and as major inroads are achieved in the use of technology, there is a need for all brand owners to up their games. We make the board interactive because social media avenues have been incorporated by organisations seeking to capture the audience with their product and service offerings. Most of them have indeed attained much success and customers are more informed than they were a few years back.
In a nutshell, with the ‘elephant’ board, Optimum Exposures Ltd has taken out-of-home to another level. It gives total experience to consumers and it will help to build many Nigerian brands.