The Media planning and buying sector of the Nigerian Marketing Communications industry has risen to a level where only well trained, resourceful and knowledgeable experts could drive the business profitably. One of the leading lights in that sector is Dr. Tayo Oyedeji, the Managing Director of Media Perspectives Limited, the media planning and buying arm of the Troyka Group Nigeria. The doctorate degree holder in Media Management from University of Missouri, Columbia, USA was engaged in his Ikeja GRA office, Lagos where he spoke on a variety of issues. Excerpts…
Q: In the face of dwindling economy and shrinking budget by the brand owners, how profitable is the Return on Investment?
Nigeria is a vibrant economy as we all know and is the most important market in Africa. So, what that means is that both national and international brands are investing heavily in this market. Though things are tough right now but we can see the potentials. The return on investment is very high and possibly one of the highest in the world. This year has been tough because of the currency situation which has just been resolved with the deregulation of the Naira, that of course, will give investors more confidence to invest in the country. As we begin to see a more deregulated economy, we see more investments in the country.
Q: With the emergence of digital media space, how effective or impactful is digital media usage in rural areas?
We have seen that 80 percent of Nigerians are below the age of twenty five that means it’s a young market and people are excited about participating in technology. So, from Kano to Ogbomosho to Umuahia, you will find out that people are finding ways to go online. My mother is almost 80 years old, she lives in Ogbomosho, she is in the hinterland and she has a Facebook account that she monitors and manages very effectively and she uses Whatsapp. So, if in those places you are seeing that participation, though it may not be as high as Lagos. Lagos is where you have like 60 to 70 percent penetration of digital media but you will see it too in other places regardless.
Q: How effective is the traditional media, TV, Radio, Newspaper and Billboard in brand building compared to digital media?
What you find is that when you need to put the mass of people together, traditional media is the way to go because in one way or the other everybody moves around and see the billboards. Everybody listens to radio and watch TV in one form or the other. Digital is gradually coming close to 50 percent penetration, but what you will find is that with digital media, people that you can reach tend to have higher buying power. So, it is a game of numbers. When you put all of those together is just a combination of both, media never dies, media transforms to another form, so it never dies. When radio started they said books are going to die, now you don’t have to write anymore you can just speak. After a while TV came and they said that is the end of Radio because people can see, why would they just want to listen? And I remember a couple of years ago when digital came into existence people said TV is dead, but all will keep going in different forms and they will appeal to different types of audience.
Q: What are the challenges in the business of Media buying and planning in Africa compared to the rest of the world?
The biggest challenge is obviously the data problem, we don’t have strong data. I remember speaking to some of my colleagues in the western, developed countries and they could say that an advert on radio contributed 40 percent of the sales in that particular store. We don’t have that kind of data or they could say that everybody that is 18 to 21 years old is at least likely to be at this particular store at XYZ time. So, the more we can improve on level of data we have, the more we can do with media planning, I think that is the biggest problem. Also beyond that, there is that issue of transparency, that is one of the things we do at Media Perspectives, we open up our books to our clients because as we all know in Nigeria, there are lots of things that are not done the right way. So, clients are worried do agencies spend or buy rightly? We say don’t trust our words, check what we are doing and when you check you will find out that we are doing the right thing.
Q: In what way do you think the skills of media buying executives could be enhanced compared to their counterparts from other parts of the world?
It is lots of training. We are very aggressive in training. We are starting a two week training on digital media for all our staff. The more we can train people, the better they are as media professionals.
What you find is that a lot of business owners even agency owners in Nigeria are very focused on profitability, the more money we can make the better. The way to ensure that the profitability is sustainable is by ensuring that you are building value into your people, you are building value to the organization as a whole.
That is the difference between TROYKA Group and all the other groups. So, TROYKA believes strongly in giving value to people and the more we do that, the more effective we are as a business.
Q: Where do you see media buying and planning in the next five years?
In the next five years, I can make a couple of predictions as someone that knows the industry. I think the data landscape will improve; there will be better data in the market. I think one problem that would be solved quickly within the next two to three years is the monitoring problem which is monitoring and compliance to ensure that media owners are doing what they said they will do. The biggest one is the fact that digital is no longer a department in media agency; it is now part of what we do. Just recently, we restructured the entire agency and put the core digital team in the centre of the agency.
Recently, we encountered a couple of clients that are interested only in digital advertising. We are seeing a shift to that direction in the industry.
What are your hobbies?
I read a lot, I like technology and I play football. I play chess too.