The Nigeria South Africa Chamber of commerce webinar for February 2021 was held on 25th February 2021.

The marketing world is changing. Consumers are complex, and so is their data. With an AI-powered marketing platform, you can blend analytics with creativity to help transform both the customer experience and the way your team works.

Customer Experience (CX) has evolved to become one of the most important cogs in the wheel driving consumer acquisition, retention, and long-term business success for organizations operating across diverse domains over the past few years. The relevance and business implications of CX in today’s day and age have become far more pervasive given the new world order – as the world grapples with the ongoing health crisis, consumer and brand interaction is undergoing a sea change.

Today, personalization backed by digital and data-driven marketing models is becoming a more strategic, impact-driven exercise that now needs to be deeply embedded within the engagement fabric of organizations.

Direct Consumer mechanisms focused on ease of access, targeted messaging, specialized delivery rooted in a very specific understanding of the consumer will be key to unlocking long-term engagement with the consumer. These developments would mean an increased need for brands to own and invest in refining the entire end-to-end engagement cycle with the consumer – from gauging the intent and service/ product delivery to after-sales experience.

Brands that will move faster towards taking the required measures to directly reach out to their customers in times of need, prioritize their safety and inspire confidence backed by a technology-driven infrastructure will earn the faith of the new, evolving consumer. There will be a need to focus and develop strategies that address issues beyond the operational challenges and instead anticipate and act on the consumers’ need for smart personalization, emotional relationships, and value realization.

For brands to have a deep understanding of their customers, it is pivotal to have a peep into the customers’ behaviors, preferences, and needs, especially in today’s world where consumers have become more knowledgeable and dynamic.

The deployment of the right consumer insight tools would help brands build strong customer relationships that will eventually grow the value of the brands.

The above assertions were further discussed critically by foremost marketing guru, Seni Adetu, at the Nigerian South African Chamber of Commerce(NASCC) monthly webinar. The CEO of Algorithm Media & Ogilvy Nigeria discussed “Consumer Marketing in the New World” at the February edition of the webinar.

In a very engaging and intellectually exciting session, the former Marketing Director at Cola Cola reiterated the need for brands to be consumer-centric in the design and execution of their marketing strategies noting that consumer insight was critical for brands success at every moment of its journey as today’s consumers desire more than the transaction with the brand.

Adetu challenged brands to align with the consumers’ movement as he noted that “today’s consumers don’t just want a transaction, they want to experience”.

To contextualize the topic, Adetu discussed the African business environment, the role of consumers in value creation, and customer insights.

It is commonplace for an average business owner or executive to complain and groan about prospects and opportunities in the African business environment.

However, Adetu shares a different opinion. Having worked in the African business environment for over three decades, Adetu submitted that Africa, as an emerging market, remains attractive to investors despite the infrastructural, institutional, and financial challenges. He noted that its huge population is one of the reasons the continent has remained a choice destination for investors.

To buttress this assertion, he recalled the multi-billion naira investment of Guinness Nigeria in the beer market while he (Adetu) was the CEO at the foremost brewer.

In understanding the business environment, Adetu reiterated the need for brands to value the consumer, noting that “brands should understand consumer insights to grow value”.

Expatiating on consumer insights, the consummate marketer noted that intuition could sometimes be as good as insights.

Having had a successful corporate career that spanned his stints as the Marketing Director of Coca-Cola and Managing Director, Guinness Nigeria, Adetu cited instances of how consumer insights driven by intuition led to the successful campaign of the Super Eagles of Nigeria at the African Nations Cup in 2013.

Hear him: When I was the CEO of Guinness, the late Stephen Keshi (Chief Coach of the team) approached me for financial support for the Super Eagles, pleading that the team was cash strapped. This was a time no brand was willing to touch the Super Eagles with a long spoon.

Having missed out on two previous Nations’ cup editions before then, the team had become a ‘bad” product for brands to embrace. I took great risk as Guinness CEO to bankroll the team to the African Nations’ cup based on my intuition and we ran several campaigns across the country. We set up viewing centers for fans to watch the matches live at the viewing centers. The campaign resonated with many consumers of the brands and football fans.

He continued: As fate would have it, the team won the African Nations’ Cup and the involvement of Guinness in the Super eagle Campaigns became a national talking point. In fact, the first person the Chief Coach(late Stephen Keshi) demanded to see when he arrived with the trophy was my humble self”.

However, Adetu noted that there were times when customer insights driven by intuition could be counter-productive. He cited a campaign launched by Coca-cola under his watch as Marketing Director of the beverage giant.

“We launched a campaign to promote the consumption of Coke by women. Prior to that, we did research and noticed that few women consumed the product. We gathered our marketing team to proffer solutions on how to drive sales of the product among the womenfolk.

During the meeting, someone (a female) in the marketing team argued that the only reason why Coke was not popular with women was that there was no campaign to identify the brand with women”.

He added: To address this, we decided to organize a coke-sponsored football match between a female football team from Ghana and the super falcons of Nigeria. To our surprise, we discovered there was just one female on the fans’ stand on the day which incidentally was the female member of our marketing team that made the suggestion in our meeting. That was a case study of an insight that went bad”.

Quite significantly, every investment made is an opportunity cost as it was an opportunity to learn a lot from that experience, he noted.

Responding to a question on effective strategies for obtaining consumer insights, Adetu noted that the use of either quantitative or qualitative research or a combination of both would deliver good results. He reiterated the need for brands to embark on such research, stating that it will help understand the consumers’ journey and enhance a strong customer relationship.