Economic Downturn Takes Toll on Marketing Communication As Practitioners Lament -

The last six months in the year 2016 has not shown a good sign for the Nigerian economy particularly with rising inflation figure. Even though at the beginning of the first quarter, there was high hope that things would take turn for the better since the new administration was ushered in with ray of hope. However, if there is anything that indicates that things may not likely improve, it was the delay in appointing ministers which some argued indicated a lack of unpreparedness on the part of the Buhari-led administration. As if that was not enough, the delay in the laying and passing the budget which took more than three months added more insult to the country’seconomic injury. Although observers believed that the passage of the budget would change what had been considered an already bad situation for the better, the policy somersault on exchange rate and lack of economic blue print was a clear sign that the meltdown may not abate. In the midst of this unfortunate development, several sectors were badly hit chief among which is the manufacturing sector.

Besides the fact that government policies have not helped in attracting foreign direct investment, the rigid nature of foreign exchange market has compounded woes for the manufacturing sector which had remained crippled in the last two quarters. For a sector like marketing communication industry which derives its gains from the manufacturing sector, this has not been all good news as the industry remains the worst hit. The marketing communication industry which comprises of sectors such as Public Relations, Advertising, Media Independent and Outdoor, no doubt, has gone through a lot of challenging times with many of them finding it hard to survive. Take the case of Public relations; with the exception of Brooke and Blake, The Quadrant Company, XLR8, BHM and fast rising Indigo communication which boast a number of accounts in their kitty, all other agencies appear to be struggling for survival. Like the case of PR, the advertising industry is also being confronted with teething challenges. As evidence that all is not well, the Association of Advertising agencies of Nigeria, AAAN had its recent annual general meeting held in Uyo delisted about few agencies.

Despite the challenging times in the marketing communication industry, some agencies in the different sectoral groups have remained at the top of their game churning out creative copies and winning multi million naira accounts. For Noah’s ark, it has been success all the way. Just few days ago, the eight year old agency won Heritage bank. At the moment, the agency sits atop a number of account portfolios some of which include Nigerite, Society For Family Health, Airtel and so on.

Apart From Noah’s Ark, Insight, DDB and X3M Ideas are other agencies taking a serious hold in the market with the agencies controlling the most lucrative accounts.

In Public relation, The Quadrant Company seems to have consolidated its leadership position in the industry as it currently warehoused major accounts leaving others to scramble for the rest. Besides Quadrant Company, agencies such as RedGecko, XLR8, Brooke and Blake, BHM, and Indigo communication are also taking good strides.

The outdoor industry, though presently challenged with regulation issue, has also had its fair share of success. Some of the agencies enjoying a good run over the last six months include Invent media, Media link and Optimum Exposure.

With the biting economic hardship coupled with the fall in oil prices in the international market, Nigerians agencies may continue to bear the heat. However, some stakeholders believed that government immediate intervention at this 5ime could help change situation and make the industry more robust as it used to be

In a recent interaction with former President of AAAN, Mr.Kelechi Nwosu, he had said that it was true that the industry was going through a hard time but pointed out that the pain encountered by the industry were largely as a result of policy somersault embarked by government especially with regards to foreign exchange which had frustrated the manufacturing sector.According to Kelechi, the impact of unstable policies of government had been quite huge on the marketing communication industry urging government to act fast.

On his part, the managing director of Noah’s ark who spoke with our correspondent recently, Mr Lanre Adisa said though the economy is indeed challenged, he is of the hope that things would take shape even as he urged clients not to cut their budget spend.

Also commenting on the state of the industry, the newly elected President of AAAN, Mr.Kayode Oluwasona said the last six months have not been good news to cheer as many agencies have had to lose businesses owing to the downturn in economy. He however tasked the government to reflate the economy saying such contribution could go a long way to affect other industries.


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