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Technology

The Nigerian technology industry is at the cusp of what will be a defining moment in its existence. Rising rapidly from what has been a largely informal minute sector, the industry has now cemented its position as a major component of the Nigerian economy and a strategic driver of activity, growth and innovation in several allied sectors.

A review of the results from the 2013 rebased GDP exercise revealed that the technology industry as captured in the telecoms and ICT component accounted for 9.6% of GDP and was the second largest contributor to GDP growth after Trade and Manufacturing.

Being a fast cycle industry, operators are constantly uncovering and setting new trends, deploying innovative and evolving business models and constantly challenging the status quo. In the technology industry, the ability to spot opportunities whilst instituting the capabilities and cultures that make for sustainable businesses and ensuring that maximum value is being delivered to the consumer at every turn is critical.

Sawubona works with clients in this fast-pace industry where change is the only constant to uncover, make sense of and take advantage of emerging opportunities whilst providing them with the expertise, experience and support to institute the capabilities and disciplines that make up sustainable and value-creating enterprises.

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Acquiring Digital Estates (ADE) is a Digital Media Agency, setup to take advantage of opportunities in Nigerian marketing communication space.

Startup Planning: Sawubona developed a business plan for ADE, highlighting the dynamics of the market and competitive space, key success factors, an organisational model, and enterprise revenue models.

The startup plan was used by the business for its Series 1 capital raising.

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Nextworks, a technology service provider decided to improve its operational efficiency by streamlining its reporting structure, and optimising its human capital.

Organisational Restructuring: Sawubona was engaged to help the business achieve these objectives. Consultants carried out people and process audit and based on the strategic objectives of the organisation, developed a new organisational structure and new and more efficient reporting lines for the organisation’s processes. For people optimisation, Consultants developed job descriptions, key performance indicators and people appraisal system.

Client experienced improved people commitment, reduction in activity throughput and better customer engagement.

Concept Unit Group

Concept Unit is an investment holding company with interests in Advertising, Public Relations, Digital Marketing, and Media Consulting. The company decided to leverage the power of technology to make its portfolio more valuable.

Business Growth Planning: Sawubona was engaged to advise the Group on expansion opportunities. Working closely with the client, Sawubona explored a couple of business opportunities in mobile entertainment. Client and consultants finally settled for mobile gaming and Sawubona developed a business and project implementation plan. This included capital structuring, business model development and organisational planning.

Sawubona is currently working with the client as equity partners in the development of a mobile gaming startup. The company is expected to start operations in H2 2015.

“Sawubona has been responsive and professional in dealing with us. We believe that they offer a strong and distinctive expertise in supporting SMEs from a business strategy point of view. They also are embedded in the ecosystem of startups and new ventures, hence they tend to know what talent can be tapped upon as a complement to their offer. We will not hesitate to recommend them to any SME type organization that needs business advisory support.”

Kelechi Nwosu, Managing Director, TBWA\Concept

Expert View

Companies can Deploy Digital Marketing to Scale Fast

Michael EbiaMichael Ebia is the co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Acquiring Digital Estates (ADE). In this interview with Sawubona, he explores the tremendous growth opportunities available to companies who skilfully deploy digital marketing.

What is your assessment of the Digital Space in Nigeria in 2014?

It exponentially grew in terms of users and audience across platforms. The growth of Web 2.0 (which enables users to publish and exchange content online) in our digital space can be attributed to this growth. Social media platforms such as Instagram and twitter are still potent tools used in Nigeria for promotion and advertising in literally every industry. A recent paper revealed that 70% of business organizations in Nigeria are embracing social media to communicate with their customers while 30% are yet to see the promises that these new media hold. That’s quite impressive, I’d say.

Also in terms of investment growth; the Digital space has also experienced massive investments in millions of dollars especially in the e-commerce sectors.

Digital businesses generally experienced a greater boom this year especially in advertising and marketing; however there’s still a relatively low spend in areas like development (apps, web, platforms) and production (videos, interactive); as the big spenders still look to South Africa and India for some of these services and expertise.

Quite remarkable also is the improvement in digital skills in Nigeria. I personally believe we have more professionals in the industry than the previous years; from web, email, social and managerial roles. This is quite evident in the quality of digital projects and campaigns executed in Nigeria (even across West Africa) by Nigerians; as well as the quality of digital and technology conversations happening on blogs and social sites.

Additionally, there have also been more training on technology and digital marketing in recent months by credible organizations such as Google and Wild Fusion.

Small businesses are critical for employment generation. How can digital provide an opportunity for small businesses to scale fast?

I’d call this term R.A.C.K, which represents Remote working, Collaboration (on projects) and affordable (smart) marketing/advertising. Digital makes this literally a no-brainer. Virtually every industry in Nigeria can leverage on one or two of these concepts.

Acquiring Digital Estates (ADE) has successfully delivered great projects for top clients in the past months leveraging on these concepts. For example, we haven’t spent more than a quarter of a million in marketing in the past four months. Digital made that possible.

SMEs in Nigeria can scale really fast when they learn how to ‘R.A.C.K’ it up!

One of the most significant dilemmas for digital marketing is the question of the primacy of content and channel. From your experience in the Nigerian digital space, should businesses focus more on content than channel?

Yes. A big YES. Businesses should focus on content. Content is the soul of the web. Content for digital/online marketing is like blood to the human body. I’d like to describe ‘channels’ as the human body parts. They cannot function effectively without a constant, timely supply of blood (content).

Just like blood, great content needs to be fluid enough and flexible. Great content works or can be adapted easily on almost any channel.

Very few Nigerian businesses have a comprehensive content strategy; that’s why it always looks challenging executing digital marketing initiatives. However, 2014 presented us with some really great content coming from the banking, fashion and entertainment industries.

What’s the use of having thousands of followers or fans or audience on social channels (even traditional) without engaging content?

In terms of measurement and evaluation of campaigns, how has the digital marketing industry been able to show direct impact of digital marketing investments on the bottom-line?

I think this is still poorly done, from the marketing managers and digital marketers.

Marketing managers still don’t fully understand the workings of digital marketing so they do not always demand rightly, in terms of expectations and conversion. For example, it’s out of place for a manager to expect ‘direct sales’ from social media engagements. What should be expected are KPI’s such as leads, referrals, and enquiries.

Also quite sadly from digital marketers, as the more we can show Return On Investment (RoI) on digital marketing there will be a massive boom in digital spend in our country.

What do you think will be the critical elements of a winning digital marketing strategy in 2015?

There will be quite a number of elements, considering the fact that it’s an election year as well. Quite critically, Nigeria’s economy and business reality is forcing executives, marketing managers, and even governments to adopt a new way of thinking. And this has increased the number of briefs received by digital marketing agencies in recent years.

To have wining digital strategy for 2015; the objective for digital marketers and managers should be to prepare to engage the hyper-informed Nigerian. They are value-driven, opinionated, and knowledgeable, have spending/purchasing power and have an audience. This will place new demands on brand managers and pressures on businesses. Businesses will have to embrace new and fresh digital marketing strategies, probably change their digital agencies.

I believe any winning digital marketing strategy for 2015 will have to be able to engage and speak to these people in their digital ecosystem, in a language they can relate to.

To effectively deliver this demand, these are my top five critical elements. I believe these will be most critical and commercially important.

One is content marketing using YouTube, videos and communities. Another critical element is marketing automation, using Facebook lookalike audience, re-marketing online ads, behavioural email marketing, and smarter advertising networks. A third element will be mobile marketing on mobile sites and applications. Big Data will be my fourth focus area, with recent and locally relevant data-driven marketing. Finally, I will say social media marketing using Facebook new newsfeeds and new Twitter services for businesses.

Businesses Must Realise that Mobile is now the ‘Big Screen’

Bayo-PuddicombeBayo Puddicombe is the co-Founder of Pledge 51 and Chopup, both leading mobile gaming platforms in Nigeria. In this interview with Sawubona, he sheds light on business growth opportunities in mobile gaming.

How much evolution did the game technology industry see in 2014?

A lot has changed since last year and one of the major factors has been the significant uptake in mobile gaming across all user segments as smart phone penetration continues to grow. Mobile devices are gradually becoming the primary means of entertainment for a significant portion of the populace. People are only just beginning to realize that the small screen is becoming the ‘Big Screen’

Has the industry gotten to a point where it is seen as a competitive advantage organizations can leverage for not just marketing, but operations management?

Organizations (specifically brands) are gradually waking up to the fact that gaming provides a significant opportunity to engage with their customers. Operations management however is a different kettle of fish. Although take up in Nigeria has been low, if not almost non-existent, some organizations overseas have been able to successfully use principles of video game mechanics i.e. Gamification, to encourage desired behavior amongst their stakeholders like staff and vendors.

How viable is Gamification as a competitive strategy?

A lot of businesses have taken a strong look at how to incorporate Gamification into their core products/services especially for if they are consumer facing. If you take a careful look at leading social networks today i.e. Facebook and Twitter, the core mechanics behind how they operate revolve heavily around Gamification based principles.

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