Stakeholders Differ On In-sourcing Arrangement By Clients

Udeme Ufot, APCON Chairman  John Ajayi, Publisher, Marketing Edge
Udeme Ufot, APCON Chairman  and  John Ajayi, Publisher, Marketing Edge

Business owners who hitherto engaged the service of marketing communication experts to launch their campaign are beginning to look elsewhere due to multifarious reasons. In this report, Olamide Bakareaggregates the views of key stakeholders on its implication for the industry.

Dating back to the early years of trading and other business activities, advertising has been a major tool needed to showcase product in a bid to drive volume of sales. As it is with product, so it is with personality. As at the last count, no less than eight arms of marketing communication now exists with each providing specialized service to many clients.
While this development has continued to be seen as good for the industry considering the employment opportunities it had created so far, the growing trend among clients where briefs are now handled in-house or at best outsource services of agencies on need basis may be quite disturbing after all. Although this trend has been on for many in global markets, it is however fast becoming the norm in Nigeria as many corporations are beginning to align with the direction.
Speaking on the issue, The Publisher of Marketing Edge Magazine, Mr. John Ajayi said such disturbing situation might not augur well for the industry, as it is likely to compound the woes for the economy if left unchecked.
He said “It is unhealthy and unethical to one of the APCON’s code. Of course, there are specialists or expertise that can do the job .So, if they do it on their own; it means that they are not following the laws and regulation guiding industry practice. I am aware that the development has been happening for a long time. They do all this by poaching people from advertising agencies, which may not bode well for the industry.
“The development is becoming popular because it does not allow for specialization. Besides, such development does not allow for growth of professionalism and the industry generally. The APCON rules in Nigeria frown against such practice. This development is becoming more pronounced because it is not unconnected with the fact that one of the big telcos, Glo, decided to toe that path. But at the moment, steps are being taken to change all that.
As a business, if you really want to do justice to your brands creatively, you need to engage practitioners. That is the law”.
Corroborating the earlier position of Ajani, another brand analyst who spoke on the matter, Mr.Ganiyu Olowu said it was wrong on the part of those clients to have taken such move saying that it could go a long way to hamper creativity leading to the crippling of the industry in its entirety.
Ganiyu said “If the trend continues, it will reduce creative evolution and revolution of creativity within the integrated marketing communication be it PR, Advertising direct marketing or whatever. When corporations or client based organizations, which are the money power that drives the economy, harmonises or decides to accommodate the same function they have outsourced service to go into another industry for it to grow together, it would cause limited credibility.
You would recall that before now, what we used to have then is an advertising department that existed years back in the days of UAC. But now what we used to refer to as advertising department is now a more broadened department of advertising.  With time, we started having separation of functions, which arose largely due to creativity and evolution of integrated marketing communication.
In this situation, what we have seen is that expertise was developed overtime in the industry. In the past, media buying used to be part and parcel of advertising agency. But this is not so anymore”
“However, if clients decide to have agency within their agencies, i.e. the department that is dedicated for marketing communication, that will be considered as halting the business of marketing communication.
However, what we have realized is that they do embark on this to reduce cost in the short and long run. But on the flip side, it would halt creativity because when you allow agencies to think for your brand, there is high degree of creativity.
Overtime, we used to have advertising agencies, but these days we now have brand management firms which cannot do anything else apart from its core duties of managing brands”.
Expressing divergent view on the matter, the managing director of Relix Communication, Mr.Ikem Okuhu said there was nothing untoward in the action taken by some of the clients noting that it was the prerogative of businesses to determine what suit their best interest at that material time.
He said “Legally, it is not entirely illegal. If a company thinks that it cannot afford the cost of hiring an external agency, he may resort to doing its stuff in- house. But the reason why it could be considered unprofessional comes when they decide not to seek approval or vetting of the advert materials before exposure. It is not a new trend. It has always been there.
“Even advertising itself originated from corporate enterprise when the key players in the communication department, like Moemeke decided to quit to set up advertising agencies. That was at the level of UAC back in the early 80s.Some of his contemporaries also left to form stand-alone agencies. Advertising agencies originated internally before it got a life of its own.
Such trend has always been there. It is the function of the choice of the agency, the budget and the function of how robust the campaigns are. It is not new and not illegal provided it conforms to the APCON rules.

Also, it depends on the level of campaign. Take for instance, if you are doing a complex campaign and you believe doing it in-house is the right choice; it means you will be paying more as it would require a lot of personnel to create all the various manifestations of the campaign as opposed to engaging professional service firm who may cost less. Otherwise if the campaign is not complex, corporation may decide to consign their brief in-house in order to save cost.