In line with your regular claim of marketing playing a part in virtually all endeavours of life, and as a guru in the field, what marketing related suggestion(s) can you come up with towards the present burning issue of a much sort-after National Conference in Nigeria, now that an advisory committee is evolving modalities for its kickoff ? – Ambrose Eniolorunda.
I keep wondering about the guru bit that now seems to be gaining ground. However, may the Almighty God take the glory. I thank God also for this column as a medium of expression, as I am not sure if an opportunity will come my way for any direct participation at any public hearing (or even in plenary session as a delegate) of the National Conference. Nevertheless, I see President Goodluck Jonathan’s wisdom in yielding to the clamour of Nigerians for this as a master-stroke in marketing. Approaching this subject from two ‘marketing related’ angles, these stand out to me: (a) Briefly advising Mr. President accordingly, and (b) Suggest marketing the concept of a National Conference through inclusion of phone-in radio broadcast as a segment of its plenary sessions.
I wonder what else would ‘market’ the President more than a situation whereby he remained a sincere ‘facilitator’ of this much anticipated National Conference, by not going the deceptive ways of past leaders. We know that former leaders played “boju boju” (hide and seek) with such, and never ensured that honesty and government’s non-interference played out. Certifying a transparent and successful conference stands as number one marketing instrument for this president, as its fallout will be “The President That Made It Happen” becoming an enviable label for him subsequently.
My humble suggestion to this advisory committee is to recommend the incorporation of a phone-in national broadcast session on radio, as part of the National Conference’s plenary. This makes for a marketing platform to elevate the ‘confidence level’ of Nigerians towards this gathering. I do not have to be clairvoyant to decipher that there will be mass interest towards goings-on at this conference. Indeed very many Nigerians will be itching for any opportunity to make contributions – A GOOD IDEA CAN COME FROM ANYWHERE.
As everybody cannot be a delegate, I sense that a large number of Nigerians will be suspicious that delegates may not likely express and deliberate on all what the people indeed desire. This is why I advise that this committee should include this segment, which I term an ‘out of the box’ marketing approach which has not been applied in this country, to enrich this National Conference – A two times weekly, about two hours of direct contributions by the Nigerian public, through an integrated phone-in national radio broadcast programme, as a segment of its plenary sessions. Such will surely facilitate throwing up “what is really bugging Nigerians”.
It should be recalled that ownership of the mobile phone is almost everywhere; the reach of radio broadcasting is virtually the entire country, coupled with assured mass interest, and participation (all being essentials in marketing). Moreover, such broadcast format will make for transparency before the people.
Modalities for the radio programme
– It should be under the auspices of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON, taking the form of a phone-in radio programme that affords the public the opportunity to make contributions to specific subjects of discussion. This would no doubt give vent to the desires of so many Nigerians, who would be craving, but could not give-voice directly to the conference.
– The programme should be live, interactive and unedited. Subjects of discussions should be in conformity with particular issues currently being deliberated upon (or any other vital), on the same days that the radio programme is being aired.
– Involvement of BON makes for wider participation (through ‘Hook-Up’) by private, national, and states-owned radio stations.
– Programme duration should be for about two hours, having highly experienced moderators/presenters (male and female), from various participating radio stations, taking charge at different occasions.
– This radio programme should be aired during a time segment that encourages mass interest and involvement. 11am – 1pm time belt, on working days, is quite appropriate. However, the conference could determine any other suitable period within its schedule to ‘listen’ regularly to input from the people, through this radio segment.
Furthermore, callers to the programme should pick up the costs of calls. There should be no reverse charges, as a way of pruning the number of callers to some extent (and for the avoidance of public frustration from ‘jammed’ telephone lines). Contributions to it should either be in English or Pidgin English (the lingua franca of the grassroots). Commercial breaks should be provided for, during which various radio stations that ‘hook up’ can broadcast commercials of their local sponsors.
Who says this is not a sure source of huge revenue for radio stations, as sponsors (who identify this ‘gold mine’) would scramble to place commercials? If desired, various stations could repeat any of the day’s programme, as recorded/edited version, or make clips from such as news materials for the consumption of listeners within their coverage area. Attention towards such a National Conference, like the World Cup, is a ‘magnet’ for marketing, with obvious profitable outcome for its organisers, BON, all the participating radio stations; businesses that will use this as boost for promotion; and ultimately Nigeria.