Interview

Many companies are still struggling with digital marketing says Elevato CEO

by Editor

January 24, 2017 | 1:05 am
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Marie-Therese Phido is the CEO, Sales and marketing strategist and Business Coach at Elevato. Elevato is a sales and marketing strategy, business coaching, branding and communication strategy organization with focus on growing clients’ business by turning aspirations into actions and results. In this interview, Marie-Therese who worked for KPMG and Deloitte both as directors believes that government really needs to work on Nigeria’s brand as the impression Nigeria leaves in many people is not always positive and this affects businesses.  Excerpts

How would you describe the business environment in Nigeria in 2016?

The business environment is challenging no doubt with the recession and currency free fall, but I believe it’s also a time of opportunity.  There is always a flip side of the coin and opportunities abound in times of uncertainty and adversity. The key thing for all businesses is for the people that run them to put on their thinking caps and innovate.

Assessing 2017, what are those factors that will shape the year for the industry your firm belongs to?

Several factors will change the industry this year. The first is the change in communication channels.  The art of selling and channeling information to buyers and the public used to be very much a one way affair and potential buyers often received such information at face value.  There were no conversations or opinions sought from the buyers and the organization controlled what it wanted the public to know about its products and services. Today, sales and marketing is about the value a firm can bring to the table.  The ability to help a business grow and increase profitability is what businesses want to see going forward. Not your list of services, they want to know how each service brings value. Data is another element, going forward, businesses will need to conduct more intelligent research to understand what organizations really need in order to provide customized solutions that will help solve their problems and move their organizations forward. Social media will become more relevant.  Many organizations do not know how to maximize their impact in marketing, branding and selling their products.  A lot of decisions are made online these days and organizations that do not embrace social media may be left behind.

What is the firm Elevato all about and what motivated you into establishing it?

Elevato is a sales and marketing, business coaching, branding and communication strategy consulting firm.  Our focus is to work with organizations to help them turn their aspirations into actions and results. A key element of our process is working with our clients and hand holding them till they achieve their desired objectives. I have worked in professional services for over 25 years and realized that there was no consulting business offering the full value chain of sales & marketing consulting in this market.  What I saw were organizations focusing on various areas within the value chain.  Elevato brings it all together from Strategy formulation to implementation. Elevato also has the ability to proffer technology, human resources and financial services by working with our partners to help solve our client’s strategic issues.  We are positioned to help our clients achieve efficiency, optimize productivity and enhance profitable growth.  In order to ensure this, we bring in partners in these areas to bridge observed gaps and proffer solutions. We offer this option especially as a part of our business coaching services.

Elevato is coming at a time companies really need such services you offer, but not just mentioning it, why should companies come to you?

Companies and individuals should come to us because of the value we bring to the table especially now that businesses need to differentiate themselves and ensure they do not become commoditized in this recession ridden era.  We have a proven track record, having worked with organizations locally and in the West African sub- region. Our results speak for us. Our hallmark is our commitment to delivering value to our clients. Companies want organizations that are committed and have a special interest in ensuring that they grow. At Elevato we are committed to seeing our clients succeed.

Could you let us in to your capabilities to deliver on your chosen niches?

The reason I decided to set up Elevato with its focus on Sales & Marketing is because of my wealth of experience in providing these services during my 25 years plus experience in working in this field.  I cut my teeth in KPMG Professional Services.  I led the Sales & Markets team for KPMG West Africa and was also the Clients and Industries Leader for Deloitte West Africa. The Services I take to my clients are ingrained in me and my team. Our vast experience and knowledge of the market place are a few of the reasons organizations find our experience and skills valuable.

Will you be focusing on blue chip companies and SMEs?

Our focus will be both.  We have services that can be scaled to fit each segment.

Generally, what risks and reputation issues do Nigerian companies face and how would they navigate through these challenges?

Nigerian companies face all kinds of risks.  We have financial risk, market risk, operational risk, reputation risk, etc.  One I will like to dwell on is reputation risk.  Nigerian companies need to take this risk very seriously as it can mar their brand and make the public lose confidence in their products or even companies.  A   recent example is the poor management of the FRC corporate governance regulation, which was potentially damaging.

It is said that a brand is as good as the country in which it operates, is this true of Nigerian companies?

As we all know branding is a perception.  It is the ability to create and leave a distinctive impression.  Many of us know that the impression Nigeria leaves in many people not informed about the promise the country holds is not always positive.  This impacts on the ease of doing business and the flow of foreign direct investments into the country, If you add the fact that many companies find it difficult to get external funding, there may be some truth about the saying that a country’s brand can affect a company’s brand.  The branding of Nigeria is a project that must be undertaken; it is a project I am a strong advocate for. There are many countries in Africa which are not as big or as viable as Nigeria, yet they possess better brand perception.  Our government really needs to work on Nigeria’s brand. It is of some consolation, though, that a number of companies have managed to shake off the negative perception of Nigeria’s brand and have been able to showcase their brands independent of the country’s.

Digital advertising is growing; do you think companies are getting the content right to resonate with the audience?

Many companies do not know how to use digital marketing; they are still struggling with it.  I have had cause to discuss with a number of CEOs about this disconnect, between their digital teams, products development and the ability to drive content aimed at projecting the company’s strategic intent.  Another observation is that the digital teams do not have proper training on how to optimize their activity in this space.  So a lot of capacity building needs to be done.  However, SMEs are using digital more proactively than established organizations.  Since, digital can reduce cost of advertising and marketing to a large extent, they tend to be a lot better at maximizing its benefits to add value.


by Editor

January 24, 2017 | 1:05 am
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