Is The Namibian Marketing Industry Efficient?

As a marketer, I have always paid close attention to marketing materials in Namibia. This includes out-of-home advertising, internet advertising and most significantly, print advertising.

Is The Namibian Marketing Industry Efficient?
Tyenimolo Leonard

As a marketer, I have always paid close attention to marketing materials in Namibia. This includes out-of-home advertising, internet advertising and most significantly, print advertising.


For starters, jargon is overused in most promotional materials.

Advertisements often read like affidavits. Namibia is a literate country, but we lack a reading culture.

In addition, marketing teams keep getting the fundamentals of marketing wrong. Every marketing medium has its purpose.

For instance, a billboard is much more efficient in delivering brand visibility whilst a newspaper and television are much more efficient at delivering direct response marketing.

Yet you will see that most brands are overly advertised in newspapers and that direct response materials are found on billboards.

This is one of the reasons why the majority of corporations have struggled to achieve success with their more recent products or services.

Furthermore, a large percentage of brand activation in Namibia usually involves people dancing or music only, which does not consider psychology.



One could argue that most of these corporations are only fortunate that there is no competition in Namibia, which explains this ignorance and lack of creativity.

If more competitors entered the Namibian market, it would be a very interesting scenario.

For example, If a customer doesn't go to bank A, they would  go to bank B or C.

It is therefore obvious that the majority of these corporations are only in business because there is no other option.

One as well wonders where this inconsistency and laziness comes from. Perhaps it also boils down to extreme cost cutting.


The need for marketers to be 'all-in-one' has had a disproportionately negative impact on marketing departments.

This is evident  by the fact that the majority of marketing personnel vacancies call for applicants with skills such as copywriting, graphic design, website design, social media content management and creation, photography and videography.

How do you find someone with all the aforementioned skills?

In essence, what these institutions are doing is asking Cristiano Ronaldo to play as a centre, striker, rightwinger, defensive midfielder, goalkeeper and referee in one game.

 Isn't that absurd?


The slogan 'Diamonds are forever' involves one of the most successful ad campaigns in history.

Due to the discovery of the majority of them in southern Africa in the 1870s, diamonds became more common.

De Beers needed a marketing strategy to fulfill their vision.

To sell more and bigger diamonds [people in the USA were spending more on low-quality diamonds].

To prevent people from reselling diamonds [Diamonds were already plentiful and hence had less resale value].

Give a purpose to people to buy diamonds [which should last long].

They hired NW Ayaer & Son Advertising Agency and a young copywriter called Frances Gerety came up with the tagline 'Diamonds are forever'.

Her job was only to write advertising copy.

She was not a photographer or an illustrator, as they called graphic designers in those days.

I would argue that if her agency asked her to be five-in-one with no specialisation, we would not have a Namdeb today.



Specialisation adds far greater value to advertising; one-size-fits-all marketing does not work.

Every person must bring their own specialised abilities to the table. This is where true alchemy is born.

“Human nature hasn't changed in a billion years,” declared Bill Bernbach, one of the greatest advertising people of all time.

Human nature will not change in the next billion years.

Only outward appearances are altered.

A communicator must be concerned with the constant consumer.

What compulsions drive him/her, what instincts rule his/her every move, even if his/her language conceals what truly motivates him/her.

Because if you know these qualities of a consumer, you can reach out to them at the core of their being.

The creative professional with an insight into human nature will touch and move people.

Without this, he or she would fail.

Today, marketers discuss social media and consumers' limited attention span.

They will create brief video advertisements for social media because they believe consumers have a limited attention span.

While this is partially true, it is not the whole story. The truth is that consumers are bombarded with an excessive amount of information every second, making it challenging to capture their attention if your marketing team is inexperienced.

The same goes for brand activation, which must be understood as experiential marketing where the marketer's ultimate goal is to leave a mark in the mind of the consumer.

This must immediately lead to a purchasing decision.

Suppose you are a financial institution targeting middle-class professionals and the constant music being played by the activators is amapiano.

For the majority of these people, the music is bothersome and is negatively associated with nightclubs.

As a result, the strategies used and a lack of psychological knowledge often do more harm than good to your company and waste marketing resources.

True mastery is understanding how to tap into the oldest drivers of human behaviour and harnessing them to achieve your goals.

In a nutshell, marketing is about specialisation and understanding human behaviour and psychology.

Tyenimolo Leonard is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Common Sense Advertising.