Dale Hefer. Picture: SUPPLIED
Dale Hefer. Picture: SUPPLIED

The Nedbank Integrated Marketing Conference (IMC) 2020 – in association with the Marketing Association of SA and endorsed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) – is taking place on the 19 March next year, with a specific focus on ensuring that marketing is given the gravitas it deserves.

It’s a challenging task, with marketers facing the fact that 800-million people are reported to have installed ad blockers on their devices, while advertising has been rated below politics as a trustworthy profession, this according to closing speaker, advertising veteran, speaker and author, Patrick Collister.  

Conference owner Dale Hefer, who took over its running in 2018, says she is determined to present noteworthy content that emphasises this year’s theme: “Marketing Works. Work It.”

The opening speaker, Andy Rice, will address this topic, saying that businesses have focused for years on other things – finance, logistics or operations – and few have put their brands first. He mentions companies such as Apple and Dove as industry leaders that have illustrated their ability to take the focus off the product and place it on the brand by putting the brand first from the outset.

Collister says it’s not all doom and gloom for the marketing and advertising industry, despite research which has revealed that 77% of brands would not be missed if they disappeared overnight. He believes brands can prosper regardless.

Collister’s closing address will cover seven actions he believes marketers should be taking. These being mobile, insightful and agile as well as social, innovative and collaborative, not to mention purposeful, in order to thrive in the current climate.

For Hefer, bringing marketing back to its rightful place at the boardroom table is also about promoting marketing and advertising as a viable career to young people in order to bring new blood into the industry. To this end Hefer last year launched a bursary programme together with MSC Education Holdings. 

Furthermore, discounted entries to the value of R100 000 were made available for young marketers of colour to attend the 2019 conference, with a further R100 000 being made available for the 2020 conference. Nedbank also streamed the conference live which students could view via Facebook. The discounted entries allow young black students to have access to top-calibre local and international marketers at a cost within their financial reach. It is exposure to this type of content that draws much needed new talent to the profession, Hefer says.

At the upcoming conference, two people will receive bursaries to study with MSC Education Holdings. The bursaries include a two-year National Diploma in Marketing and a 1-year FET Certificate in marketing. The courses are fully accredited and interactive. Those who are interested in applying can do so via the Nedbank IMC 2020 website (entries close on the 12 December).