Internet is the next frontier for sales and marketing – Ope Banwo (Interview)

ope banwoAhead of the 1st African Internet Business Summit taking place in Lagos and Abuja respectively in November, Business-Matter.com caught up with Dr. Ope Banwo, organizer of the event, to find out a bit more about his experiences and focus at the summit.

Business-Matter.com: Can we meet you sir?

Ope Banwo:  I am an Attorney, Author, Motivational Speaker and Business Coach. I graduated in Law in 1985 from Universoty of Ife and my masters degree from Unilag in 1986; and phd in Law in USA in 2012 I have been resident in USA since 1995 until I started moving back to nigeria in 2009 Apart from my law practice, I spend most of my time on empowerment and public interest matters as my ow contribution robot only empowering our youths but also healing companies properly position themselves on the internet

Business-Matter.com: Can you tell us what Africa Internet business summit is really all about and who are the target audience?

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Ope Banwo: The Afrinet Summit is a internet capacity building initiative to equip our local companies and individuals on cutting edge training, skills and resources for doing business and making profits online We strongly believe that the Battle of the marketplace of the future will be won by those companies and individuals who spend the time and energy to develop internet monetization strategies today. As any savvy observer would have noticed, the marketplace is rapidly moving to the internet as more and more customers and consumers spend more and more of their time and money online. Those visionary executives have recognized this are very interested in developing a viable internet business strategy to compete.

Business-Matter.com: What are the advantages and disadvantages of internet marketing especially in Nigeria?

Ope Banwo: Of course, Internet is the next frontier for sales and marketing and it is in the interest of every company to have an internet business strategy and learn how to position their brand online There are many advantages to having a robust internet business strategy. Some of these include 1. Ability to harness and engage new customers on the net 2. Ability to effectively promote your products and services to a bigger market at a fraction of the cost.

Business-Matter.com: What do you think are the top 3 major trends affecting online business in Nigeria?

Ope Banwo: The top 3 trends in my humble opinion are

1. The most obvious is Explosion in Social media awareness and participation by people though most still do not understand how to convert social media reserve to profits or make money with it even though that is a huge development abroad. Right now people just take pride in how beautiful their site is or how many people they have as fans but they are not sure how that should affect their bottom line

2. Explosion of affiliate marketing for local companies being spearheaded by shopping sites like Jumia.com and Konga.com. This particular development will be huge for nigerian business environment as more and companies understand the compounding that affiliate marketing brings to sales of products and services for their companies.

Business-Matter.com: What challenges can a beginner face when starting an online business in Nigeria and what are the possible ways to overcome them?

Ope Banwo: 1. The biggest challenge will be to remain disciplined and focused and not get overwhelmed because the amount of information out there on internet marketing is simply mind boggling. Without a mentor to GUIs you, most people get lost for years trying to make money online

2. Picking a niche- since the internet business is so wide, it is critical o understand how to pick the right niche to play in as a beginner. Most never make any money becos they never groggy about this and simply just do anything they think will give them money Having a strategy I believe is the biggest thing every beginner must focus on and get help from experts to do.

3. Another challenge may be knowing where and how to get things done I a very affordable way to be competitive. For instance to play online, you need a good, responsive and search engine friendly website but I groan when I hear the kind of prices nigerian web designers charge. Or when you think of promotional videos, Nigerian web designers charge about 10 times what you can get it done for on the net. So knowing where to go for your tools and services is key

4. Training – just like you cannot be competitive in any business without adequate training, newbies to the internet business cannot succeed without proper training and mentorship. I have come across some people who claimed to have been online for years but are not making money. Yet when you ask them some basic stuff about making money online they have no idea I think training is the most crucial component for success ad unfortunately that is an area Nigeria’s do not seem to value much. We believe in ‘kick and rush’ approach instead of a systematic approach to building a legitimate foundation based on a well thought out strategy

Business-Matter.com: Do you think Internet Marketers in US, UK and those in advanced countries where paypal as a payment method is not a problem, fast internet connections, constant power supply, etc, have more advantage over internet marketers in Nigeria?

Ope Banwo: Well it depends on how you look at ‘advantage’. Sure if you try to compete with the foreign guys on their ow turf and with their customers, they definitely have an advantage. However with a good strategy based on you focusing on your local market, you can eliminate that advantage. Just like I cannot possibly contest against the foreign pros on the USA market, I doubt that the best of them can outcompete me in NIGERIA Just like it happened when our musicians stopped trying to dig like Americans and instead focused on local rhythms and lyrics, nigerian internet marketers can carve out a profitable competitive niche for themselves. Our musicians now command more for a 10 mins performance than some of the offset names abroad becos they stopped trying to be like michael Jackson and instead chose to sing lyrics the nigerian masses can relate to. Whiz kid, olamide, dbanj etc are good cases in point So we must carve out our own platforms that works for us. Why complain about PayPal when we can improve on Voguepay; Simplepay4u etc? So instead of focusing on our disadvantages, I am a focus on my advantages on my home front.

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