Why NIMN does not resonate with Nigerian marketers, by Ralph Tathagata

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In the rapidly changing marketing landscape, the goal of every practitioner is to remain upskilled, connected and empowered as part of a community, a certified and functional professional body wired and strategically positioned for growth.

However, becoming a member of such a national, international professional marketing institute or body should extend beyond just membership for membership sake. Every member of a professional body is entitled and should experience a contemporary professional environment dedicated to nurturing and advancing their career.

In the event where an institute or professional body becomes moribund, calcified and dead to its constitutional responsibilities against the pressing demands of an ever-changing world and/or a profession like marketing, young dedicated professionals are likely to look elsewhere for membership or certification.


The National Institute of Marketing of Nigeria (NIMN) is the body for marketing professionals, engaged in marketing and related fields as marketing practitioners, sales and marketing directors, customer service managers, relationship directors and many more.

As part of its constitutional mandate, NIMN is expected to constantly and strategically set the stage for remarkable professional growth in the career journey of practicing and aspiring marketers in Nigeria, through trainings, workshops and other professional courses designed to elevate the marketing profession.

However, the burning unanswered questions making the rounds in various circles within the Nigerian marketing ecosystem are: Why does NIMN as an institute not resonate with marketers and other related industry professionals? Why has the membership of NIMN declined to a mere trickle in recent times? Is the institute being run and mismanaged by a coterie of few individuals who merely come together every election season, concoct a travesty called election and assume office just for ego trip? Why are a number of contemporary professionals in the Nigerian marketing space avoiding NIMN like a plague? Why do they readily present their CIM certificates instead of NIMN?

The CIM was founded in 1911 and currently has over 30,000 members, including more than 3,000 registered Chartered Marketers. It offers 130 study centres in 36 countries, and exam centres in 132 countries. The institute offers professionally recognised Marketing, Digital Marketing and Sustainable Marketing qualifications designed to develop the core skills contemporary practitioners need to succeed within the marketing industry. We are proud to have partnered with over 100 Accredited Study Centres (ASCs) across the globe to make learning with CIM more accessible than ever.

No contemporary marketing practitioner captures the decrepit and anachronistic animation of NIMN better than Ladi Ogunseye who wrote from Lagos. According to him, “On Saturday, the 25th of November, 2023, I conducted a poll on my X (formerly Twitter) account with the intent to find out the awareness level of the NIMN among young marketing professionals. I found out that only 20% of them have heard of NIMN before and out of this number, 85% do not actually know what they do while 15% confuse them for another professional body.”

What’s more, young and curious Ogunseye, who took it upon himself to read the NIMN Act, found to his utmost consternation that it was created in 2003 and hasn’t been updated.
“I’ve always opined that this country is the way it is because we’ve very archaic laws that are at best redundant. This NIMN Act was created in 2003 and, 20 years later, has not been updated to be in tandem with modern realities.

“For context, the CIM Constitution was last updated in 2016. This is why NIMN has struggled to do anything with the regulation of the marketing practice in Nigeria. To re-echo the popular mantra, NIMN is a group of old people who don’t want young people to grow nor care to listen to young people,” he added.

Also, a young member of NIMN who craved anonymity said that, while NIMN may be a regulatory body for marketers in Nigeria, its relevance in delivering value to new generation practitioners has diminished over the years.

In his words, “Since I became a member of NIMN about 5 years ago I haven’t renewed my membership because there is no perceived value. However, it doesn’t take away the fact that they are still a regulatory body.

“The nature of the marketing profession in Nigeria has evolved beyond the confines of traditional associations. Today, individuals can excel in their field without being members of NIMN, or any association for that matter. career success is not contingent on association membership,” he said.

While opining that the Nigerian professional community generally loves control more than influence, exertion of power rather than being solution-oriented, the young marketing professional noted that NIMN, rather than deliver on its corporate and institutional mandate, is busy creating problems where there are none, citing the MARKETING EDGE example.

A Marketing Professional who works with an FMCG group, Mr. Debola Awosepe was not excited about being associated with NIMN claiming that the institute is jinxed. Asked to explain what he meant by being jinxed, he said the institute is always involved in one crisis or the other, noting that no serious professional would want to associate with a body that offers no value beyond begging members for yearly subscription and not creating anything of value to members. Awosepe said he was already contented with the values he gets from CIM of UK where he belongs as a chartered marketer. Besides, he said as long as his employers do not insist on NIMN to determine his skills and competence, he said he does not see the need to jump on the boat of a group without a focus.

Inadvertently admitting the weakness of NIMN to attract a growing number of highflyer young generation of marketing professionals, the President of the institute, Mr. Idorenyen Enang stated in a public notice recently that only (3) three out of 20 successful marketers profiled by MARKETING EDGE are listed in the institute’s register.

His words: “The council hereby confirms that of all the names published, only 3 of the 20 names mentioned and purporting to be marketing practitioners are certified members of the institute”.

The question that follows from the institute’s practical confession of helplessness is that; does not belonging to NIMN which have no genuine values to offer these outstandingly renowned young marketing professionals invalidate their relevance, skills and capabilities at their various organizations and employment? The answer is a capital NOPE! That 17 successful young and up-wardly mobile professionals in marketing are not listed with NIMN but registered Chartered Marketer with CIM is a self indictment. This speaks volumes about the institute’s relevance and resonance in an industry that is daily evolving in the digital age.

“Sincerely speaking, the institute needs to do a rethink and re-strategise if it wants serious professionals to subscribe to it. For now, I am content with being a member of the globally acclaimed CIM, UK because I get values from it. As long as my employers are not insisting that my membership of NIMN is what it needs to determine my skills and competence as a professional, the rest is simple,” Awosepe said.

“Despite the fact that being a member of an institute like NIMN is important, we have heard stories of people who built a thriving career on the back of networking in some type of association.

“With the way NIMN is presently run, I fear that some people might even be looking up to as the new generations already have the same mindset of these old people who don’t want to let go,” he said.

Every young practitioner wants to be part of a professional body that elevates their visibility and support their career progression rather than the one that eclipses and retards their career. No professional in his right senses would invest his time and resources in an institute such as NIMN, which has adamantly refused to embrace the opportunities and possibilities of the technological age to lift the marketing profession out of the doldrums in Nigeria.

The Council of NIMN must come to terms with the reality that traditional institutions that refuse to innovate and align with the global paradigm shift and international best practices will atrophy and die. To worsen the case of NIMN, decrepit hegemonic forces who do not mean well for new generation professionals are tenaciously grabbing it by the collar, ready to die with the institute.

Little wonder rather than identify with NIMN, many Nigerian marketing professionals, especially the young ones flaunt their Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) certificates. Of course, no young and upwardly mobile professional would want to fossilize their career with a redundant institute.

Ralph Tathagata, a seasoned journalist and industry watcher writes from Lagos