Lift-off for Marketing Federation

12 March 2003

The Marketing Federation of Southern Africa (MFSA) was officially launched on Wednesday, with some 250 government dignitaries, marketing opinion leaders and journalists attending a breakfast event in Johannesburg.

The Federation was established in October 2002 following the amalgamation of the Institute of Marketing Management, the Direct Marketing Association and the Association of Marketers, making it the most powerful marketing body in the country.

The MFSA represents some 600 corporate members, 3 000 individuals and over 7 500 students, and according to general manager John Arnesen, enjoys “a rapidly growing support base among members who comprise a diverse array of marketers, ranging from entrepreneurial start-ups to powerful multinationals”.

The MFSA has strong representation on industry bodies such as the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the Advertising Standards Authority, the National Postal Forum, SGB Marketing, the Marketing Industries Trust, and the South African Advertising and Research Foundation.

For the advertising and marketing industry, the MFSA is home to the prestigious Loeries, Raptors, Assegais and Tusk Awards, which respectively recognise advertising creativity, sponsorship marketing, direct and interactive marketing, and individual and corporate excellence.

A catalyst for change
The Federation aims to become the chief driver for change and transformation within South Africa’s marketing industry.

“While striving to become the home and voice of marketers in southern Africa, the Federation must also hold the torch for transformation within the marketing sector in the country”, says Jabu Mabuza, MFSA board chairman and CEO of Tsogo Sun.

Davy Ivins, acting CEO of the MFSA, points out that the pace of change in the industry has been slow. “Transformation, is not merely the obligation of government. Industry must become active participants and supporters of transformation initiatives.”

Ivins says the MFSA will be implementing an internal corporate transformation charter, and that it fully supports a transformation blueprint for the marketing industry.

Ivins has also committed the MFSA to making resources available for encouraging and monitoring transformational progress, to supporting the formation of a multi-disciplinary industry forum to ensure focus and change, and to provide more information and better research.

Although a large amount of work still needs to be done, Ivins takes encouragement from statistics provided by the MFSA’s education and training subsidiary, the IMM Graduate School of Marketing, which indicate that 57% of students are black and 49% female. He also states that of the 214 qualified chartered marketers – the highest professional qualification for marketers – in South Africa, 40% are black.

“This indicates that the face of marketing is changing, but there is still a need to sustain and add momentum to this process. The MFSA is well positioned to do this”, says Ivins.

SouthAfrica.info reporter