when Sri Lankacrossed 4 million internet users milestone. In that post I forecasted, many companies will struggle finding the right digital marketing talent in few years’ time, unless they start training their marketing staff for the digital world.
Two years later, in a market there internet penetration is over 30% (with closer to 7.5 million internet users) the enthusiasm among company top executives for digital marketing is really kicking in. Comparatively to two years ago, today companies are spending almost double the marketing money on digital. This still doesn’t even come closer to at least 10% of their total ad money. But still it’s a significant growth for the digital ad industry.
With the ad spend on digital increasing year over year, the next questions most companies are facing today is how to find the right people to manage these ad budgets. Marketing staffs at most Sri Lankan companies are not fully geared to handle a serious digital budget. They survived with smaller budgets by simply letting their ad agencies to make decision; if t doesn’t work, it’s only a couple of hundred thousand rupees, so nobody really cared. But today, the digital ad budgets come in millions. We see lots of occasions where companies blindly spend almost 80% of their digital ad budget on some fancy rich media take-over on a local news website (and that are it! That’s digital).
This why every marketing department today needs at least one qualified digital marketer. Eventually, your entire marketing team has to be trained for the digital world, but starting with at least one recruitment specialized in digital is important.
On the other hand, companies should not appoint people as ‘digital marketing managers’ for the sake of filling that vacancy. It’s important to find the right people. Unfortunately in Sri Lanka, you don’t find plenty of people with real digital marketing competencies, because there is no single yard-stick to measure their qualification. If someone comes to an interview and introduce themselves as ‘hi! I am a digital marketing expert’, only method you can verify that claim is by counting the number of buzzwords he or she uses in the interview. Because, most interviewers doesn’t have the enough experience to gauge the talent of a digital marketer.
This leads in to many problems for the company. You hire someone to the post of ‘digital marketing manager’ and then that becomes your benchmark for digital marketing.
Within last six months I was approached by more than a dozen companies, asking for help in finding the right digital marketing talent for their marketing department. It wasn’t easy to find people. At the same time, our agency gets regular calls from headhunters to tap into the talent base we managed to build over a period of three to four years. It isn’t easy to retain good people either :-)
During the year 2016, marketing fraternity in Sri Lanka has to do some serious contributions to uplift the quality of digital marketing talent in Sri Lanka.
In 2013, our agency (Neo@Ogilvy Sri Lanka) signed a MOU with the University of Sri Jayawardenepura, to introduce a Digital Marketing subject in their final year. We have successfully completed three batches, and maybe this is one source your company can tap into when recruiting Digital Marketing talent. All 200+ graduates passed out in 2013, 14, and 15 were given a three months crash course type of a training in digital marketing.
Since 2012, I have been involved with eBusiness Academy to train more than 1,500 marketers in Sri Lanka for Digital Marketing. Most of these people were trained at one-day bootcamp sessions, but there were around 50 people who completed the six months certificate course offered by EBA. Due to the busy schedule of the people involved, EBA went inactive for quite a sometime, but we kept getting calls asking for the date of next certification course batch.
Now we have decided to totally revamp our courses and planning to launch a Professional Diploma in Digital Marketing in association with Sri Lanka Technological Campus (SLT Campus) in March.
This is probably the best digital marketing training you can give your marketing staff in Sri Lanka. We selected Sri Lanka’s most experienced digital marketing professionals; each specialized in their own area of expertise. Resource panel consists of myself and Suranga, and expert marketers like Rohan Jayaweera (former Googler), Gamika De Silva (former SLIM president), Manupriya Jayathilake (Google Analytics Certified Expert), Mohenesh Buthgamuwa (Mindshare Sri Lanka), Gayathri Seneviratne (eCommerce Manager for Jetwing), Chamara Peiris (UI/UX expert), Upeksha Premathilake (Google Certified Adwords Consultant), Milinda Tilakaratne (Manager eSales at Dialog Axiata) and many more guest resource persons. (Check all the resource persons profiles here)
This Diploma in Digital Marketing Course is an outcome of over one year of research and efforts by me, Suranga and Rohan and other resource persons are adding an immense value in delivering the course modules we developed by carefully benchmarking several international courses.
If you are looking for a good training program for developing the digital talent in your marketing team, check out the detailed courseoutline and make an inquiry here.
Our aim is to train and certify at least 70 good quality digital marketers before the end of 2016. This will be a real career booster for them, as the demand for qualified digital marketing professionals is increasing day by day.
InternetWorldStats.com has published the latest figures for internet users worldwide and according to them the latest internet penetration figure for Sri Lanka is 25.8%.
This is a total of 5,689,800 internet users in Sri Lanka as of 31st December 2014. Mind you, we are in the December of 2015 and these numbers are already one year old. If we apply a modest 20% year over year growth rate (YoY growth rate for Sri Lanka was always higher than 25% in past five years), we can expect this number to stand at 6,827,760 internet users in Sri Lanka as of 31st December 2015, which will be a penetration of 32% of the total population.
For last three years, I have been publishing an analysis about Sri Lanka internet penetration figures on my blog. Previously, I’ve blogged about when Sri Lanka reached double digit mark in internet penetration, and then I wrote this blog when we reached 3 million internet users in SriLanka. Last year I published a blog when Sri Lanka reached the 4 millioninternet users.
Here's the latest. Sri Lanka has officially crossed 5.5 million internet users as per International Telecommunications Union.
In all my previous analysis, I took InternetWorldStats.com and International Telecom Union (ITU) as my source of data. However the credibility of these sources was challenged by some people.
We live in a country where there is no proper institute carrying out research and surveys on internet usage. We don’t have ComScore reports for Sri Lanka, we don’t have eMarketer reports, no BuzzMonitor or anything reliable as an information source. Whatever the local initiatives we have here are far less credible and reliable than ITU and InternetWorldStats.com.
Central Bank of Sri Lanka reported, that the number of internetconnections in Sri Lanka counts to about 2 million end of 2014. If we apply an average of 3 people using one fixed line connection that will be roughly about 6 Million internet users.
According to Google Adwords Display Ads Planner tool, advertisers can target 5.5 Million to 10 Million unique cookies (a cookie is assumed to represent one person, but there can be duplication).
Facebook reports 3.5 million monthly active Facebook users in Sri Lanka. If apply the global Facebook penetration (to internet users) figure of 50%, we can forecast roughly about 7 Million internet users in Sri Lanka.
If we put all these sources of information on the table and take a look, we are seeing a number in the range of 6.5 Million to 8 Million as the total internet user base in Sri Lanka.
Where there is no absolutely accurate source, people may still argue the credibility of the estimations we come up with available sources of data. But, we cannot wait until all the systems become perfect to keep up with the rest of the world.
Implications for Marketers
In my 2014 post about this topic, I mentioned it’s not going to be easy for any newcomer to compete on Digital Advertising platforms. This will remain to be true for 2016 as well. Already we see the CPM rates are increasing on most digital advertising platforms, even though it’s still not as expensive as TV or Print. Engagement rates and organic reach rates on branded Facebook pages keep dropping; meaning just having a Facebook page for your brand is not going to count as a proper digital advertising tactic.
These changes call for one thing; that is better expertise in digitally lead advertising and marketing strategies and tactics. Your company cannot afford to leave the digital marketing decisions of your brands to a set of interns with IT degrees. It requires better expertise, strategic thinking and common sense. 2016 is going to be a complete red ocean in Digital Marketing job market. Companies will try to headhunt expertise from other companies aggressively, creating more and more demand for Digital Marketers in the job market. As a buddying marketer, are you geared to cater this demand?
“The books I've written have actually had three different titles, updated with the times. I started with Internet Marketing, then Emarketing and in 2012 renamed the original Internet Marketing book to Digital Marketing, about time too since I was involved in developing the syllabus as an examiner for the IDM Diploma in Digital Marketing back in 2004-5 when the term was hardly used at all - so it's been great to see 'Digital Marketing' adopted as the 'de facto' term!” (Source)
First, you have to enable traffic updates on your Google Maps app. To do this, open the app and slide the screen from left to right. You will get the detailed menu to enable different features of Google Maps and then select “Traffic”.
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I tested the live traffic updates while I was driving to work this morning and found that it is quite accurate. It shows the intensity of traffic jam in Colombo roads on a heat map overlay from green to red, where red being a high traffic situation. This is really useful to plan your route in advance. You can select an alternate route with less red areas in the traffic map, instead of the usual route you would take.
One thing to remember is, the map being red doesn’t necessarily means that the traffic is “jammed”. Basically it’s just an indication of ‘lots of vehicles’ in a particular area, and these vehicles maybe moving in a decent speed. It doesn’t mean the vehicles are in a stand still mode in a traffic jam. For example at this particular point of the route (see below screenshot) my car was moving at an average speed of 25Kmph. This is reasonably a good speed compared to the average speed of vehicles moving inside Colombo city limits during the rush hours.
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This can be a handy tool for Sri Lanka traffic police, if they really want to do something about the decreasing average speeds of vehicles moving inside Colombo city limits. Two years ago it took me only 30 minutes in morning rush hours to drive from Nugegoda to Barnes Place (approx 10 KM). Now it takes me average 45 minutes. If Sri Lanka Traffic Police deploy some qualified analysts to look at these stats, I’m sure they can come up with optimization plans for traffic in Colombo city, without just blindly making some random roads one-way.
I’m sure you might ask me the question ‘how does Google predict traffic jam?’. According to HowStuffWork.com Google Maps bases its traffic views and faster-route recommendations on two different kinds of information: historical data about the average time it takes to travel a particular section of road at specific times on specific days and real-time data sent by sensors and smartphones that report how fast cars are moving right then.
This is what Google has to say about how they do this.
“If you use Google Maps for mobile with GPS enabled on your phone, that's exactly what you can do. When you choose to enable Google Maps with My Location, your phone sends anonymous bits of data back to Google describing how fast you're moving. When we combine your speed with the speed of other phones on the road, across thousands of phones moving around a city at any given time, we can get a pretty good picture of live traffic conditions. We continuously combine this data and send it back to you for free in the Google Maps traffic layers. It takes almost zero effort on your part — just turn on Google Maps for mobile before starting your car — and the more people that participate, the better the resulting traffic reports get for everybody.” (Google Blog)Oh! BTW, with Google traffic updates now enabled for Sri Lanka, we will see real conversations like these very soon.
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So I’m sure you got a pretty decent idea about how Google Traffic Updates work on Google Maps. Next time you drive to work or back home, make sure to check the Colombo traffic updates on Google Maps. But please don’t use your smartphone to check the traffic updates while you drive! It’s better to get to where you want to go a little late, rather than not getting there alive at all.
I told you the news that EBA is planning to offer an attractive 2 in 1 deal for early registrants to the event :-)
Yes that’s right. You can buy one ticket to the workshop and bring a friend or a colleague 100% free of charge. This will be a limited time offer open for only a few hours on 14th October 2015, and only for a limited number of seats.
You can visit the page http://ebusinessacademy.org/workshops/2in1offer/ on Monday 12th October between 8.00am to 6.00pm and register for this exclusive deal. Yes, you are allowed to share the cost of the ticket with your friend but the payment for 1 ticket has to be made in full within 72 hours of receiving a confirmation of the offer.
Want to get notified when the 2 in 1 offer goes live? RSVP yourself on the below Facebook event page or follow the hash tag #BootCampEBA to stay in touch.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
Social Media Marketing Boot Camp I conducted for eBusiness Academy is designed and delivered in a way it covers all the essential things a marketer should know about using Social Media in marketing. It’s a workshop which goes beyond the popular myth that Social Media is all about gaining likes on Facebook, or all about boasting of the number of Social Media platforms one’s brand is having profiles.
This time I am happy to have Milinda Tilakaratne as a co-trainer for the workshop. Milinda had been in the scene of Social Media Marketing for over 6 years for one of the leading telecommunications company in Sri Lanka and is among the elite group of few Sri Lankan marketers who can really boast for having hands on experience in Social Media Marketing for more than 5 years.
Outline content of the workshop will be more or less be the same as in last two versions of the Boot Camp. If you have participated in any of the previous Social Media Marketing Boot Camp sessions I conducted through eBusiness Acadamy, you are recommended not to register for this event. (Instead, I would be really grateful to you if you could recommend this workshop to someone who has not participated in the Boot Camp before). This time too the venue for the workshop will be Grand Oriental Hotel in Colombo. Reserve your calendar for 14th November 2015 and wait until EBA opens the registrations for the event.
As far as I know, there going to be an attractive 2 in 1 offer for early registrants to the event :-)
You can buy one ticket to the workshop and bring a friend or a colleague 100% free of charge. This will be a limited time offer open for only a few hours of the registrations opening day, and only for a limited number of seats.
Please keep an eye on all updates coming from me and EBA to know more about this special early bird deal!
Click here to see the workshop details.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Posted by Amitha Amarasinghe
I recently met a university batch mate of mine, who is now in the field of HR. While discussing where we are and what we do now, eventually it opened up for a very fruitful discussion on the topic of role of social media in the field of HRM.
My friend complained social networks as a productivity killer and something, which all companies should get rid of at all costs. This did not surprise me at all, as this used to be the same sentiment I noticed from all HR professionals I meet. In fact, it is not an opinion limited to HR professionals, but also a common belief among most of the senior level executives in many companies I know. Surprisingly enough, these executives somehow agree with me more often than not, about the value of social media as a marketing communications channel. They never show any doubts about using Facebook and Twitter for brand building, customer care or lead generation. They are always very keen in learning more about social media as a marketing tool.
If you are like me, who is saddened by the natural disaster in Nepal and looking for ways you can help the victims, here are five trusted charities you can do online donations.
Help Nepal Network is a local charity network in Nepal operating since 1999. After the disaster strike, they have opened a PayPal donation link on their home page through which you can make a donation starting from US$1.Click here to donate.
Oxfam America has opened an online donation link as well, through which you can make monetary contributions to relief efforts they are rolling out in Nepal. Click here to donate.
Save The Children charity organization has opened an online donation link too. Click here to contribute to Nepal Earthquake victims through Save the Children
UNICEF as an agency of United Nation is a trusted source you may use to make donations starting from US$50. Please click here to accesstheir donation link.
Care International has put up an online donation option on their home page. Simply visit their home page on care.org and fill the donation form.
Yesterday Sri Lanka embassy in Nepal established a hotline for any inquiries about Sri Lankans in Nepal. Call 0097 79851020057 to access this hotline.
A friend on Facebook shared this message. Apparently, Sri Lanka government is looking for volunteers to participate in Sri Lankan help mission in Nepal which is already in operation.
“Volunteer doctors, nurses and paramedics needed. [Please share] Prime Minister's Office of Sri Lanka is coordinating the logistics of flying out urgent help to the victims of the earthquake in Katmandu. If you are any of the above medical professionals willing to volunteer please call 071 249 248”
This morning it was reported that the first emergency rescue team of 44 soldiers &4 Doctors, aboard an SLAF flight leaves for Nepal.
Please update in the comments section any other methods people may help the earthquake victims in Nepal.