Posted by : Amitha Amarasinghe Friday, February 19, 2016
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.