What It Takes To Make It In Digital Marketing In Kenya

  Barbara Chuchu wrote this on
April 10, 2017 | No Comments

What it Takes to Make it in Digital Marketing in Kenya

In March, we held our monthly #WhatItTakes Talent event, focusing on Digital Marketing in Kenya. We were joined by some insightful young professionals to share knowledge about how top companies are retaining talent, where the digital marketing industry is headed in Kenya and how to make the shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing.

Our panelists included Joy Chelegat & Timothy Oriedo from Royal Media, Samo Bryton from Alternative Agency, Tony Gatheca from Transcend Media, Wesley Masinde from Digiserve Solutions, Kenneth Oile from Levenzi and Gideon Mureithi from Intraspace Market Consultancy.

It was a discussion filled with interesting facts and humour! Please find our notes below.

 How much time do you spend on social media for personal reasons and which sites do you visit?

Joy: I am paid to be on social media. I spend almost 10 hrs a day online. In my line of work, there is no difference between what is personal & what is business. What I see on my personal pages end up being leads for my business. In almost all of our lines of work, there is no line between what is personal and what is professional.

Timothy: I do many mass courses on online studying. I spend 3/4 of my time – almost 14 hrs on social media.

Tony: We spend time operating digital media for our customers with is a full-time job. I am online mostly in the morning and afternoon spending almost 2 hrs only on social media. I am more of a traditional person: Newspapers and news occupy most of my time.

Kenneth: It is hard to separate business and personal social media. I am online right now! Snapchat is my favourite app at the moment.

Gideon: I am on social media about 4-5 hrs a day primarily for research.

Wesley: I spend 70% of my time on social media. Most of my time is spent on Hubspot as it has a lot of resources on digital marketing. I also look at LinkedIn to see what thought leaders are putting out there.

Looking at traditional marketing and digital marketing, are there specific roles that are being wiped out and what are some of these roles?

Wesley: The brief, objective and goal will always be the same. The channels that might be used might be different. Anybody who is canceling bits & pieces is missing out on a lot, it is actually one element. If you are traditional, it is not such a leap to move to digital. We do see ourselves as a digital agency that is picking out a lot of traditional business also because we are built the same.

Tony: We offer 6 disciplines, digital being the first. We are client lead & digitally driven. Different digital trainings are also available to ensure everyone is up to speed. We have incorporated a hybrid of roles that already existed.  There’s a lot of evolution that is taking place, especially with the young people.

Joy: The things that we do on digital are just the same things we did on traditional. The new roles depend on the different places you go. Move with the times. Be open to things changing. I don’t believe that there are new roles, it is just understanding how to get the best value.

Timothy: Digital is made up of 3 pillars:

1- Digitisation-how to make your processes digital

2- Digital transformation: training traditional teams to be digital

3- Digital reinvention-innovations that are not typical.

Samo: Over time things keep on changing with new innovations. New roles such as SEO specialist, lead conversion specialists, wed designers, business intelligence advisers, marketing automation specialists are coming up. Traditional marketing is more of cross-selling.

What should a recruiter be looking for when looking for a Digital Marketer?

Joy: Never look at how many years someone has worked. Scrap the years. Look at what their understanding of the system is and their strategic thinking in analyzing situations.

Tony: Our biggest social media presence are individuals, not companies. Companies go to these individuals to push their brands. It’s very individualized when it comes to endorsing brands.

Kenneth: Ask the person to list all the campaigns they have run previously. Find out where digital marketing is heading to and if the person can the capable of handling that.

Gideon: Look at the number of campaigns run. How does the person interact with social media platforms? Find out what their strengths are.  These will help you know whether the person can handle the job.

Wesley: We hire based on character & personality tests. We check what platforms you are on & how many followers you have. We also take you through a program and finally attach you to a mentor. Experience is not something we focus on. We nurture the talent that is already there. We target people who have done PR & Communication/ Marketing then we nurture them.

How does the Kenyan education system prepare graduates for the workforce in digital marketing? If there are any gaps, how does your company handle that?

Wesley: As much as companies have individuals managing their pages there is a lot of noise but little lead conversion. We have partnered with HubSpot who offer a digital curriculum. We are able to train individuals in all things digital marketing.

Tony: We do a lot of training. We have continuous training at the office just so that we can keep up. What students are studying in terms of careers is very relevant to the work place especially Daystar University because every platform has a new feature every day, there is always a continuous process of getting new knowledge.

Gideon: As technology changes, the people who are interested adapt to it. That cannot be learned in school, it keeps changing all the time. Google and LinkedIn are doing a good job in training people about the digital world.

Joy: The skill gap that is wanting is continuous learning. The need to continuously improve your certifications. The most important skill is to continue reading and learning.

Timothy: Self-learning platforms such as YouTube are teaching people with interest on how to do anything. The only thing required is interest, especially in digital skills.

What talent is the hardest to find locally in your sector? If you don’t find it locally how do you handle it?

Gideon: In market research what we lack is a Business Development Personnel who understands the ins and outs of a business. We tend to train our marketing group to understand every aspect of a company’s business operations. We are very heavy on people who have done social sciences as they understand people skills.

Kenneth: The hardest talent to retain in our company is a good creative. It’s a hard task to replace creatives who have been poached. When we are looking for creatives, we do the interviews and give them small tasks so that we can see what they can actually do.

Questions from the audience:

Where is print media in the scheme of things? Is print media dead?

Tony: No it isn’t, but its dying. They have moved to the digital space through apps. You consume the same articles and not have to physically buy papers. Everything is relevant depending on one’s interests. They have to struggle to remain relevant and in touch with their audience.

Joy: Most people don’t realize the montage of what is happening to media stations. Print media is evolving into something else it is not dying. There’s a lot of evolution going on under the surface.

How do you quantify the number of customers vs the efforts Digital Marketers have put in?

Timothy: You can use Klout to know what social influence channel can give you more customers. Data scientists have developed algorithms to use to target different audiences.

Samo: Goals and objectives help you know what your target is. Push yourself beyond followers, trending and going viral. You should think about what your client is trying to achieve & run your campaign based on that.

Wesley: You can measure the success of a campaign with marketing automation. Goals are key when running campaigns. Most customers need to be nurtured into buying a product. With these analytics, you can now drive the customer to trigger a purchase.

One word advice to people looking to make it as Marketing Professionals in Kenya:

Wesley: Become a thought leader and position yourself for a specific market.

Gideon: Find your space, excel in it and know your limitations as you continuously train.

Kenneth: Make yourself an asset.

Wesley: Learn.Repeat.Learn.Try

Tony: Learn to listen to your client.

Joy:  Always be open to changes based on the stressors that will come along.

Timothy: Ask yourself two questions: Where do you see yourself and what role do you see yourself playing in future?


In Summary

The most important skill required in digital marketing is continuous reading and learning. You need to find out where digital marketing is heading to and place yourself accordingly. Technology is constantly evolving, always make sure you are constantly in the know!

If you have any questions, want to chat about your recruiting process, or want to learn more about Duma Works, please visit our website dumaworks.com or reach out at  [email protected] . We are always happy to meet new people, exchange new ideas, and build new partnerships.

Happy Hiring!

























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