Back in the days of old, yore, long ago and longtime, I recall with nostalgia a different time in Trinidad & Tobago. Back then in primary school girls played ‘kicking-stone and ‘moral’, boys played ‘marble pitch’- ‘three hole’ and ‘Lyric’. Then I feel a clout behind my head and I’m back to reality. Memory lane is now part of the information superhighway.
Information is abundant, attention spans limited, competition stiff and today businesses have to work harder to attract and keep customers. Loyalties are literally for sale. Back in the day when they could have winged it. now ALL BUSINESSES in Trinidad & Tobago need some semblance of a marketing strategy, even the small and micro.
And today it’s online marketing or BUSS. This new dimension that’s fluid and evolving everyday has caught Trinidad & Tobago with it’s pants down. Why? Because there aren’t enough online marketers in the country to meet the demand.
What's creating the shortage
The shortage is fueled by the increasing awareness of the Trini businesses that never entertained the thought before, now realizing their need for marketing professionals and seeking them out. By marketing professionals, they’re specifically looking for the online marketing experts.
But where are these ‘experts’?
Online marketing in T&T- the blind leading the blind
I’ve been seeing it all along and up till now, local companies don’t understand this web thing. They know it’s value and dire necessity, but there are many aspects that are too new and too heavy to grasp.
I had a client this week asking why their new website isn’t coming up in search even when they directly type the name in. Do you know the answer to that? The client also asked why their site isn’t coming up when they type their major keyword. Sadly, the keyword is such a competitive keyword that I know it will take more than a year to get on the first page, and that’s being optimistic.
SEO (search engine optimization), social media marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing cannot be taught in a classroom yet. Who’s going to teach it in T&T? Business teachers in the many business schools on every corner in the country have gotten away with teaching business without ever running one, but not this time.
What we have now are many self-taught and semi-formally taught (learned from some short course or similar), many who think they know but know not. Perhaps it’s no fault of their own as they may be trying to learn in earnest, but when the companies have to depend on their advice, pay their price, it’s just the blind leading the blind.
Online marketing in T&T- in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is KING
I’m not writing this to take jabs at my competition or peers. If you’ve been following Forward Multimedia you’ll know that’s not my style. Actually, what I’m exposing are the opportunities. There is ample room for great online marketers. But the the situation as it exists now is that there is only a small pool of real experts. Sadly, I don’t even know who they are.
So how do I know the pool is small if I don’t know who they are? Because I don’t know who they are is how I know the pool is small. Type in ‘online marketing trinidad‘ and you’ll see Forward Multimedia at the top or close to it. Also search for ‘social media marketing trinidad’, ‘search engine optimization trinidad’, ‘seo trinidad’ ’email marketing trinidad’. Do you see me in every one? I don’t even promote those keywords.
Now I’m far from one-eyed, and you’ll notice many vacant spots on the first page of search, i.e. not many local online marketing companies exist. So even if there were ‘not half-bad’ online marketers locally, they can’t even make it to the first page of search when there is no competition.
And that’s very glaring red flag right there. If your online marketer is not on the first page of search right now for their own major keywords, how in heaven’s name can they help you?
Online marketing in T&T- shortage will persist
I don’t foresee the supply catching up any time soon. Eventually the not half-bad ones will make it to the first page of search and hopefully hone their skills with experience. But the pickings will still be slim, just like in website design where there are many local players but few above average (sorry I can’t think of any except myself, but that’s me being vain).
I’ve been getting many calls from individuals asking for advice on getting into the online marketing business though, so the market is picking up, just not fast enough.
What to do in the meantime
There’s nothing much that can be done except that local businesses have to also learn fast on their own to help themselves. The reality is that many are doing it with some success but not optimal success. I see may Facebook campaigns that are woefully sub-par, but I still give an A for effort ‘considering’.
I’d rather spend my time web designing than online marketing because that’s where my passion lies and I just don’t have the time for online marketing projects. I am also very picky about who I work with and recommend so I just don’t have many partners at this time. I work with my website clients via their own marketing personnel giving advice and insights. In upcoming articles, I’ll write about how Trini businesses can still make the best of this situation. In the meantime plenty of them are going to ketch!