By Fernando Martinez (@fermart19)
Last Thursday I went to the II E-Marketing Meetup, hosted by the Online Marketing Colombia LinkedIn group, which brings together the most important professionals in digital marketing in Colombia.
The event took place at the Universidad de los Andes alumni association house, Uniandinos, just two blocks away from the Zemoga offices in Bogotá. The purpose of the meetup was to discuss and share experiences regarding online marketing in Colombia, for which a panel of experts in this matter where invited to converse among them and with dozens of attendees.
The discussion panel was composed of:
- Paula Gaviria, Digital Director at Starcom Mediaves Group
- Matías Jaramillo, Digital Creative Director at Sancho DDBO
- Tuyo Isaza, Planner at BRM
- Luis Acosta, Marketing and Product Manager at Legis
- Gabriel Amorocho, Project Manager at Zemoga
The attendees of the event were half digital service providers and half clients of digital services, which was fortunate to have a wide-ranging, very enriching conversation.
After a short introduction of each panelist, the meeting focused on chatting about what was the biggest opportunity for online marketing in Colombia.
Several ideas came up, but the main one was that the opportunity is in content creation. We all know that content is the king. This is a trend that is not only true in Colombia but worldwide. Actually this is not a trend but a fact, something that everybody knows but just a few apply. All panelists agreed that content creation is currently the most important element in online marketing in Colombia, but making clear that it is not just a matter of creating content, but creating engaging, entertaining content.
In Colombia, the creation of content has to be strongly linked to the creation of online applications and services. This is one matter in which Colombia has been left way behind compared to developed countries. When you try to look for an online service for a specific need you may have, in most cases you won’t find one. If you are lucky to find one or maybe a few, you end up in a website that by no means will meet your expectations. In general, this is the result of a situation we are going through in which there is no offer because there is no demand, but at the same time there is no demand because there is no offer. It has become a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.
The above is related to another idea that was mentioned as the biggest opportunities in online marketing in Colombia, which is related to e-commerce and transactional websites. Last year was a very important year in this matter. A couple of the largest retail stores in the country launched their online stores and many financial services expanded their online offerings and made big improvements in terms of security as well. The trend is expected to continue this year and the big challenge for companies looking forward to move online regardless of their industry is to create valuable websites that can be used by anyone.
This idea was followed by an important remark made by one of the panelists who highlighted that we shouldn’t focus just in ideas in online marketing, but in everything related to digital. He said that the opportunity in Colombia is not just related to how to promote products and services online, but to design and implement digital technologies and strategies that make businesses more efficient and profitable.
Next came up one of the ideas that I think is one of the most important ones: education. Everyone agreed that one big opportunity for online marketing in Colombia is to educate all actors involved in this field, meaning agencies, companies, government, and other service providers and clients. This is key to ensure we are all aligned on the importance of having an strategic approach instead of a tactical approach towards online marketing. This will not only help to have more success stories in Colombia, but also to make the most of the huge talent we have in Colombia and create more knowledgeable agencies that can offer world-class services.
The conclusion of the meetup was that even though the last year was a very active year for everyone involved in online marketing, there is still room to grow from all perspectives. Colombia is getting more aware of the importance of digital in their businesses, and this year will set the basis of building a strong online marketing industry as companies start assigning larger budgets to digital and agencies focus on creating strategies that make a real impact on their clients