The past decade has been…disruptive, to say the least. Ten years ago, we couldn’t just Netflix and chill. Not everyone had smartphones, and data was jargon for geeks and techpreneurs.
It’s just over a decade ago that Bra Willy Seyama founded pan-African digital marketing consultancy eNitiate Integrated Solutions, with the aim of changing Africa’s digital story – and disrupting the way we look at data.
“As an analyst, I’m always looking at the data – but I also like to focus on the people behind the data, not just on an aggregate level, because people just don’t get it unless you take specific angles of the data; then it starts resonating,” he reckons.
When not focused on core business – helping brands to establish and develop their digital presence – Seyama plays around with data that resonates with current affairs and cultural issues, and has established a blog that differs from most.
“I get inspired by topical issues, trending topics, and I go and do the analyses,” he explains, referring to an entreaty he posted when Sho Madjozi hit the headlines with her hit song devoted to John Cena – Three Reasons Why Limpopo Province Must Leverage the Rising Star of Sho Madjozi – using an array of graphs and timelines to highlight how and why the government office could benefit from highlighting the successes of its citizens (which it later did, with the Ndlovu Youth Choir).
“Her music is not mainstream – not to me anyway – and I’ve been following her, though not closely, as she identifies as pan-African and wears her ‘Limpopo-ness’ on her sleeve, and that drew my attention. When she published a video on YouTube that was trending on Twitter, I decided to scratch the surface and see what happens… “
Seyama was working on a project about the nine premiers at the time, and realised that neither the premier of Limpopo nor the province itself was not as active on social media and that, he says, “just added the impetus”.
Though eNitiate’s core focus is on strategy, analytics and developing content that counts – “if we cannot count what we put out, we won’t put it out; before releasing content, we know what to expect in terms of engagement and reach” – Seyama’s passion is for plugging Africa’s digital marketing skills gap.
“Having failed to find information about an audit of the digital marketing skills for any of the African countries, we broadened the Google search, and this lead us to the Digital Marketing Skills Benchmark – the 2018 UK-based annual report. The report tests for levels of competency across 12 skills. Just under 5 000 respondents participated in the latest online research, and they included executives and entry-level Marketers. The survey was also open to all sectors.
“But to our dismay, we could not find any related information for Africa in this regard – not even for South Africa,” he explains.
No digital marketing skills benchmarks
“Africa does not have digital marketing skill benchmarks. And while it is common knowledge that there is a digital marketing skills gap on the continent, there is not much information available on the size of the gap,” he notes.
“In this era of 4IR where digital technology is playing such a dominant role, it’s concerning that Africa does not have comprehensive information on required digital marketing skills. In this age of digital, this must also be concerning to all brand owners, marketers, communicators and talent managers alike.”
Seyama’s solution is to implement a continent-wide digital marketing skills audit, “to minimise the opportunity costs of doing digital marketing wrong – and to assess the current skill levels on the continent.
Launched end November, the inaugural Digital Marketing Skills in Africa Audit 2020 is supported by the Marketing Association of South Africa and championed by three African countries: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. The audit, in the form of an online survey, targets professionals in the digital marketing and communications community across the continent, “with a view to using the results to establish and continuously review the necessary benchmarks,” says Seyama.
The online survey will close on 31 January 2020, with a comprehensive report published by end March 2020.
Lucinda Jordaan is an independent writer, researcher and editor with extensive experience in all media, covering fields from academia and finance to education and lifestyle. Her articles have appeared in several award-winning publications, locally and internationally, and she has contributed to books and online sites, including The Media Online.
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