4 Organizations Promoting Digital Marketing in Egypt
Have you ever come across a call for hires or job post with the caption “Business Specialists needed,”? or, “business Experts”? If you raised an eyebrow reading this, keep on reading.
If you spend much time on LinkedIn, are immersed in the digital/startup/agency professional microcosm, you will almost certainly come across someone hiring a digital marketing “specialist,” or “expert.” These job listings are usually from companies or startups that aren’t digital at their core or simply don’t have the knowledge required to assess what they need for their business; even fintech startups in Egypt fall into this trap but that’s a conversation for later. Most of these positions are, as we said, entry level positions and I’d like to take a minute to explain why this is fundamentally wrong, costing businesses money and affecting the growth of our industry.
The gist of this blog post came from some research I was doing for my thesis about the status of marketing in Egypt and how it differs from advanced economies in quality and quantity of data, institutions and business practices. The basic idea is that marketing functions parallel the level of economic development of a country, the more developed an economy, the greater the variety of marketing functions demanded and the more sophisticated and specialized the institutions become to perform marketing functions. The corollary to this statement is that digital marketing as a whole in Egypt, from aptitudes to institutions teaching it, is behind vis a vis any modern economy, and we can conclude that there’s much work to be done by all actors that are trying to improve this lagging status, more on that in a second.
Going back to our hiring story, the reason why hiring for ‘Digital Marketing Specialists’ is counterproductive is that digital marketing is an ocean of skills and experience, it is almost impossible to find a digital marketer that’s good at email marketing, social ads, PPC, SEO, affiliate marketing, mobile marketing, analytics, growth hacking, conversion rate optimization, tag management, and even behavioral psychology. There is a function called Unicorn Marketer or a T shaped skills marketer in western digital agencies and companies today, but I argue that this person does not exist in Egypt primarily because the field isn’t mature enough as a discipline to hire for these unicorns. Hiring for digital marketing specialists is costing businesses money, these are bad hires based on initial interviews by managers who don’t understand digital well enough to gauge the level of knowledge of the interviewee, hiring them in the process and discovering mid-way that this person simply isn’t a good digital marketer or oversold his technical expertise. If you’re not a digital marketing agency and you’re looking for specialists stop this practice today and start hiring for channel experts in entry level or senior positions by putting out calls for PPC Media Buyers or SEO Experts (as hard as they are to find), or an Analytics Officer (certified in GA!) and be aware that even if they have a certification or a professional diploma in digital marketing, that doesn’t mean anything without a proven track record in what they say they can provide your business with.
In terms of actors that are working hard to promote the gospel of digital marketing in Egypt, I think we don’t need to go any further than mention the few agencies and institutes doing stellar work in terms of servicing, training and accrediting people and clients alike.
Digital Marketing Arts. This Academy is as stated on their website “Egypt’s and MENA’s leading professional Academy, educating & training minds in the Digital Marketing field.” Their partnership with Dublin Institute of Technology’s College of Business and the Marketing Institute of Ireland (MII) gives them a great value proposition and legitimacy. They offer a wide variety of specific students that come out of there who will grow in digital marketing for years to come.
Integrated Marketing Foundation. Imfnd, is “the first marketing foundation in MENA region specialized in marketing and advertising services as well as education programs by professional expertise with the most recent updated international materials.” Their budding organization offers workshops, trainings, Diplomas and Masters degrees alongside being an agency that empowers its clients with appropriate services. We’re lucky to have these guys in Egypt’s Digital Marketing ecosystem.
CultArk. Spanning 7 years of experience, 564 projects and 47 clients, these guys are considered by many of us in the field as being one of the rare performance marketing agencies in Egypt. They not only focus on the services they also position their ethos and culture as being a movement of digital and for that we personally think they’re awesome.
The E-Commerce Summit, we know they’re not an academy or agency but as far as going to a place that will improve your knowledge of digital marketing, you can’t find a more suitable place. The summit is an event in its second year powered by the good people at Robusta studios. A platform uniting retailers and service providers in the e-commerce sector together to discuss the latest trends and challenges of growth. The second event is set to be held on the 17th of September at the Nile Ritz Carlton and is an amazing destination for anyone looking to find like-minded people in digital who are focusing on the hard things in digital.
Omar El Sabh
Founder (Digital Marketing Institute in Ireland & Google Squared Alumni)