First blog of the year and it’s going to start off with a little bit of controversy but at this point, I think we need to ruffle feathers in order for us as a region to move ahead. As more businesses shift into the digital age, we are starting to see where many of them falter.

The question of how to shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing has been a key concern and how to reach clients in this new era. Trying to convince companies who have “always done it like this” or can’t wrap their minds around social media has been a task.

I wanted to break down my thoughts and give you 5 reasons why marketing does not do well in the Caribbean.

I know what you are thinking…You are talking crap! We have some of the best, most creative marketing people and some of the best campaigns in the world. To that I agree, I think we have some amazing talent in our region and some of the campaigns that we produce can give anybody goosebumps.

However, we are still stuck in the traditional way of marketing.

You will often hear that the Caribbean is 5-10 years behind the rest of the world and it’s never said in a good way or even used to our advantage. One thing about being a few steps behind is that we can scan the world and see what companies are doing from a marketing perspective and cherry-pick the best ideas, technologies and implementations to fit the context of our market.

That however is just something that does not happen.

In 2021, we are quite a few years deep into the Digital Age and the buying behaviours of consumers have dramatically changed. Our customers are more informed than ever before and our expectations from brands have completely changed.

Yet still, companies are hell-bent on sticking to what has worked for them over the lifespan of their existence.

So here are the top 5 ways in my opinion that marketing does not work for us in the Caribbean and it gives insights on the areas that we can improve on.

  1. Lack of digital infrastructure in the business
  2. Marketing teams have not upskilled
  3. Downright refusal to meet the customers where they are at
  4. Lack of respect for the proper use of data
  5. We still believe in Ads and have not shifted to content marketing

Lack Of Digital Infrastructure

This one is such a big reason why the marketing budgets get cut at the first sign of trouble. There is a lack of infrastructure to justify marketing.

This one is a bit of doozy.

For all of the businesses I have worked with, small, medium, large, government…The one thing I have seen in common with all of them was the lack of infrastructure to do marketing well in a digital capacity.

Companies seem to think that digital marketing is JUST social media and social media marketers, unfortunately, have no clue as to why companies don’t want to give them a proper budget.

Companies cannot cash in on likes and comments, nor can they show a direct tie to revenue from “viral content”, without the infrastructure in place.

Companies run ads on TV, Radio, Print and then when asked how do they know if the campaign was successful, they reply with the ominous “we seen a spike in sales or calls”…However, when you press them on how do they know the ROI on the money spent, they can’t answer because there is no infrastructure to directly show revenue or leads from those campaigns.

Social Media Markets are no better because if the businesses you are dealing with do not have things like a website, E-Commerce, Analytics tools (Not social media insights), or a CRM set up and all integrated with each other, you simply cannot tie in your social media efforts and show the direct relation to revenue generated from your content.

In the figure below, I can take a look into my CRM data and see that a customer had found me from an organic search on Google, found the product he was looking for and then proceeded to purchase the product and the revenue was tracked.

hubspot in trinidad and tobago
Organic Search Lead To E-Commerce Sale

Unless you as a marketer can prove that your content creation and digital marketing efforts can directly lead to sales or leads for the sales team, you will continue to get your budget cuts in 2021.


Marketing Teams Have Not Upskilled

I know this one is going to be a shot at everybody’s ego when they read this one but it’s the truth. The majority of companies have marketing teams and yet they are outsourcing their campaigns to marketing agencies.

WTF…

When you speak to the marketers in the companies, you realize that they may have their Masters and degrees in marketing that they achieved and yet still have no idea how to put together a Content Marketing Plan, create content, do any form of Ad campaigns.

Their experience is in liaising with traditional media and getting ads completed so that they can run on TV/Radio/Print.

This is another reason why 3rd party marketing agencies do not get the budgets they need to properly do marketing for their clients, they also need to pay their in-house marketing department.

Marketing teams need to upskill and develop their digital marketing skills so that companies can get the best bang for their buck when putting out their campaigns.

This will also allow marketing and sales to be more aligned with revenue-generating activities.

Companies should let their marketing teams attend online schools from industry leaders like Hubspot Academy, Digital Marketer, SEM Rush Academy, to name a few.


Not Meeting Customers Where They Are At

The Digital Age has shifted consumer behaviours and has also changed what our expectations are from our favourite companies. Consumers care less about the catchy ads and more about how your company can help them in their day to day lives.

When you look at the yearly Hootsuite digital marketing reports, you tend to notice 2 things that are consistent around the world.

  1. Google is the number 1 visited website
  2. The top search query inputted into Google starts with “How To”

Consumers are constantly looking to be informed and educated.

There is next to NO businesses in the Caribbean that try to educate consumers in a meaningful way online.

Businesses believe that if they put out too much educational content, their competitors will know more about their company and also clients could take the information & go elsewhere.

Newsflash, your competitors know just as much about your company as you do. This is one of the worst reasons to not take advantage of educating clients.

Secondly, the #1 way to build trust amongst consumers is through education. If a business is willing to educate you on their industry, their products/services and showing you how to enrich your life, that is where trust is built.

If you educate digitally through blogs, videos, podcasts and we can get a great sense of a business, trust is built and the sales cycle shortens.

Since Caribbean businesses are not doing this and meeting consumers where they are at, it’s no wonder we continue to distrust brands regionally but will still spend all of our money on Amazon…It’s a trust thing.


Lack Of Respect & Use For Data

This has to be one of the most crippling reasons why marketing does not yield the results that businesses seek.

We market to our clients without any use of proper data and instead utilize our own biases.

We market to clients like how we season our food…We simply put things in and wait for our ancestors to tell us “That’s enough”.

In the year 2021, we have businesses across the Caribbean that have no idea where and how to tap into Search Engine Data to gain some of the most valuable insights on our customers and then form a basis for marketing.

We can literally sit in our kitchens, generate reports on everything our customers are asking online about products, services, our competitors and use this to our advantage.

Its like cheating…Getting all of the answers to the test, just handed to us.

Since our marketing teams have not upskilled and have learned all of the new tools available to us for free to get data insights, we continue to market-based on our biases and miss out on a massive opportunity to serve our clients at the highest levels.

ADS ARE NOT CONTENT!!!

Just needed to through that in there.


Less Ads, More Content Marketing

Apparently, companies still think going to marketing agencies for Ad campaigns will net them the most impactful ad that would make Don Draper from Mad Men proud and have every customer rushing into their establishments.

Folks…Ads on social media are akin to commercials on TV.

You know what’s the most infuriating thing on Social Media…Ads that I cannot skip!!!

Many of us simply close our eyes during those times in an act of defiance to show you that you will not win when trying to force ads down our throats.

Every marketing agency in Trinidad & Tobago focuses on ADS and none, I repeat…None have shifted to content marketing.

Ads are Not Content!!!

How many of the companies we deal with on a regular basis have a blog, a podcast, a Youtube channel with content that helps to lead us to live better lives?

The businesses that do tend to have Youtube channels in the Caribbean focus more on entertainment.

I’ll say this…going through a year like 2020, there is nothing that inspires me more than learning new skills, new technologies and strategies that can help me survive & thrive during the pandemic.

Going to a technology companies social or Youtube channel, hoping to learn how they can help me…only for them to constantly show me dancing videos…I cry inside.

2021, the businesses that find ways to create content that actually helps and enriches lives, will be the ones who will build consumer trust and ultimately earn consumers hard-earned dollars.

Your videos and ads might make me laugh, it might make me dance, I might hit the like button but trust and believe that the majority of you won’t get my money because of your ads.

Some businesses only get my money because there is just nobody else in your niche for me to try out.


So there it is folks, my first blog of 2021 is out the way and I thought it was an important topic to address.

I gave you my 5 reasons why marketing does not do well in the Caribbean and I look forward to carrying on the discussion in the comments.

If there was a point that you agreed with, please let me know, and if there was a point you did not agree with, I would like to know that too.

If you are looking to learn how your organization can get data research and get better at content marketing, feel free to connect with me here…Online Business Coach.

4 Comments

  • Donna-Luisa Eversley
    Posted January 10, 2021 11:32 am 0Likes

    Keron great points shared.Appreciate the point on businesses not being willing to help customers understand the value of using online platforms.
    Also , the belief that competitors will know’yuh business’ if you put it out there online is a belief of many. What businesses need to realise is someone is sharing your information, both good and bad, and its customers who have an interest in what you do. This is an excellent discussion Keron and look forward to your continued sharing.

  • Hayden Mora
    Posted January 12, 2021 1:41 pm 0Likes

    Well written. The things stand out for me:

    1. The lack of respect for, and use of data in decision making at all levels
    2. The distinction between social media ads and digital marketing
    3. The inability of many marketing personnel to establish a clear cause-effect relationship between online marketing and the financial and other benefits that accrue to the firm in a tangible way.

    Keep up the good work!

    Regards,

  • Janeen
    Posted February 26, 2021 5:17 pm 0Likes

    Great post Keron. It’s really refreshing to see a Caribbean perspective on marketing and content. I’m a freelance writer and I find it difficult to get stats on local businesses and industries to include in articles or for pitches to international publications. Even the newspaper and the news refer to American statistics when speaking about industries in Jamaica. There really is so much room for growth. Very happy I discovered you on IG.

  • Nelaja Alphonse-Shephard
    Posted March 18, 2021 4:30 pm 0Likes

    Fantastic and Informative read.

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