Insights to advertising agencies in Sri Lanka: MNC study

Tuesday, 8 March 2011 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Advertising agencies, which we call now marketing communications or brand building agencies, are changing grounds globally with digital and social media playing a major role, whilst some traditional agencies still remain.

Mark and Comm Limited (MNC), an integrated strategic marketing, reputation communications consultancy and a boutique think tank, recently carried out a survey during the month of February 2011 titled ‘Digital and Social Media Study [Agency side] in Sri Lanka’ on how digital and social media is trending in Sri Lankan agencies and the landscape of the traditional tools, taking into account the present and future demand of their clients. There were very useful and valuable insights, which MNCs shares here.

The study revealed from 22 respondents consisted senior key executives throughout agencies in Sri Lanka such as Chairmen, CEOs, COOs and directors and managers involved in branding and client services. The study was highly focused and narrowed, with a clear audience. Below are the results and insights.

Thanzyl Thajudeen, Chief Executive of MNC, said: “It is my pleasure in bringing and sharing this insight. The study has revealed that agencies in Sri Lanka are moving towards the whole new digital and social media, with Facebook suggested mostly taking social networks into account, and that there is an increasing consideration towards integrating these two mediums to bring out a wonderful mix in place. However, there needs to be healthy, ethical competition and an essence to work together with the whole ecosystem in Sri Lanka – not fight and pitching in for projects.”

Critical mediums for Sri Lankan agencies at present

When asked whether digital media, particularly pointing out social media, has hit the Sri Lankan advertising industry as a whole, 55 per cent confirmed ‘yes’ followed by 36 per cent stating ‘maybe’ and ‘it will,’ along with nine per cent being pessimistic saying ‘no, it hasn’t’.

Interestingly, when asked whether digital and social media has hit their agency in particular, 55 per cent confirmed ‘yes, it surely has’ followed by 36 per cent stating ‘somewhat yes’ and nine per cent stating ‘no’.

When surveying what their clients overall are giving priority to in the current context (Illustration one), there were some very interesting insights. Yes, as we all know, the traditional is the priority for now, along with the new media being somewhat a priority.

Print, television and radio ranked the highest priority with a 100 per cent score, followed by Outdoor with 81 per cent confirming a priority whilst 21 per cent stated it was somewhat or not at all a priority; sponsorships and endorsements with 82 per cent confirmed a priority whilst 18 per cent stated it’s somewhat or not at all a priority.

Email marketing received 60 per cent confirming somewhat yes, followed by 32 per cent stating not at all a priority at the moment. 50 per cent said it’s somewhat a priority when it came to Online advertising (banner ads, etc.), with nine per cent stating its priority whilst 41 per cent stating it was not at all a priority.

A total of 69 per cent stated that Blogs and Online forums are not at all a priority, with 31 per cent considering it somewhat a priority. Finally, coming to Social media, 59 per cent responded that this area is somewhat a priority when it came to their clients’ demand, with 36 per cent stating it’s not at all a priority and five per cent stating high priority.

Critical mediums for Sri Lankan agencies in future to meet with clients’ demand

When surveying the critical tools the agencies will use in the future (Illustration two) and to meet the requirements of their clients’ demand, the new media – Social media, Online advertising, and Blogs and Forum along with Email marketing – highly scored yet with traditional such as Outdoor, Television and Radio, sponsorships and endorsements, as well as Print still remaining high.

Social media scored 95 per cent as important; Blogs and Online forums hit up 82 per cent as important followed by 14 per cent stating it’s somewhat not important and four per cent stating not applicable; 86 per cent responded that online advertising is important with 14 per cent stating it’s somewhat not important; 69 per cent stated Email marketing is important followed by 23 per cent stating it’s somewhat important and 10 per cent stating not at all important or applicable; Outdoor caught 86 per cent importance rate with four per cent stating its somewhat important; over 95 per cent stated that Television and Radio as well as the Print medium will continue to remain as a priority tool along with sponsorships and endorsements gaining 83 per cent importance rate with 18 per cent stating it’s somewhat not important.

Sri Lankan agencies will suggest Facebook the most: LinkedIn on a downside

Interestingly, when asked which tools they will suggest to their clients taking Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and an own Blog site into consideration, Facebook received a 90 per cent critical rate followed by having an own Blog site which scored 57 per cent, stating that it’s critical with the rest stating that it’s somewhat critical; 36 per cent stated that Twitter, the micro-blogging tool, is critical yet with another 36 per cent stating it can be somewhat suggested with the rest stating out that it’s not critical; and finally, LinkedIn was on a downside with 41 per cent stating it’s not at all critical and not suggested yet with 32 per cent stating it’s critical and 27 per cent stating  that it’s somewhat critical.

Facebook even hit up the frequency rate when asking the respondents how often they themselves get into social networking sites with options of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter; 55 per cent stated that they login on a daily basis, with 27 per cent once in 12 hours and 18 per cent on a weekly basis. Twitter followed up the second place with nine per cent logging in once in 12 hours, 23 per cent on a daily basis, nine per cent on a weekly and 23 per cent again on a monthly basis – yet 36 per cent said they never login Twitter. LinkedIn again got the worst place with half of the respondents saying never, nine per cent daily, 14 per cent weekly, and 27 per cent on a monthly basis.


All advertising agencies surveyed stated that they already had a Digital unit in place and had already trained people overseas and are getting projects on the way, with a very few seriously thinking about having a digital unit within their agency.

Each and every respondent stated that Digital and Social media is a key player and is the future of advertising and brand building and though many are relying on the traditional mediums, there is optimism to integrate them. This research and study is exclusively done by MNC and is published to bring in open knowledge and insights.