EMARKETINGEYE REVOLUTIONISING THE DIGITAL SPACE
Leading the digital revolution in Sri Lanka, especially in the travel and leisure industry both locally and internationally is the young, dynamic company eMarketingEye led by Rajitha Dahanayake. With a passion and an eye for creativity-led digital innovations, as depicted by its name, entrepreneur, founder and Chief Executive Officer, Rajitha Dahanayake is the driving force behind eMarketingEye’s success. He pioneered digital marketing in Sri Lanka in 2007, and since then has helped the company become an unstoppable force with many accolades that tell a story of their own. Talking to Echelon magazine on the journey so far and the vision for the future, Dahanayake reveals his inner passion for everything tech.
Tell us about eMarketingEye.
eMarketingEye started off way back in 2007 with a bunch of us who were passionate about this whole digital evolution. At the time, digital marketing was a novel topic in Sri Lanka, so we knew the risks we were taking when we took the plunge, being one of the first to enter the market. In the beginning, we were just a five member team of like-minded individuals with a passion to succeed, operating out of my home. Despite the challenges, we were relentless in our pursuit for success, because we believed in the future and the power of digital. We have since then grown to a 120-member team and have earned many accolades during our 12 year journey. We’ve carved a niche for ourselves in the travel and leisure sector both here in Sri Lanka and also internationally, which has given us many moments of fulfilment and pride. Today, digital marketing has become a non-negotiable component in business, and many have joined the bandwagon. We, however, keep our focus on our areas of specialisation and are keen to innovate and develop accordingly.
You entered the digital marketing space at a time when it was the furthest from business strategies. What was the thinking behind this decision? How has eMarketingEye evolved since, staying ahead of the competition?
When we launched, we had our sights set firmly on the international market, although today we serve many local firms as well. Since my background is in digital marketing for international hotel brands, we initially decided to focus on an industry and market that I had an insight into. My experience in working with a global company providing digital strategies for businesses overseas also gave me the confidence and knowledge to experiment with my own venture.
We had to work both hard and smart to create a brand for ourselves, and to carve a niche for it in the travel and hospitality trade. This experience and expertise make up a unique selling point since it differentiates us from others in the digital space today.
At the time, we provided a whole range of digital solutions, including web development, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) services for global companies. While even today a majority of our business comes from search marketing, we have evolved and also provide an array of other digital solutions and services. These include digital marketing consultancy, content marketing and development, email marketing, web analytics and social media optimisation.
One of the recent highlights was the fact that we became a Google Premier Partner. This is a noteworthy achievement showcasing our experience and know-how, meeting the stringent guidelines and knowledge required by Google to achieve this status. As a Google Premier Partner, we get the opportunity to closely work with the Google team and in turn add value to the services for our clients, helping them stand out in the digital sphere. Having identified a need in the market for better monitoring and reporting on digital strategies, we developed a comprehensive reporting system and provided transparency on performance that benefited our clients. It also helped us come up with more focused strategies in keeping with the evolving nature of the industry.
The results speak for themselves. Since our inception, we have been nominated and won over 180 international and local awards. We’ve had significant growth year on year, and almost all our business comes through recommendations from clients, while we have no plans of slowing down.
Who are your primary clients?
We have an impressive clientele both globally and locally and to date, the company has worked on over 4,500 projects for 1,000+ clients worldwide. Of course, internationally, we had to fight for a piece of the pie, and have managed to stand out from amongst a gamut of digital marketing companies. We’ve been able to challenge them and have become a leading name in the global industry, servicing some of the biggest brands in travel and hospitality. In fact, 70% of our revenue now comes from the international market.
Our growing portfolio features renowned international brands, the likes of Minor Hotels which includes AVANI, Tivoli, Oaks and Anantara Resorts & Spas, which was recently ranked in the top 10 of the “World’s Greatest Hotel Groups” as part of the 2018 Telegraph Travel Awards. Chatrium Hotels & Residences, Park Hotel Group, The Ascott and Dorsett Hospitality International are a few of the other international clients that we proudly work with as well.
Locally, eMarketingEye works with some of the leading names in the travel and leisure industry. This includes Cinnamon Hotels & Resorts, Aitken Spence, Amaya, Uga Escapes, Jetwing, Cantaloupe, Theme Resorts & Spas, Asia Leisure, The Kingsbury Colombo, Mount Lavinia Hotel etc… Our portfolio of Sri Lankan clients also features tour operators such as Walkers Tours, Aitken Spence Travels and Connaissance de Ceylan, to name a few.
In keeping with our continued growth, we have additionally helped clients by developing solutions unique to them. We created a customised online excursions booking engine for Walkers Tours, a charter flight booking system for Cinnamon Air and shopping carts for Galadari Hotel and several local tea companies.
I am impatient for growth and it’s the adrenaline rush of overcoming whatever challenge that lies ahead that drives me to be innovative. Venturing into new arenas is my passion, and we already have 5-10 new products in the pipeline, for the next 6 months.
What is the unique proposition eMarketingEye can offer the market?
Our objective was never to position ourselves based on price, but to offer a complete service that adds value to a client’s brand. Our step by step process includes evaluating the brand, educating the client on the importance and scope of digital marketing and coming up with an effective digital marketing strategy.
We are also focused on providing complete transparency on all digital marketing activities while offering ROI-centric solutions that are tailor-made to each client’s requirements. Our clients like to work with us because we provide them with a 360-degree solution from web development, content marketing, search marketing and PPC to social media optimisation. This way, clients can get all their digital needs fulfilled from one agency.
Most importantly, we don’t only offer the services we commit to, but we also go that extra mile in adding value in what we do.
How about your plans for the future?
I’m optimistic about the local digital marketing landscape. We have seen a significant shift with companies embracing the wonders of digital in recent years. While initially, some were cautious, the undeniable growth in digital marketing and e-commerce is drawing more and more clients, who like us, see its great potential. This positive change has been visible and is encouraging as companies are now allocating budgets for digital marketing based campaigns. Although we entered this space with a focus on the hospitality sector, which has brought us success and recognition, we are now moving into other verticals locally, while internationally, our focus will remain on hospitality. We will pick and choose our battles because we want to be the best in what we do.
Most of the business acquired to date has been through recommendations and word of mouth, but we feel it’s time to stand out more from among the competition. We are currently developing and expanding a dynamic sales team which will help take eMarketingEye to the next level as we look to effectively market the company locally and globally.
Making use of our extensive knowledge gained during the last 12 years, we hope to share our experience to not only help the industry grow as a whole, but to further develop our staff as well. They are a key component of our success and through training programmes, knowledge sharing and mentoring we hope to aid in their career growth.
Some of our immediate growth plans include using systems to improve operations and automation as well as developing effective strategies to meet the new challenges of digital marketing. From a hospitality point of view, we want to grow our client base. Though we haven’t been sales-oriented in the past, our new sales team will be looking to change that as we pursue more clients, while offering the same high levels of service and excellence.
eMarketingeye has won over 180 local and international awards since inception
Some of the main awards are as follows:
2009 – SME Agency of the Year by Google
2011 – Winner in the ICT Services sector at the National Business Excellence Awards organized by the National Chamber of Commerce
2011 –‘ICT Entrepreneur of the Year’ award at NBQSA
2016- Overall winner as the Best Digital Media Agency at SLT ZeroOne Awards
2016 & 2017 – “Best Digital Media Agency” in the Travel & Leisure sector at SLT Zero One Awards
2018 – National Silver Award Winner in the Extra-Large category at Sri Lankan Entrepreneur of the Year
28 Gold, Silver and Bronze awards for digital marketing campaigns since 2007 from Adrian Awards presented by the Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)
Multiple international award wins from W3 Awards, The Communicator, Horizon Interactive Awards and Interactive Media Awards etc…