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Earlier this month, the Exabytes Internet Marketing Summit 2019 (EIMS2019) was organised by Exabytes and DotAsia Organisation. It brought together 1,000 SMEs in Malaysia to sit under the tutelage and sharing of 37 digital marketing gurus. 

As shared by Chan Kee Siak, CEO & Founder of Exabytes, “There’re more tools and techniques that we need to learn and figure out in order to stay innovative and remain outstanding in terms of digital marketing.”

“Today, customers are more demanding and expecting a good service. Maintaining a good service level, managing the feedback and rating are equally important.”

We know not everyone had the opportunity to attend, or even if you did, you might have not had the chance to take all the notes you wanted. 

So we’ve condensed some of the most practical learnings here, along with other pieces of pithy sharings from the industry insiders.

1. Content is not about length, it’s about relevance.

Whatever form of content you produce, be it short descriptions of your products, or even just email headings, always remember who your customer is.

“For us content has to be relevant to the audience that is receiving it, and we pay a lot of attention to who are the recipients,” shared Suresh Sakadivan, the Regional Head of CRM for Fave.

“Content has to be the voice you hear from your customers, not what you want to tell them. Stop telling them, start listening to them and creating content that resonates with them.”

He gave the example of their Eid and Ramadhan ads, where Fave used a mix of English and Malay to craft their content. 

He also suggested the use of puns and humour as ways to connect with customers. 

2. Step 1: Be authentic. Step 2: Repeat step 1.

Authenticity has been the buzzword in advertising the past few years, and many of the digital gurus echoed that. 

But what does that even mean?

“It comes down to how effective your content is in making people go beyond just thinking about your brand, and feeling something for it, and that comes with storytelling. Storytelling is key,” said Dr. A.J. Minai, Co-Founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Subture: The Brand Storytelling Agency.

Dr AJ Minai.

He gave the example of how large corporate brands like Maxis or Petronas advertise closer to festive seasons. Instead of pushing their single products or offerings, they run ads that have emotional touchpoints.

And it all goes back to connecting with your customers.

“The best kind of marketing today is giving a sh*t about your customer. It’s about genuinely caring about what people feel and want in the market, and putting value first,” said A.J.

3. The best content actually doesn’t come from you.

Suresh of Fave also shared one of his company’s best practices: content is not supposed to come from the brand. Instead, this is where you should allow your audience to take the lead.

Suresh, on the far right.

“The users will listen more to the other customers who use your product. Even if you don’t have a high number of traffic, you have your social platforms. Make it engaging. People do associate your brand and promise through how others speak of you.”

This also doubles up as authentic sharing, feeding in to point number 2. 

And if your customers are vocal about any dissatisfaction with your product, Suresh also recommends that brands jump right in and engage.

“Do not keep quiet. Even if it’s bad feedback, address the problem honestly,” he said.

4. Ignore data at your own risk.

One phrase we heard quite a few times? A/B testing. That simply means trying out two different variables, and using data to tell you what performs better.

“We want to optimise all our results. So before we go on a bigger scale, we always do A/B testing on different levels, on the headline, visuals,” said Sharmeen Looi, the Co-Founder of Shopback Malaysia.

Having the right data allows you to scale your marketing efforts in the most cost-effective way, but to get your data, you must be prepared to test and try over and over again.

“It’s important to test and learn. We still continuously test and experiment. Something we say a lot within the team is, fail fast and fail cheap,” said Emily Tan, the Marketing Lead of Klook Malaysia.

5. Don’t overcomplicate your key message.

Rachel Tan is the Marketing Lead at Shopee, and you’d think they have a lot of products to push.

Rachel Tan of Shopee.

However, for each of Shopee’s marketing campaigns, she believes that focusing on one key message each time is crucial.

“There should only be one, you don’t want to dilute it,” she said. “[Instead]. look at ways to amplify it—whether on social, influencer or online marketing.”

Wong Weng Wai, the Marketing Manager of iCar Asia, summarised this in another way.

“There’s this simple rule I follow: CSR, consistent, simple, relevant,” he said. “Make sure your content is delivered in a consistent way across your channels. Make it simple because your audience’s attention span is getting lower and lower, so make it easy to digest. And keep it relevant, you know what the trends are out there, make the content gel well with the audience.”

6. Always remember the human touch.

It’s tempting to almost forget that the real world exists when it’s so easy to immerse ourselves into the digital realm, where everything is just a tap or click away.

Emily of Klook cautioned against turning all our attention digital.

Emily Tan of Klook.

“As humans we crave connection,” she said. “We believe very strongly in offline-to-online. What that means to us is leveraging on an offline event to drive an online action—for example, coming to our website to purchase something or checking out an article on our blog.”

“Apart from the digital marketing strategies that will continue to grow, let’s not forget the face-to-face interaction and to be able to go down to our customers, speak to them and find out what their painpoints are.”

  • If you feel like you’ve missed out and would like to sign up for the Exabytes Internet Marketing Summit next year, you can book your ticket here.

Credit for all images: Exabytes & EIMS2019.

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

© 2021 GRVTY Media Pte. Ltd.
(UEN 201431998C.)