In this article

Many businesses would already be laying down plans on how to survive another year with the pandemic potentially still around.

With this in mind, the team at OpenAcademy decided, “What if we were able to bring 100 industry experts together and get them to share business and marketing insights for 2021 to help businesses?” 

After brainstorming and reaching out to industry experts, they put together a free guide of tips, advice, insights, and lessons from 100 seasoned marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners mostly from Southeast Asia.

Marketing At Their Core

OpenAcademy is a data-driven martech (marketing + technology) consultancy company based in Malaysia and Hong Kong. 

Dictionary Time: The difference between martech and digital marketing is that martech is the technology—the hardware, software, and platform—behind what someone uses to market, whereas digital marketing is online marketing. In other words, you can use martech to do digital marketing.


It’s an extension of their mother company, OpenMinds, a digital marketing consultancy startup. It was started by Jan Wong, who made it into the Forbes 30 under 30 Asia list in 2017.

The team at OpenMinds / Image Credit: OpenMinds

When the company turned 7 in 2019, they expanded to include education as a service they’re providing, which was how OpenAcademy came into being, according to BeamStart.

On their site, you can find educational courses like digital marketing, creatives, tech upskill, and analytics. As of now, the only classes available are digital marketing and creatives, with the other two coming soon.

What You Can Expect From The Guide

In this guide, readers can expect to see titbit tips and advice from local big names like myBurgerLab, Fave, Biji-Biji Initiative, Munchy’s, and Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU), to name a few. 

Besides these local big names, readers can also expect to see tips from international big names like Sephora, Baskin Robbins, Techstars, and Carousell, as well as brands we’ve written about before like Piktochart, Fuhla, and BloomThis.

As the focus of this guide was quick helpful tips, they’re not too long and some are more general than others. Here are some snippets of examples you can find:

“Brands should look out for collaboration opportunities with companies that can leverage on each other’s strength in creative ways,” Andy Ng, CEO of FourbyFORE by FOREFRONT, a creative digital agency, shared. This is something that we know works, because it’s what brands like Pestle & Mortar Clothing actively do to grow their brand.

“If a brand’s target market focuses on youth and young adults, the eSports and gaming market is one of the fastest-growing markets worth investing in Southeast Asia,” said Constance Lim, founder of MEGPLAY, an eSport community hub.

“Social enterprises should also focus on nurturing the community that already exists to transform them into brand ambassadors who will further propagate the messages you share,” Rashvin Pal Singh, Group CEO of Biji-Biji Initiative, a social enterprise for sustainable living, said.

“It is important for brands to look into humanisation of the brand especially in this robotic world. People love to buy from people,” Khushboo Nangalia, founder of Beyond99, a digital marketing agency, stated.

“Brands should start investing ads spend into micro-influencers, they may be small for now, best bet is they will grow bigger with more followings one day, we want to develop the relationship when they are starting out,” said Andrew Lee, CMO of influencer marketing company Komaci Network Sdn Bhd.

“The ‘one-size-fits-all’ products and solutions will become increasingly obsolete. Hyper-personalisation/customisation for customers will become even more important following the acceleration of digital adoption in 2020,” said Dinesh Ratnam, Country Manager (Malaysia, Singapore, and Brunei) of iQIYI, an online video platform.


For the most part, a majority of the contributors to these insights stressed on the importance of business digitalisation.

This is arguably the most important pivot that most offline businesses will have to make for the year, so now is a good time for many of us to upskill or invest in digitalising. 

If you’d like access to the full guide, you can request a copy for free by registering here.

And if you’d still like to learn more from OpenAcademy, you could download its app and get more bite sized, on-the-go learning business insights from them.

  • You can read about OpenAcademy here and OpenMinds here.
  • You can learn about other tips to keep your business afloat in 2021 here.

Featured Image Credit: Freda Liu, emcee and author / Kimberly Wan, Otomate Me / Rashvin Pal Singh, Biji-Biji Initiative

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

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

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