Mar­ket­ing in dig­i­tal space

New Straits Times - - Higher ED - Rsani@nst.com.my De­sign and de­vel­op­ment of web­sites and/or apps Con­tent de­vel­op­ment and op­ti­mi­sa­tion So­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing Mo­bile mar­ket­ing

ROZANA SANI

MALAYSIAN In­ter­net users have an av­er­age of four so­cial me­dia ac­counts — among which would prob­a­bly be What­sApp, Face­book, YouTube, WeChat or In­sta­gram — all top so­cial me­dia plat­forms for Malaysians.

YouTube is the num­ber 1 so­cial me­dia plat­form in Malaysia, with Face­book a close se­cond and What­sApp in the third spot. Out of 22 mil­lion Face­book users in Malaysia, 56 per cent are male and 44 per cent are fe­male.

But, de­spite be­ing in the dig­i­tal age and hav­ing an In­ter­net-savvy pop­u­la­tion, e-com­merce sales pen­e­tra­tion is only 1.1 per cent of to­tal re­tail sales. This is pro­jected to grow to 5.4 per cent in 2025.

Th­ese are in­ter­est­ing facts for busi­nesses to take note, said James Ho, who is the co-founder and chief ex­ec­u­tive of train­ing and de­vel­op­ment outfit Click­A­cademy Asia.

Reach­ing out to cus­tomers via tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing may no longer cut it for most prod­ucts and ser­vices, said Ho. In­stead they would have to look to dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing and this re­quires com­pa­nies to have per­son­nel who are adept at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing.

“Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is a tac­tic un­der the broad field of mar­ket­ing. It refers to mar­ket­ing us­ing dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies like so­cial me­dia search en­gines, web­sites, mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions, vir­tual re­al­ity or other dig­i­tal plat­forms.

“Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing has been trend­ing for the last 10 years as con­sumers change the way they find, re­search and buy goods and ser­vices due to the in­creas­ing adop­tion of dig­i­tal plat­forms. As con­sumers be­come more tech savvy, mar­keters can­not just rely on tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing such as through news­pa­pers, tele­vi­sion, bill­boards, mag­a­zines and fly­ers. Mar­keters need to adopt new dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tech­nolo­gies to be rel­e­vant and con­tinue reach­ing and in­flu­enc­ing their cus­tomers and prospects,” he ex­plained.

The ubiq­ui­tous in­flu­ence of the In­ter­net of Things with the help of tech­nolo­gies such as wire­less, mo­bile, wear­ables and more, have cre­ated unimag­in­able op­por­tu­ni­ties for mar­ket­ing and mar­keters around the globe, said Pro­fes­sor San­jaya S. Gaur who heads the Depart­ment of Mar­ket­ing at Sun­way Univer­sity School of Busi­ness.

“To­day peo­ple are con­sum­ing more dig­i­tal con­tent ev­ery se­cond and that, too, in real time. Peo­ple would al­ways want faster, eco­nom­i­cal and more con­ve­nient ways to sat­isfy their needs, wants and pref­er­ences. Dig­i­tal me­dia has em­pow­ered to­day’s con­sumers in a de­sired man­ner and thus, con­sumers are able to buy de­sired prod­ucts at de­sired prices from de­sired providers at de­sired times.

“Mar­keters had al­ways faced the chal­lenge of iden­ti­fy­ing the right seg­ments to tar­get and ap­pro­pri­ate of­fer­ings for the iden­ti­fied mar­kets. Dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies have en­abled mar­keters to meet this chal­lenge in an ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient man­ner. This has caused the trend­ing of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing,” he elab­o­rated.

To be in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing, San­jaya said both spe­cial­ist and gen­eral skills are re­quired.

Gen­eral dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing skills in the area of mar­ket­ing strat­egy, brand man­age­ment, chan­nel man­age­ment, dy­namic pric­ing and in­te­grated mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion are needed for se­nior man­age­rial po­si­tions. Spe­cific tech­ni­cal skills are re­quired to man­age con­tent, search en­gine op­ti­mi­sa­tion (SEO), search en­gine mar­ket­ing (SEM), email mar­ket­ing, mo­bile mar­ket­ing, mar­ket­ing an­a­lyt­ics, user ex­pe­ri­ence (UX) and so­cial me­dia (en­abled by web 2.0, web 3.0, web 4.0, web 5.0 and so on).

“The dig­i­tal mar­keters with the help of ap­pro­pri­ate tech­nol­ogy plat­forms work to in­crease brand aware­ness, pro­mote com­pany goods and or ser­vices, set prices, deal with com­ple­tion, and fa­cil­i­tate the sales. They also look into the place­ment of ad­ver­tise­ments us­ing var­i­ous tech­ni­cal plat­forms and in­te­gra­tion of com­mu­ni­ca­tion across chan­nels, cross-plat­form mar­ket­ing, and re­port­ing and manag­ing re­turns on in­vest­ment (ROI) of dig­i­tal strate­gies and ac­tions,” he said.

There are many job op­por­tu­ni­ties for dig­i­tal mar­keters to­day. The hot ones are data an­a­lysts, so­cial me­dia mar­keters, UX/UI spe­cial­ists (user ex­pe­ri­ence/user in­ter­face), and pro­gram­matic me­dia buy­ing. Ac­cord­ing to www.payscale. com, the me­dian salary for a dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing man­ager in Malaysia is RM96,541 per year. In the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing space, the salary ranges from RM42,000 to RM200,000 per year de­pend­ing on the ex­pe­ri­ence. So when and how should a univer­sity grad­u­ate skill up on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing — dur­ing univer­sity or af­ter get­ting a de­gree or job ex­pe­ri­ence? Ho and San­jaya are of two dif­fer­ing opin­ions.

“When at univer­sity, at­tend course mod­ules re­lated to dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. There are also ex­ter­nal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, like Google AdWords cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, that a grad­u­ate can pur­sue in par­al­lel. How­ever, job ex­pe­ri­ence is ul­ti­mately im­por­tant as a good dig­i­tal mar­keter needs ex­po­sure to real world dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns and chal­lenges,” said Ho.

“Dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is best learned through spe­cial­ist dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing train­ing academies. Most uni­ver­si­ties do not of­fer prac­tice-ori­ented dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing train­ing. There are many un­branded work­shops you can at­tend in dig­i­tal or so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing, but noth­ing beats a brand name cer­ti­fi­ca­tion you can add to your re­sume. At the very least, at­tain a glob­ally recog­nised cer­tifi­cate,” he high­lighted.

Mean­while, San­jay said ac­quir­ing dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing skills is best done while study­ing at univer­sity MAR­KET­ING is the process of an­tic­i­pa­tion, man­age­ment and sat­is­fac­tion of the needs, wants and de­sires and pref­er­ences of peo­ple through so­cial ex­change. DIG­I­TAL MAR­KET­ING is about the use of dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies (ie email, In­ter­net, wire­less, smart­phones, IPTV, apps, so­cial me­dia, etc) to en­able mar­ket­ing for to­day’s busi­nesses.

Web­site op­ti­mi­sa­tion

Search en­gine mar­ket­ing

Email mar­ket­ing where one gets free ac­cess to the lat­est tech­nol­ogy, re­lated re­search, ex­per­tise, guid­ance and en­vi­ron­ment to ac­quire th­ese skills. But be­cause of the rapidly evolv­ing field of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy, work­ers need to keep up­skilling them­selves even af­ter get­ting a de­gree and while on the job.

“The dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing course at Sun­way Univer­sity Busi­ness School, for ex­am­ple, in­tro­duces students to var­i­ous mar­ket­ing the­o­ries and con­cep­tual frame­works that are of­ten used in dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing con­text by both on­line busi­ness-to-con­sumer (B2C) and on­line busi­ness-to-busi­ness (B2B) play­ers. Students also learn to eval­u­ate, de­sign and in­te­grate the ap­pro­pri­ate dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tools and ac­tiv­i­ties to meet spe­cific mar­ket­ing ob­jec­tives. Proper un­der­stand­ing, strate­gis­ing, de­sign­ing, and the in­te­gra­tion of ap­pro­pri­ate dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tools and ac­tiv­i­ties is ex­pected to en­able students to see a big­ger pic­ture of busi­ness’s us­age of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing cam­paigns.”

For Jayasilen Si­vapra­gasam, 32, a busi­ness unit man­ager at Al­terni — an Aus­tralian health­care com­pany pro­vid­ing nat­u­ral health sup­ple­ments which is a sub­sidiary of biotech outfit Holista Coll­tech, up­skilling to have dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing skills via cer­ti­fi­ca­tion has al­lowed him to cre­ate new chan­nels to reach out to cus­tomers.

“As a com­pany that com­mu­ni­cates and pro­vide ser­vices di­rectly to con­sumers, our dig­i­tal pres­ence is im­por­tant as a ma­jor­ity of our tar­get au­di­ence do their re­search on­line be­fore pur­chase, re­gard­less on­line or off­line. In the case of the health­care in­dus­try, con­tent mar­ket­ing is the most im­por­tant method for us to reach out and gain cus­tomers’ in­ter­est and ap­peal to their de­sire. There­fore, it is im­por­tant for us to be in th­ese key mo­ments and plat­forms of cus­tomer re­search to in­spire peo­ple to buy our prod­uct or ser­vice,” said the biotech grad­u­ate who now holds an MBA as well as an Econ­sul­tancy UK Cer­tifi­cate in Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing and Con­tent Mar­ket­ing for Web, Mo­bile & So­cial Me­dia, Google Adwords & An­a­lyt­ics cer­tifi­cates.

And what does the fu­ture hold for him? “I fore­see head­ing the mar­ket­ing or IT depart­ment of a com­pany, if not the whole com­pany, of dif­fer­ent sizes and back­grounds to lay­out their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing blue­print in or­der for them to gain more on­line pres­ence and even­tu­ally to in­crease their rev­enue. Th­ese dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing skills may also be use­ful for me to start my own on­line or e-com­merce busi­ness with suf­fi­cient fund­ing,” he shared.

Click Acad­emy Train­ing in progress.

James Ho

San­jaya S. Gaur

Jayasilen Si­vapra­gasam

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