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Marketing your business

by Samar Al-Montser

Founder of a word-of-mouth marketing group, Rootwommers, Camelia Tan Sri Ya’acob, will be speaking at WIEF Women Entrepreneurs Strategic Workshop on 28 – 30 August 2018 in Tamu Hotel & Suites, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and at the Minds of Marketing Conference 2018. Here, she shares her thoughts on the future of marketing and points out three do’s and don’ts for entrepreneurs.

In today’s competitive media environment, grabbing audience attention is becoming increasingly difficult. Marketers know this and know exactly what they’re up against. That’s one of the reasons for the high demand of new marketing strategies and workshops. But, exactly how important is marketing for a business and how’s it evolving?

Camelia Tan Sri Ya’acob, founder of Rootwommers

Marketing specialist, Camelia Tan Sri Ya’acob, will be helping women entrepreneurs keep up with the marketing pace this 28 – 30 Aug 2018 at WIEF Women Entrepreneurs Strategic Workshop in Tamu Hotel & Suites, Kuala Lumpur.

With over two decades of experience in business operations and management, Camelia is a self-made Malaysian entrepreneur. She believes marketing is the life line of a business that doesn’t stop. She likens it to a tsunami that builds up over a period of time and then breaks inland. ‘Marketing is establishing relationships of trust, credibility and customer loyalty to a brand over a period of time and it’s long term,’ she says.

As an avid believer in word-of-mouth marketing, she founded Rootwommers in 2012 to provide services in business marketing. Through Rootwommers, she connects networks for SME companies in Malaysia and Singapore and trains SME startups to scale up in modern marketing systems.

Here, Camelia shares her expertise on the subject.

Minds of Marketing Conference 2018

What are the most effective marketing strategies?
People are slowly realising that marketing differs from sales. Marketing is the journey between the beginning of a transaction that ends with the sales. It has evolved as customers’ needs now precede the sales not vice versa.

All marketing strategies are useful and effective provided that they’re applied and done correctly. One of the prevalent marketing strategies today involve strong content understanding, focused on a target market and an understanding of customer needs. Using technology is a good marketing alternative but it still has its fair share of issues.

How will marketing change in the next 20 years?
As more attitudes towards marketing change, the marketing industry changes too. Technology and disruptive marketing play a huge part in this marketing development. As businesses evolve to compete with one another, different marketing approaches will be tested. More professional marketers are emphasising on the humanising of business. This means that customer consideration, needs and relationships are imperative and should come first instead of short term sales approach which leaves nothing much to be desired.

At what stage is marketing most important for a business?
A marketing plan is most important for a business as soon as its product is decided. The marketing direction, the target market and industry need to be compiled right from the very inception of the idea.

Time management also plays a big part. Once the marketing plan is mapped out, the time to bring in the sales can be calculated to indicate speed of growth or otherwise. Time is not lost.

How does digital/online marketing differ from offline marketing?
Technology is the key because customer reach is global. A laptop is the store where all transactions are carried out. The laptop screen is the retail front of the store where customers communicate and transactions are finalised by pushing buttons. They do attract customers especially those who are extremely busy or stay-at-home parents who have the luxury to shop without leaving their homes.

Many prefer offline marketing which is done directly through people and uses both intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. But, many people who do business today prefer online marketing as they don’t need to deal with people face to face. Offline marketing requires people skills and transactions are done verbally and a lot of times in person. There are constant developments as people weave through different situations to conduct their businesses. Offline marketing is still effective and will always be impactful as long as there are people around.

How does today’s consumer market affect marketing strategies?
Consumers are even more connected and well informed now than they were a few years ago. They’re definitely in a better position to be aware of short term sales strategies. A close-knit community affects the marketing strategies positively as they’re well prepared for word-of-mouth marketing. Consumers are able to plan effectively as their knowledge in specific marketing strategies is discussed and budgeted.

What are your three do’s and don’ts of marketing?
Do have a marketing plan before starting a business, start marketing a business three to six months before launching the business and do consistent networking. Don’t upsell, just educate your customers. Don’t forget to leave home with a people skills booklet in the back pocket and don’t forget to follow up with all your customers consistently.

Are companies in Southeast Asia aware of the importance of marketing?
There’s a third world mentality towards making marketing inclusive in a company, as marketing is considered a waste of time, money and effort. The level of awareness towards the importance of marketing in most companies, if measured from a range of one to 10, is at four.

They assume marketing is done by the big boys who have the budget. However, if we don’t educate money making sectors and industries to invest in marketing and marketing knowledge we’ll certainly be at a disadvantage. We won’t be able to compete in certain sectors and sales will drip in not pour in.

How can this awareness be heightened?
The awareness is heightened when companies begin to realise that a portion of their income or profits, or both, are not in their bank account but in their competitors’ bank account. That wakeup call is always realised once a project or job is allocated to the other parties but by then it’s too late.

Education and knowledge in marketing is the key. All companies should constantly update, upgrade themselves, learn skills and be aware of the power of marketing. When due respect is given to the length and breadth of marketing activities, companies will be able to compete vertically and horizontally.

Minds of Marketing Conference 2018 is a result of Rootwommers marketing endeavour. The conference is curated with marketing information and knowledge presented by experts and practitioners. Easy to understand and applicable materials will be accessible to all who attend.


For more from speakers like  Camelia Tan Sri Ya’acob and other women entrepreneurs visit:
Photo credit: NeONBRAND

17 Aug 2018
Last modified: 20 Aug 2018
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