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How to Up Your Marketing Game

  • Xprenia and t.Hub launched the third webinar of their weekly series
  • Shelby Tee, Managing Partner of BlackStorm Consulting, was invited to share her insights
  • The topic of the week was “How to Up Your Marketing Game”
  • Shelby covered 2 observations and 3 key trends of how Marketing has changed

3 June 2021: Shelby Tee, Managing Partner of BlackStorm Consulting, was cordially invited to share her insights on the topic of the evening — How to Up Your Marketing Game. Organised by Xprenia, a Singapore-based e-learning platform that features industrial insights, and t.Hub, a start-up accelerator based in Taiwan, the weekly webinar features a different topic every week, discussing what entrepreneurs and business owners have on their minds. BlackStorm Consulting is a Singapore-based business scaler that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and market entry in Southeast Asia.

Speaking on “How to Up Your Marketing Game”, Shelby tapped on her decade-long experience in retail marketing and project management, which has helped her quickly identify clients’ needs and satisfy them to the best of her ability. Her experience in various industries can help identify the relevant stakeholders to form a continuous connection through the appropriate marketing strategy.

Content covered by Shelby in this week’s webinar included:

  1. The Observations
  2. Three Key Trends
  3. Four Levels of Marketing
  4. Case Study: Love, Bonito
  5. Takeaway

Shelby shared some of her observation over the past ten years since she embarked on her career to kickstart the webinar. She pointed out three things she had noticed — the growth of social media, the shifting away from brand ambassadors by companies, and marketing as a pillar of growth and support.

Shelby remarked that Facebook had started a new way for marketers to reach out to their audiences. Facebook started as a small player that was not seen as a very important marketing channel. Over the years, Facebook has scaled from a social media platform into one gaining momentum, snatching away advertising dollar away from the traditional media. Preferred social media channel for different countries and generations has become much clearer. Generation X tends to Facebook, whereas generation Z has abandoned Facebook altogether for Instagram and Tiktok.

Shelby also pointed out that the distress of brand ambassadors has also prompted brands to shift away to be represented by these public personalities. Under scrutiny by the media, any behaviour deemed drama-worthy are placed under the microscope and have far wider implications than any positivity that their ambassadorship could have brought.

In 2010, Proctor & Gamble decided to drop and not renew Tiger Wood’s endorsement after his divorce and a string of extramarital affairs. In Asia, the Italian luxury brand Prada has dropped three brand ambassadors, Irene and EXO’s Chanyeol from Korea and Zheng Shuang from China, within just 4 months from Oct 2020 to January this year. The inability of the companies and brands to control the personal lives of ambassadors has forced marketers to shorten their contract or replace the spokesperson with someone they have much more control over.

Lastly, Shelby noted the rising importance of marketing as a pillar for growth and support. Marketing has become increasingly complex with many social issues happening, from COVID-19, Black lives matter to the climate crisis. The marketing team has to transform their contribution to the organisation to be more accountable for the company growth and not just only contribute to the downstream activities on how and who to reach out to as their target audience.

In that regard, Shelby pointed out ways that marketers can create values for the company from a strategic and operational angle. Marketers serve as the conduit for feedback from external stakeholders, who can turn it into insights to be shared internally to facilitate the discovery of new products or new business models. The marketing team can thus create operational value for the company by sharing a common growth agenda.

Shelby highlighted that marketers have to redefine their approach. With the pandemic happening and working from home becoming a norm, marketers have been forced to go virtual. The speed at which things are going online is alarming. The marketer has relooked their methods to engage with all relevant stakeholders, ranging from customers, partners, and internal stakeholders, and weigh the pros and cons of reaching out to them online effectively.

Secondly, the line between how marketers can add value to the business and customer has blurred. Marketers have to take a step back and have a broader view of how individuals in the team can contribute to both areas. A campaign should not be seen as just promoting the products features, advantages, and benefits; it should incorporate company purpose and values, encompassing why the company is taking up a particular initiative with its introduction.

Lastly, Shelby opined that marketing should no longer solely rely on external third parties such as ambassador or celebrities to increase popularity. Increasing popularity through the celebration of the achievements of internal team members, ranging from management to managers, has begun to play a part in marketing plans. Marketers can consider letting the customer know the team behind the scenes bringing those products to their hands, leveraging their expertise, personalities, and personal values to be transferred and tied to the company brand.

Shelby shared that marketing can be done at an individual, team, or company level for organisations of any size. When they reach a certain size, it is possible to engage external stakeholders, such as industry associations and governmental bodies. Each level of marketing achieves a different purpose, but importantly, the values showcased by marketing efforts conducted at these 4 levels should be aligned.

Using the case study of Love Bonito, Shelby pointed out how even a small-and-medium enterprise can conduct 4-levelled marketing. Love Bonito is a Singapore-based online boutique founded by Rachel Lim and her close friends Viola and Velda Tan. Founded as BonitoChico in 2006, when e-commerce was still at its infancy, the pioneering fashion label selling chic, affordable womenswear boomed and was rebranded to Love, Bonito in 2010. Today, this S’pore brand is now a multi-million fashion powerhouse with over 200 employees, country offices in Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong, omnichannel presence across the 4 markets, retail franchise in Cambodia, and international e-commerce to 10 other markets.

To end off the webinar, Shelby summarised that marketers should be mindful of these 4 points:

  1. Consistent Repeat
  2. Keywords & Topics
  3. Digital Format
  4. All Levels

“Be mindful of the company values — that is all your organisation should be about,” Shelby shared.

With the digitisation of anything and everything, marketing must keep up with changing times by shifting into digital format. By repeating keywords and highlighting hot topics, businesses can adapt to changing forces and seek to market their offering on all 4 levels whenever applicable.

Watch the full video of the event.

To contact Shelby for her advisory, reach out to her on LinkedIn/Facebook/Clubhouse.

Xprenia (https://www.xprenia.com) is a one-stop e-learning platform that presents practical experience and materials from various industry experts with the aim to provide real-life case studies, insights, and know-how for easy application to all entrepreneurs. Our vision is to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem that promotes professional learning and be your one-stop business solution partner in Asia-Pacific.

t.Hub (https://www.t-hubtaipei.com) is located in Taipei City and sets the thriving Neihu Technology Park (NTP) as its starting point. t.Hub harnesses key partnerships with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and NTP’s advanced technology clusters to create a vibrant innovative start-up community. t.Hub’s transformative energy will lead the city to create smart cities through global cooperation.

t.Hub aims to combine the technological prowess of Neihu with the guidance and research resources of ITRI to assist start-ups. Entrepreneurs can thus find a friendly and conducive environment in the famed Taipei Technology Corridor. They could work with citizens to identify needs, share conveniences, and connect with the world through this innovative park.

BlackStorm Consulting (http://blackstormco.asia) is a Singapore-based boutique growth consultancy firm that specialises in corporate strategy, profit management and investment management. We scale businesses in Southeast Asia.

Our clients and connections are internationally present and range from small and medium sized businesses, MNCs, to government agencies.