Digital Marketing 101 for SMEs

At this year’s BarCamp DigiTech in Battambang, digital marketing expert Hak Kimthong spoke about the importance of effective digital marketing in business.
Battambang hosted BarCamp DigiTech for the first time
Battambang hosted BarCamp DigiTech for the first time
“There is no 100 percent success in digital marketing, but business owners need to adopt the mentality that if they truly believe in their company and are aware of its requirements and weaknesses, they can grow it successfully,” Hak Kimthong told the audience at BarCamp DigiTech in Battambang this month.

Komthong said that digital marketing has many different platforms. It demands a great deal of knowledge about target audiences and methods to be effective. Digital marketing is a skill, not graphic design, businesses should not allow graphic design and Information Technology (IT) to handle marketing as their skills lack business and marketing strategy knowledge.

Hak Kimthong, founder of Komnit, which specializes in digital marketing services, said that the government is trying to promote Industry 4.0, which is centered on technology automation. ​Whether people like it or not, it will make people adopt technology in many aspects of daily life.

“In the digital age, big data is more significant than ever. Data is the new energy resource that controls the world,” Kimthong said.

Why is digital marketing essential for SMEs?

Digital marketing is the practice of promoting goods and services to customers using digital means. This kind of marketing uses websites, mobile devices, social media, search engines, and other channels with similar functions.

A digital marketing campaign must inform, educate, encourage, consider, and create a loyal audience. Nowadays, a lot of businesses invest in digital marketing to encourage customers to buy their goods.

"Digital marketing is not only about shooting pretty pictures and cool graphics; it also needs to be creative, original, concept-driven, and target customers. Doing digital marketing needs to be outstanding,” Kimthong said.

Smart businesses create attractive content that is shared on social media and search engine indexing. Others like to read it and share words about it, creating a large audience.

In our daily lives, almost everything around us is considered a digital trace. Big Data collects all digital data into a database that can then be used to evaluate and resell services.​

Big data has affected many industries, including businesses, technology, agriculture and health. It can be used in many forms between users and managerial requirements, which can target customers and encourage additional strategic decisions in the business. Big data enables businesses to better understand their customers to enhance customer service and marketing initiatives.

Business owners need to identify talent who are knowledgeable in digital marketing techniques, such as content marketing, data analytics, UI and graphic design, videographers and video editors, e-commerce, media buyers and paid media specialists, email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), and branding experts.

Kimthong said, “There are many different skills needed, so business owners must employ many people to work and spend a lot. But before hiring anybody, they must learn more about this issue in order to start up a business.”

Owners who lack digital expertise are more susceptible to fraud from service providers who promise them more page likes, followers, and blue ticks because they are less successful at marketing, and the expense of running a larger page increases with page size, he added.

“[There is] no need to employ a specialized agency, we only need to be aware of the gaps in our digital marketing strategy in order to lessen expenses, we may hire a freelancer, handle it ourselves, or produce our own content,” said Kimthong.

The first revolution was the era of production orientation, marked by mass production. The company at the time believed that consumers would be prepared to pay for a wide range of available and affordable items. As a result, its efforts were focused on boosting output rather than quality to reduce costs and increase sales, and manufacturers have resorted to mass production methods.

Next, he discussed businesses concentrated on marketing efforts to undercut rivals and promote low pricing. Sales strategies became more competitive as more businesses entered the market, and businesses were more concerned with sales volume than with consumer satisfaction.

The industry shifted at another stage, when the company understood that focusing only on large sales can make customers unhappy. Therefore, the company's marketing strategy required defining what its target market wants and then designing initiatives to suit those needs. It also has to do with giving customers more gratification than its rivals.

Social marketing is also important in the present. Businesses must emphasize creating plans that positively impact the environment and their customers. The product should not be made with natural consequences in the long-term, rather than satisfying customers’ short-term needs.

Then digital marketing began to emerge. It combines the first to fourth stages. Since the early 1990s, humanity has had access to the Internet, which has led companies to move to digital networks to reach target customers successfully.