Creating an effective media campaign for your company means making the most of TV, web, radio, and print, but also understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each kind of media. In an emerging market like Cambodia, media tastes are changing rapidly as consumers become more educated, trend savvy, and digitally literate.
Whereas 3.1% of Cambodians used the internet five years ago, the ubiquitous availability of cellphones and the access to affordable and reliable mobile internet has boosted internet penetration, which has now reached 40%. However, as most internet users are still concentrated in urban areas, companies may find that the most effective media campaign will also use traditional outlets like TV, radio, and print to reach Cambodia’s primarily rural population.
In such a challenging environment, it’s important to have a strategy before you start your media campaign. This means ticking some key boxes, plotting your course, and also thinking about whether you want to bring on professional help with your campaign. Keep in mind as well that moderate investments in the beginning can have a huge impact down the line and give your brand an advantage over your competitors.
Measuring your impact
Before starting any media campaign, set up metrics to measure the success of your campaign – otherwise you are advertising blindly. Knowing what works best and where to spend advertising dollars will only help your company to grow.
“You need a combination of qualitative and quantitative data. While you are working on the communication strategy, set up Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which you will gauge the results of the campaign,” says Laurent Notin, managing director at Brains Communications in Phnom Penh. Important KPIs include measurements like brand awareness, market share, click through rates, and A/B testing.
“Use consumer research and online analytical tools to collect such data. Continuously monitor the results, find out what is working from what is not, so you can regularly fine tune your communication strategy,” he adds.
If this sounds too technical, consider hiring professionals to help you with this task, as they will have access to larger bodies of data against which to measure your KPIs and access to other consumer data trends.
In the social media age, many companies may think they only need a Facebook account and a Twitter handle to market their brand, but it’s a mistake to skimp on the basics. A permanent website is necessary to anchor your brand on the web and provide a digital storefront, says Mary Lüthy-Hui, interim managing director of Web Essentials.
A Facebook page, unfortunately, cannot make up for this web essential as it only includes a limited amount of information. Social media can, however, and should complement a website.
“For a successful web presence, it is crucial that the business focuses on creating relevant and good content, which includes text, images, and campaigns. When choosing a partner to build your web presence, look out for a company that can bring together all those aspects and walk you through the entire process,” says Lüthy-Hui.
When you think about redesigning your website, it is not time to save money at the wrong places, especially when you handle private user data. “My suggestion for businesses is to avoid cheap hosting services because though the prices are attractive, they do not ensure the safety of the confidential data of your users. Also, technology changes over time and similarly your website will need to be maintained in order to keep up with these updates. Invest in purchasing a good maintenance agreement which will save you a lot of hassle once your website is live and needs changes or has problems,” says Lüthy-Hui.
Use social media the right way
Facebook can be an effective marketing tool, but only if it’s used the right way. Consider that while it is Cambodia’s largest social media community, with more than 3,750,000 active users, most of those belong to the 18-30 age group in Phnom Penh.
According to Peang Mann, Managing Director of IMS Consulting Group, reaching out to the mass market, including rural and older consumers, requires the use of different kinds of media. This means that, depending on your target audience, you can’t just rely on Facebook to share news about your brand.
Spamming and inappropriate posts can also end up detracting from the value of your brand, while well-timed and clever ads can bring in new customers. This is why it is essential to follow established best practices when using advertising and content updates on Facebook, adds Peang Mann.
“Based on the activities of many brand pages in Cambodia it is clear a large percentage of companies have limited understanding of Facebook’s strict regulations. Eventually a lot of them will be suspended unless they change the way they market their brand content. This is not just related to local companies. Even some of the largest multinational brands in this market also manage their Facebook pages in very risky and, in some cases, unethical ways,” he explains.
Another important aspect to be aware of is that social media posts have a very short shelf-life by their very nature, says Lüthy-Hui. “Everything that is posted on Facebook is time-limited. Therefore, Facebook is a great tool to advertise change, new products or services, discounts, happenings, current knowledge, and to engage a community. The website should be the place where company and product information is stored and shared with customers,” she advises.
Multiple media platforms
Businesses from more developed markets are often not aware that in Cambodia media such as television, radio and print remain extremely effective ways to reach out to a diverse customer base.
While some may consider these mediums to be “old fashioned” deeper analysis of media scene shows that many traditional media sources have been successfully implementing cross-platform strategies to boost their audience reach.
The leading Khmer newspapers have progressed to publishing not only print versions but now harness the power of their own websites and Facebook pages to provide regular daily news updates to millions of readers online.
At the same time, TV stations have long since upgraded their systems to provide full HD programming while also implementing successful multi-media strategies via Facebook and YouTube to reinforce their relevance to the digital generation.
However, as most of Cambodia’s population live outside of urban areas and may not have access to 3G or 4G Internet, web-only campaigns – just like Facebook-only campaigns – will miss out on important demographics.
This is why Peang Mann recommends clearly defining brand and campaign objectives before consulting with an experienced advertising agency who can apply proprietary media evaluation tools help select the most effective channels for your requirements.
Also be aware that each kind of media has its varying strengths and weaknesses, and makes a different kind of statements, says Brains Communications’ Notin. “TV is a very good platform to create, raise and maintain brand awareness to a broad consumer base, but it needs to be supported with other advertising channels,” he says. Radio, he suggests, is another way to reach rural customers or people who are driving in cars on their way to work, and can complement a television ad.
Given the popularity of print media in Cambodia, advertisements in newspapers and magazines can also be a sound investment. “Print media are a good medium to display a brand’s value through well designed adverts, and to reach people who are reading – thus also a better educated and usually more solvent clientele,” says Notin.
A marketing partner can help you to navigate these different kinds of media, he also says. “I suggest to use the services of a communications agency to define and implement your communication strategy – which is not only about advertising, but also about brand image, public relations, and design. It will bring a wider range of expertise and specialised knowledge and will save time and money.”