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J C Sum Interview on Money FM 89.3

On 8 June 2020, J C Sum, Strategy Consultant for Evolve & Adapt, was a guest on the radio show “Your Money With Michelle Martin” on Money FM 89.3.

He spoke on a wide range of topics from strategy, digital marketing, video streaming, search engine optimization (SEO) and the customer journey in the digital world.

He is the author of “Evolve, Adapt of Collapse: Bottom Line Marketing in a Digitally Evolving World

Click the image below to listen to the full interview.

Here are some of the highlights from the interview.

ON WHAT COMPANIES NEED TO KEEP IN MIND WHEN TRANSFORMING THEIR DIGITAL MARKETING TODAY

I think there are two things we need to take note of. One is the technical training of the new technologies and software for the staff. Now, these range from video conferencing apps, sharing data on a cloud service, or managing fulfillment on an online dashboard.

The staff needs time to learn and to get the whole team aligned.

The other area I think businesses need to focus on is educating the staff on the digital mindsets and customers’ behavior in the digital world.

For example, some ways that customers have changed in the new economy include the ease of research, the expectation due to the abundance of choice, increased convenience, and the expectation of higher customer service.”

ON KEY FACTORS THAT MOVE CUSTOMERS FROM "CONSIDERATION" TO "PURCHASE" OF THE SALES FUNNEL

“In consideration, what businesses want is for customers to invest in their product or service to purchase their product instead of the competitors, or maybe they might even decide to do it themselves as possible.

Purchase, of course, it’s when the customer clicks the button to buy and to pay for it.

So the two ways that you can increase conversions, the first is good content. That means making sure that all the information on the product and service is available online in multiple media, where to conduct texts, images, infographics, videos, and audio.

Remember, this is the information age. So you have to share as much information as possible, making it easy for your customer to find so that they can decide on whether they want to invest in your product or service.

Now, to really get them to click and to make that purchase, you want to have a good offer.

So, a good offer is to motivate a purchase such as maybe a free delivery, money-back guarantee, a warranty, a time-sensitive discount or a voucher for the next purchase. All these are examples to get them to really hit that “buy” button.”

ON THE GROWING TREND OF LIVESTREAMING

“Live streaming falls under video marketing, which has an uptick in the world of digital marketing.

At this point, it’s very personality-driven usually by owners of small businesses or entrepreneurs. So, large businesses will need to figure out who they can have at the forefront and who understands how to connect with the audience of the video.

And I think the thing they need to do also is how to monetize and convert the live stream into business or into sales.

We have, of course, live streaming platforms like Twitch for gamers. YouTube has live streaming capabilities as well as Facebook Live. 

So, a lot of ways you make money is through monetization on the platform, but you need to have a large following or viewership to be able to make money or even to get monetized in the first place.

So businesses, if they intend to do live streaming, they have to figure out how to direct the customers to their online sales page to make a purchase, sign up on a website to get them on the sales funnel or direct them to a physical store, if they have one, to make a purchase.

But one thing they have to note. Live streaming may work for some businesses, but you have to research and test your market to see if it’s a form of digital marketing that fits your business.

So, don’t just jump on the bandwagon.”

ON GOING DIGITAL

“I think one of the main points I made in my book is that digital is not just the strategy and strategy is not just going digital. And what that means is going digital is not going to magically transform your business.

Going digital is necessary to evolve and adapt, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. You should also not just blindly follow what other companies are doing to digitally transform.

You need to research, strategize, and see what going digital means for your business.

In terms of marketing, unless your business is completely online, more than likely you need alignment between traditional marketing and digital marketing. That is what’s known as hybrid marketing, but that is a subject for a whole other conversation.

So, my recommendation is to read my book.”

ON KEY LESSONS THAT DIGITAL MARKETERS CAN LEARN ABOUT USING MULTICHANNEL COMMUNICATION EFFECTIVELY

Multi-channel communication is really trying to hit your audience on different levels. There are different types of digital marketing, whether it’s search engine optimization, paid advertising, email marketing, influencer marketing.

What you really need to do as a business is you need to know which types of digital marketing fits your business model and your audience.

That is why my team developed this digital marketing self-test, which is a free online assessment that businesses can determine what types of digital marketing fits their business and what digital gaps they need to fill.”

ON HOW COMPANIES CAN CREATE A STRONG ONLINE BRAND IMAGE AND POSITION THEMSELVES AS RELEVANT TODAY

“One thing that brands need to take note of is, while you’re in the online space, the traditional marketing strategy doesn’t change.

The principles of building brand equity is the same, but of course, you are doing it in the digital space. So the principles are the same, the strategy is the same, but your tactics may be a bit different to really make it relevant for the digital space.

So then, it goes back to the channels. Where is your audience? As a business, you need to identify what’s your audience profile, what channels are there. Are they on social media? And if they’re on social media, which platform are they on? Then you want to make your brand really prominent on those platforms.

And you do so by sharing good content that will connect with your audience, that will engage them, that will communicate with them, and ultimately, sell and market to them.”

ON HOW BUSINESSES CAN TAP ON THE GROWING E-COMMERCE MARKET

“Well, I think, yes, everyone wants a piece of this pie. How do I get this pie? Do I just build a website?

Building a website, having an e-commerce site, which is what we call responsive and just works well on the desktop and mobile is very important.

User experience is very important to make sure that people can navigate your site easily. It should be easy to purchase something or to look for information. This keeps them coming back.

What’s also very important is the search engine optimization. And that is a very fancy word to say that, how do you get ranked on Google?

People search for products/services related to your business. You want to appear on page one or two of Google.

There are two types of optimization.

One is search engine optimization. The other one is search engine marketing.

Search engine optimization is more organic growth. You can’t really pay money, but you can pay a consultant maybe to help you optimize your website.

In terms of paying for ad space to get the mindset so that you appear in these first three results of Google, although there’s a fine print of an ad next to your search results. You can do that through search ads.”

ON WHAT EXCITES HIM IN THE FIELD GOING FORWARD

“I think in the digital space, what is always changing is the evolution of technology, right? And that’s what makes it so exciting.

Someone’s always going to come up with a better mousetrap to engage an audience, to touch an audience, to have these conversions and build your brand value.

So, that’s always very exciting to see in how you can then apply those technologies, whether they’re apps or software or different online tools that you can apply to your own business to capture your audience and increase sales.”

ON HOW CROSS CULTURAL DIFFERENCES AFFECT DIGITAL MARKETING

“I think definitely, every market would be different. Singapore, no different.

Now, a lot of the people who are at the forefront of digital marketing and engaging the audience tend to be from the west. So we apply a lot of the techniques, and then we try to optimize and refine them for our local tastes.

It’s true. Singaporeans may be a bit more impatient, but some are tried and true methods. So we do try to model after excellence, and then we optimize as we go along.

Digital marketing is very data-driven. We see how people are reacting to emails or ads, and then we tweak and optimize accordingly.”

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 11 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing and analytics. He is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse" and has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938 and Money FM 89.3.

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