Nick Annetts offers these tips for getting up to speed when developing a digital marketing strategy for your business.

Having worked agency side in Europe and Asia for most of my career, I’ve come across a variety of marketing directors, the good, the bad, and the clueless.

If that sound harsh, it is really not meant to be, it is more a product of job rotation, practiced by many large blue chip organizations. One minute somebody is in charge of product development or engineering, the next they are put in charge of marketing.

This problem tends to be amplified in the digital arena, where anybody with a Facebook account is seen as a digital expert and is dropped in to oversee a vitally important piece of the marketing mix.

Here is my key digital toolkit, and how you should use it.


You’ll need dedicated digital staff, who at a minimum, use and understand the digital elements. They should be on multiple social media, have experienced e-commerce, and be able to name their favorite website (don’t employ anyone who answers, Google).


One of the few digital assets every brand should own is a website – this is a brand's digital shop window. But like any shop window it needs maintenance and changing. This will also help the website get pushed up the Google search rankings. 

If you are building a new site, or re-vamping an old one, make sure it is mobile optimized – as most of your future traffic is likely to come from mobile devices. This is particularly important in mobile-first Asia, where in some parts of the region, smartphone adoption has now overtaken computer adoption. 

Time and Planning

Websites, banners, apps, all take time to develop and implement. They have to be correct (Read more...) a multitude of platforms and devices, and because of this they need testing.

Plan ahead.

Digital Media

You need digital media – it is no good having a party and forgetting to give out the invitations. At a minimum, consider Google AdWords and Facebook ads.

And if you think sticking a television commercial on YouTube is a good use of media spend, then you’re missing more than a trick or two. To avoid other faux pas in digital, see my Seven Deadly Sins of Digital Marketing.

Social Media

Facebook may be the norm in many western markets, but across APAC this has perhaps the biggest question mark in the mix.

If you are in Southeast Asia, the chances are you’ll need to be on Facebook, especially for markets like Thailand and Indonesia.

This is where your customers hang out in vast numbers and with an incredible frequency. Use it as a platform to get key messages and content across and to drive to your own website or assets.

If you open a Facebook page, make sure you have a plan and resources to maintain it going forward.

If you advertise on Facebook, make sure you use different creative and messaging – don’t waste the incredible targeting opportunities. Make sure the team who run your Facebook page are linked into sales, marketing and PR activity, and vice versa.

Other social media includes Twitter, which should be avoided for campaigns, unless you have an expert team on board to manage it.

For YouTube, this can be useful, and it has some unique functionality, but could you use Facebook video instead?

Line, which is hugely popular in Southeast Asia is expensive, but can be impactful for specific campaigns. 

Instagram is picture based, and as the saying goes: A picture paints a thousand words. Instagram is especially useful for fashion or luxury products. But the visuals need to be unique and thumb stopping.

Social Listening

Social listening is the rude practice of snooping in on people’s conversations. From a digital marketing context, it is nice to have, but not a real necessity (unless it’s for crisis management).

Listening still won’t capture what goes on in private conversations or on peer-to-peer networks like Line and WhatsApp.


Digital widens the opportunities to collect data. This will open the door for future conversations. But make sure you get the right contact permissions, and store the data securely.


Personalize and segment the message where possible. And use a deployment tool – not your own account or servers. If anything goes wrong you will be blacklisted and have future problems. Remember keep it short, you can always link to other assets.


For this, bring in the experts.

Viral Videos

Viral strategies are hit and miss (mostly miss). So don’t ask your agency to do a video and make it viral.

And never build a plan around having a hugely successful viral video.

Digital Spend

If you’re not spending upwards of 10 percent of the marketing budget on digital, there’s a problem. Ideally it should be somewhere around the 15 percent to 20 percent mark.

Consumer Centricity

Finally, download the apps, scan the barcodes, take the surveys etc. If it's not working for you, it probably won't work for your consumers. Keep everything consumer centric, and as simple as possible.

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