B2B Marketers’ Top Five Mistakes


ASEAN is an economic powerhouse, with a combined GDP of US$2.8 trillion and a forecast growth rate for 2019 of 4.9 percent. And despite the impact of Covid-19, growth in several ASEAN countries is still projected to accelerate or stay stable this year, thanks to strong domestic demand. Here are five tips to help you succeed in this exciting and diverse market and avoid these B2B marketers top five mistakes:

#1 – Global content can only go so far.

The diversity of this region demands localised content – one size does not fit all. ASEAN markets differ in language, government agendas, hot media topics – and even taboo areas!

For tips on what communicators can do to make their global content relevant and work harder in the region’s markets, read 4 Tips to Get the Most Out of Great Brand Stories

#2 – Be sensitive to the nuances of local cultures.

Understanding the different cultures and business styles of the countries that make up ASEAN is crucial to any campaign. A programme that works in one market might well fall flat in others – often for reasons that are not obvious to those without regional experience. From managing a multi-country product launch to planning a regional media tour for your visiting CEO, you’ll need help navigating your way through this complex but rewarding maze.

For more tips around culture and nuances read We Know Asia: Culture & Diversity.

#3 – Product releases might hit a brick wall.

Product releases are not a favourite of ASEAN media, particularly the more mature markets of Singapore, KL and Hong Kong. They tend to be seen as promotional material for the company, and at times they are not easily understood. (It is however possible to get some traction in less advanced markets like Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and India, but the release will need to be translated into the local language.)

The solution is to articulate the business value the product brings to end users. Talk about how the new product will impact businesses in the region, rather than its multitude of features.

Think, too, about including assets like infographics and illustrations – visuals definitely help support the content.

#4 – It is not just about the business press.

Southeast Asia is home to a variety of trade and technology titles as well as Key Opinion Leaders Content and stories can be sliced and diced to cater to the different segments. The dedicated trade or technology media might be a better channel to reach your audience, and online media, too, should not be overlooked. Southeast Asia’s citizens are among the world’s most avid consumers of social media, and carefully crafted messages can grab attention and invite the reader to link to more detailed content.

#5 – Putting a face to the brand.

In Southeast Asia, it is crucial for brands to have a face. This is to showcase the company’s commitment to the region, still seen as critical to brand credibility. It is useful to have a local head or country manager that the media can relate to – provided he or she is properly media-trained.

Alternatively, a Southeast Asia spokesperson who understands what customers are saying on the ground can be invaluable to the refinement of a marketing communications programme.

The COVID-19 virus is obviously impacting the region and affecting the way brands plan and execute PR programmes. There are alternatives that can be put in place to ensure the show goes on; we’ll be covering some of these in the next post in our series.

Southeast Asia is undoubtedly a challenge for the communicator who comes to the market with fixed ideas on how things should be done. But by keeping an open mind and addressing the challenges first hand, you will soon find that it is an exciting, dynamic and rewarding region for the practice of PR or media relations.

If you want to avoid making these B2B marketers top five mistakes but not sure where to start, reach out to us at enquiries@changemandate.tech for a consultation.