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Do Malaysian businesses need Digital Marketing? The Malaysian E-Commerce Landscape: A study


Malaysian e-commerce landscape
The Malaysian e-commerce landscape

Malaysia actually has the 2nd highest amount of its citizens engaging in online shopping in South-East Asia, losing to Singapore just by several percentage points. But businesses as a whole are slow to catch up on the changes happening digitally, with the Malaysian Govt under the Malaysian Communications Multimedia Commission releasing its first-ever eCommerce Survey in 2018, 20 years after Paypal was introduced and eCommerce took the world by storm in the early 2000s dot com craze.

But despite its long history (long in internet years, at least), Digital Marketing has only been around for perhaps 5-10 years. Digital Marketing is so new as a concept, it has traditionally been people studying in IT and webmasters who eventually see the patterns of online behaviour, dubbing themselves as Digital Marketers, leaving actual Marketers behind. This new Digital Marketing sphere has ballooned to an industry worth RM2.24 billion, and shows no signs of slowing at an almost 3-5% growth annually.

What was once about understanding media buying, channel strategizing, Go-To-Market plans, have suddenly been thrown out in favour of Social Media Analytics, Search Engine Marketing, SEO, Website conversions. As of result of this, many marketers have no choice but to resort to agencies, and even those agencies are outsourcing data analytics to Digital Marketing Agencies. It’s nothing but agencies going forwards from here, or is it?

“The biggest mistake most agencies make is getting embroiled in driving more tactical approaches in the quest for digital metrics, rather than finding a balance in defining the holistic picture for a brand through communication.” Stanley Clement , CEO of Reprise Digital

But when the CMO gets upset about the lack of conversions, or the high shopping cart abandon rate, who do they direct that ‘energy’ towards, if your company is outsourcing the digital work? The in-house marketers. Marketing is now 20% creativity, 30% digital know-how, 30% sales, 20% you managed to study something relevant to your industry while taking a general marketing course.

Where do Malaysian Marketers go from here?

Hays Recruitment’s assessment is surprising. It’s not just the junior IT personnel becoming the default Digital Marketer of companies, but rather a strong pivot of 30-40 year old marketers, wishing to adapt to the changing times, and taking this opportunity to carve out a niche for themselves. The Malaysian Govt is preparing a massive plan to gear up the nation’s workforce, with Digital Government Transformative Plan expected to end in 2022, and many initiatives such as #GrowwithGoogle Malaysia in collaborating with Mahir Digital, as they work on releasing free accessible resources to those who really want to understand the future marketing tools. But most importantly, the ability to claim HRDF deductable since 2001.

To the Malaysian Marketers who are afraid and anxious about change, Malaysia is here to help. There are tons of training courses online and offline, such as our own ACTS Asia’s Digital Marketing course by Gemma Purnell. But Malaysian Marketers should first identify: How will this help me/my workplace/my business going forward? Call us at ACTS Asia at +603-21786072 for a free consultation, on whether Digital Marketing is right for your business.