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Skill-gap in automated marketing sees Cambodian businesses falling behind

Tom Starkey

Automated marketing has been highlighted as the ‘next step’ technology for Cambodian marketing and sales teams but the industry has highlighted a current skill gap holding the industry back from its full potential.

Marketing automation allows businesses to target a varied range of customers across email, web, social, and text. The messages are sent automatically, according to sets of instructions called workflows. 

However according to marketing analysts Ascend2 only around 20% of companies know how to use the software properly, stopping Cambodian businesses from reaching their full potential.

“The main reasons for using marketing automation are streamlining sales, improving customer engagement, and improving customer experience. More than eight out of 10 B2B and B2C marketers surveyed report that they have been only somewhat successful at using marketing automation to achieve their targets,” Ascend2 said.

The company highlighted that the big problem is that training and resources are standing in the way of many marketers utilizing marketing automation tools to the fullest potential, with the most cited barriers being lack of training/resources or knowledgebase and of resources to manage the tools.

Darren Sun, eCommerce director of Ship24 – an international company helping facilitate Cambodian eCommerce IOSS exports to Europe and package tracking API services – said a lack of automated marketing training could be holding Cambodian businesses back as far as customers conversion and retention.

“Automated marketing is the next step for Cambodian businesses, but there is a skill gap which is holding them back from using it to its full potential. In eCommerce specifically, a rapidly growing industry with huge potential for Cambodia’s future, automated marketing is what it will take to find space in a crowded market, ” Darren said.

“We use marketing automation to convert customers regarding EU VAT rules, in accordance with the new European Union ruling and IOSS scheme. Utilizing automation allows us to quickly answer common EU eCommerce import questions, which leads to a higher conversion rate on IOSS inquiries. Without it, Cambodian businesses are losing customers,” he added.

Marketing recruitment company Altimeter said that this skill gap has caused a rise in companies looking for qualified marketing automation personnel, ranking it in the top three most desired skills that marketing companies will be hiring for this year

Ascend2 says that email marketing is still the biggest beneficiary of marketing automation, with two-thirds (65%) of marketers reporting using email marketing as their top priority.

“Another three in 10 (31%) say that lack of budget to maintain marketing automation has presented a challenge in using these tools to the fullest potential. One-quarter also find the setup of marketing automation tools to be too complicated.”

Cambodia has been relatively slow to uptake a high level of Industry 4.0 adoption as is the case in many developing countries, according to the recent Asian Development Bank, Reaping the benefits of industry 4.0 through skills development in Cambodia report.

The report found private sector stakeholders perceive that Industry 4.0 represents an opportunity to boost productivity, reduce costs and diversify the economy.  The stakeholders consulted suggested that digital technology in the majority of firms (over 90%) is still at a basic level. 

At the firm level, barriers to adopting Industry 4.0 in Cambodia include a lack of awareness of digital technologies and their benefits; the perceived high costs of technologies; an aversion to the use of new technologies; skills gaps; limited access to training and technical assistance; and constrained access to finance.

In response, the development bank recommended Cambodia develop 4IR transformation road maps for key sectors, upgrade training delivery through 4IR technology in classrooms and training facilities, develop flexible and modular skill certification programs and implement an incentive scheme for firms to train employees for 4IR.

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