More advanced marketing models key for Cambodian business development

Tom Starkey

As the Cambodian economy seeks to resume growth in 2022, industry experts say that implementing more sophisticated marketing strategies – and moving away from the limitations of platforms such as Facebook – will broaden Cambodian business development considerably.

The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications reported that in 2021 the number of internet users in Cambodia increased significantly, with over 16 million Khmer now having access.

However, questions remain as to how businesses in the Kingdom best capitalize on the ever-growing digital market to increase Cambodian business development.

Cambodia has signed up to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership free trade agreement which offer golden opportunies for Cambodian business to tap into regional eCommerce.

Victor La, of smart recruitment, entrepreneurial training and talent management site Accel8asia, said that a lack of investment in marketing strategies is holding Khmer companies back.

“Consumer behaviors are changing in Cambodia, moving from traditional means to digital. As a result, there’s now a growing demand to recruit talented digital marketers.

Many companies are facing an uphill challenge to scale and grow in this area as they begin to understand that Facebook marketing alone will not drive their success and future growth”.

La said that in order to properly capture this growing market, companies need to really understand the foundation of marketing and how it will affect their product and services.”

“It all starts with the brand. Currently, there is not enough attention paid to building the story of mission, values, product uniqueness and customer segmentation to be able to develop a comprehensive marketing strategy.”

eCommerce has huge potential for Cambodian business development

Automated marketing has also 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.

Darren Sun, eCommerce director of Ship24 – an international company helping facilitate eCommerce exports to Europe – agrees.

“Cambodian companies are still behind when it comes to marketing. Even though there are quality Cambodian products on offer, they lack a solid marketing strategy to support them.”

“Cambodian eCommerce has huge potential for Cambodian business development. Unfortunately, very few companies embrace or invest in areas outside of Facebook, such as website optimization, SEO, SEM, PPC and other techniques.”

Sun said that in order to take the next step, businesses must address the marketing skills gap.

Steve Noble, Editor of B2B-Cambodia – which provides information and advice for setting up, opening and managing businesses in the Kingdom – said that more and more companies are beginning to realize the important role marketing plays in helping boost business in Cambodia.

“Rising demand for marketing services has led to clients wanting more in their advertising and marketing campaigns in the Kingdom, with clients increasingly beginning to think of their marketing in more strategic terms.”

He added that marketing and media have entered a phase of massive tech innovation which is challenging traditional means of effectively reaching audiences.

Ly said that the challenge will be for Cambodian businesses to understand the nuances of more comprehensive marketing strategies, which will have to be built from the ground up.

“The typical marketing techniques may not be able to apply here. Any marketing education will have to start at square one with the Cambodia market,” he finished.

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