Digital Account Manager, Kirsty Kirkhope says you can dream BIG in Cambodia in the third installment of her Remote Year blogs…

Three months into my remote year and feeling suitably cultured in Cambodia after visiting more temples than I ever thought possible. In the capital, Phnom Pehn, I can’t help but feel incredibly inspired by the drive of the Cambodian people, who are deservedly seeking some respite from the country’s recent suffering. This comes in many forms but most relevant to this blog is the country’s development in technology, particularly internet and mobile usage.

Cambodia has taken the top spot in Asia-Pacific for growth in internet users with a +414% increase year on year. This means nearly 4 million Cambodians are now online. This radical change brings a new wave of opportunity for online ventures, such as e-commerce. New e-business companies are setting themselves up every month and, interestingly, Facebook is at the heart of the action for both B2C and B2B companies.

In Cambodia many e-companies believe that in this social media age, a Facebook page and a Twitter handle are the only necessary requirements to market their brands, with little need for a website. This lack of understanding of the minimum digital business requirements will be incredibly limiting for these Cambodian start-up companies because a Facebook page alone does not have the roots, longevity nor flexibility to effectivity sell a business. Social media activity should be a supporting channel to the website content strategy, as this is your anchor and your shop window.

Marketing firms in Cambodia are taking advantage of the country’s love of social media and the internet by creating campaigns that target the unusually youthful population (more than half of which is under 30). That being said it is important to acknowledge that agencies in Cambodia still rely heavily on more traditional tactics such as television and print media to reach the wider demographics in Cambodia’s cities and rural areas, this is due to the dramatic difference in urban and rural lifestyles. Although internet penetration has leap-frogged from 3% to 32% in the last five years, this usage is only concentrated to urban cities such as Phnom Pehn, Battambang, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.

In such a challenging and contrasted country it is important to start with an analysis of each audience demographic and develop a bespoke integrated strategy to reach this segmentation, in the most powerful and cost effective manner. Marketing strategy requires research, planning and scheduling, budget allocation and tracking, implementation and management, and finally measurement. During the planning stage of your project it is crucial to assign objectives and KPIs. This will allow you to determine the true value of a campaign and the effectiveness of the tactics applied. Each individual strand should have a different set of KPIs. This approach is universal and not just applicable to the ambitions of new and inspirational Cambodian start-up companies.

Back to blog