To Get in Their Minds, Get in Yours First

I have always seen marketing as a game of chess with more players and more variables, but the principles are the same. It is not only your own tactics that you are concerned with, but your competition’s and especially your customer’s. Before I started working with Mäd, I have already started a career in marketing, I was the sales manager of one of Cambodia’s largest factory outlets. After the first year of operations, we doubled our sales. I claimed myself then not too shabby a marketer.

The strategy was really quite simple: customer service, not only in terms of improving communications skills, but also speed. I started to teach my staff members English and Chinese regardless of their background, and this helped to increase the sales to foreign customers. I used social media to spread the brand and generate interest. I convinced my boss to invest on a website, but little did I know that Cambodians prefer using social media than websites. Having said that, my boss always renew the domain every year despite having zero direct sales from the website. She understood the website was there to maintain the brand integrity.

I realised, despite my initial success, that although I understood the sales process, I still needed work on the marketing dynamics, to examine what makes people tick. Jon was the one who told me that it is up to me to enter the mind of the consumer and ask, “What brands do you like and why do you like them?” Why do people prefer Converse as opposed to Clarks and vice versa? This question has been in my mind for a couple of weeks, thus it merits self-reflection. As a marketer, if I can’t understand my own preferences, what good will I do understanding my audience?

I am male, Indonesian-born, Australian citizen and a four-year expatriate in Cambodia. Even though I belong to Gen Y, turning 30 next month, I claim to possess the millennial mindset: I use social media to do my biddings, I put WiFi on the bottom of the Maslow pyramid and I am up to date with news that concern me, of which I obtain from technology. I do not claim brand loyalty.

I have no preference for beer, choosing typically the brand that offers me the lowest price. Nor do I prefer any cigarette brands, as I vary the brands every few days when I finish a packet, though I love to smoke Indonesian clove cigarettes. I go to a different coffee shop each time, as I like the diverse ambiences. The servers all know me by sight by now. I have had an Android phone, iPhone(s) and an indestructible brick Nokia 3210 that I used for three consecutive years. Living in Cambodia, I purchase my daily needs and things from the market, from vendors who can give me the best price and those who I am already acquainted with.

There are exceptions, however. The following articles will explore why I would prefer these brands over others, despite the competition’s lower costs, availability and incentives. I am not a typical person with conventional taste, admittedly, but these reflections have helped me to generalise certain things of which I’ve found true for a long time for many people, thus reinforcing them and thus, helping me to become a better marketer.