In 2016, Internet users, active social media users and active mobile social media users in the ASEAN region grew by, 31% (80 million), 31% (72 million) and 36% (73 million) respectively (Techinasia, 2017). As more join the digital community, businesses need to upgrade themselves quickly to leverage on this shift. To find out more about how businesses can upgrade themselves, I spoke with Mr Dylan Sun, training director for Equinet Academy.
Marketing is a key component of any business and with digital marketing; businesses big and small have a powerful platform to increase their returns exponentially. For example, the cost to reach an audience of 2000 with social networking is only $75, much lower than $250 with newspaper advertisements (Digital Vidya, 2017). Therefore harnessing the capabilities of digital marketing is crucial for Singaporean companies. However a study conducted by Equinet Academy found that only 50% of Singaporean marketers were confident in using digital marketing. As such Equinet Academy seeks to transform the marketing landscape by providing digital marketing courses to marketers and a substantial 95.65% of their course attendees feel more confident in digital marketing as a result of attending these courses.
Trends in the region
As part of the digital transformation of the region, Mr Sun has observed that digital marketing is quickly replacing traditional methods. By 2020, 53.5% of total media advertisement spending in APAC will be on digital advertisements, as compared to 44.4% in 2017. (iab.Singapore, 2017) Within the digital advertising market, mobile advertising is set to take centre stage in the ASEAN region and spending on mobile advertising is set to hit $2.01 billion, up from $0.86 billion in 2017. (Emarketer, 2017)
Mr Sun also identified Data Analytics as a trend in the digital marketing landscape. Data analytics already contributes more than $1 billion to the Singaporean economy and more than 2000 data analysts work in Singapore. (The Straits Times, 2016) By 2020 the global revenues for big data and business analytics will cross $203 billion, up from $130.1 billion in 2016, growing at a compound annual CAGR of 11.7% (Forbes, 2017).
Singapore has developed an internationally respected model for vocational training, with our Institute of Technical Education’s wholly owned subsidiary, ITE Education Services (ITEES) bringing the Singaporean brand of vocational training to 25 countries (TODAYonline, 2016). While Singaporean companies like ITEES are venturing out of Singapore to provide vocational training, Mr Sun has observed that there are many companies from all over the world, especially in the ASEAN region, flying their staff to Singapore to receive vocational training due to our status as a vocational training hub.
Riding on the trends
To remain competitive in the changing digital landscape, companies need to develop digital marketing capabilities and thus there is a huge demand for vocational training in this area. Equinet Academy has been successful in meeting this demand through providing courses that have the exceptional qualities of a Singaporean vocational training institute. Today their students number in the thousands and come from all over the world, such as the US, India and Vietnam.
Enabling overseas expansion
Looking to establish their base here in Singapore before expanding, Equinet Academy will be applying for the WSQ accreditation. This WSQ accreditation will give Equinet Academy the opportunity to further refine their training program and build their capabilities. After getting the accreditation, Equinet Academy’s courses will not only enjoy increased trust that comes from the accreditation, but also funding from the government, which will further enhance Equinet Academy’s presence in Singapore (Ssg-wsg, 2017)
Mr Sun has also highlighted that the Capability Development Grant (CDG) grant from SPRING Singapore is particularly useful in offsetting costs. This grant allows companies to apply for 70% (enhanced funding support of 70% effective until 31 Mar 2018) of qualifying costs such as consultancy, training, certification and equipment costs. (SPRING, 2018)
Many companies in Singapore want to venture overseas, but often do not out of fear. By promoting how other Singaporean companies have ventured overseas and how the government supported them, more will dare to take the leap and expand beyond our borders. Mr Sun feels that Skills Future has done an excellent job in advertising the success stories of skills upgrading and should be the model for encouraging companies to explore foreign markets.
Call to Singaporean companies
In terms of preparedness for the digital future, many ASEAN countries are lagging behind. In the Worldwide Educating for Future Index 2017, Vietnam and Indonesia scored below 50 out of 100, while the Philippines scored only 0.2 above the passing mark of 50. Singapore on the other hand has the best environment in the world in terms of preparing for the digital future, scoring 88.8 out of 100 (Nikkei Asian Review, 2017). Therefore Singaporean vocational trainers can leverage on our advanced capabilities in exporting the Singaporean brand of education overseas which will not just rake in profits, but also equip the people of ASEAN with the skills to survive the digital future.
Digital Vidya. (2017). Why Digital Marketing is Important to Grow E-Businesses in 2017. [online] Available at: http://www.digitalvidya.com/blog/why-digital-marketing-is-important/ [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].
Emarketer. (2017). Digital Ad Spending Set to Surge in Southeast Asia – eMarketer. [online] Available at: https://www.emarketer.com/Article/Digital-Ad-Spending-Set-Surge-Southeast-Asia/1016531 [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].
Forbes. (2017). 6 Predictions For The $203 Billion Big Data Analytics Market. [online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/gilpress/2017/01/20/6-predictions-for-the-203-billion-big-data-analytics-market/#25f570f42083 [Accessed 20 Jan. 2018].
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