Get To Know Andrew Tran, Digital Strategist At AT Digital
Andrew Tran is a marketing and sales strategist, he loves playing chess with brands in South East Asia to transform, grow and be sustainable.
Andrew is a Branding and Marketing expert with over 12 years of experience working both in agency and in-house brands, within high-paced environments to drive great experiences, leveraging lean design principles and return commercial value.
To find out more about him, MIA speaks with Andrew Tran :
Hey Andrew. When it comes to podcasts, you're the man. We are one of your avid listeners too just in case you didn't know. Before we dive deeper, tell us about yourself a little and your professional background.
My name is Andrew Tran, I’m the principal for AT Digital, which is a business marketing consultancy firm that partners with brands to solve some of the biggest and most pressing challenges they face in branding, marketing, and sales.
I grew up in Australia and plied my trade in Sydney working with some of the largest multinational companies in various industries from telecommunications, banking & finance to investments, eCommerce, and Travel during the early part of my career.
Very fortunate to have some great teachers along the way who show me how to unlock that inner marketer in me over time.
As my experience grew, I realized that problem solving was something that I was really passionate about and was able to achieve success through breaking down challenges and bringing together different teams to develop solutions, and take that into production and eventually into the market.
I’m currently based in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) in Vietnam and sharing my experience through the local and regional markets in Asia.
How do you see yourself fit in this complex, noisy world where there are oceans of digital marketers and podcasters out there playing the same game as you are?
Yeah, great question, for me the podcast is just a way to continue learning from different experts in the fields and be able to share that journey with the public - Always be learning!
In terms of my business, I think the pie is big enough for everyone and it’s true what they say, “go niche or go broke”, spend the time to define your niche category and service offering and that will help you carve your own slice in the digital ocean.
We all can see that Vietnam and Asia are going aggressively on digital. What's your take on this?
Yeah, it’s true, but I think the whole of Southeast Asia is growing rapidly thanks to a number of things from the increased adoption of digital media and access to the internet in these countries to large Asian-grown unicorn brands expanding into the region..
For Vietnam specifically, there are over 70 million social media users from a population of over 97 million people. That’s a super high percentage of social media users relative to the population, so it is no surprise that digital is growing rapidly here.
In terms of trends, Vietnam is moving rapidly and quickly in adopting cashless payment systems like the rest of Asia. eCommerce brands like Lazada and Shopee which have a presence in Vietnam are making it easier for Vietnamese consumers to adopt digital as a way of payment.
In addition, the southeast Asia-centric integrations in logistical firms like Grab and Gojek has also made it easier for Vietnam to be connected with the rest of Asia too.
Very similar to other parts of Asia where the use of live video providing payment online as a form of appreciation is also increasing here in Vietnam and it’s only set to grow as Vietnam’s population is quite young where 45% of the population are aged between 25-45 and coming up right behind them are the 15-24-year-olds that represents 15% of the nation.
So a high percentage of younger adults and high internet penetration within the population leads to a stronger digital emphasis on daily life like Vietnam.
Any specific podcast or digital marketing gig you've done before for a client that you can't forget till today? The positive one of course.
In terms of digital marketing, there is one specific client that I had the pleasure of working with. They wanted to “uplift” their digital capabilities in an industry that traditionally isn’t necessarily positioned as “digital friendly”. It was a great challenge and it taught me a number of things that I still use today in my problem-solving skills like empathy, the importance of relationship building, patience and the correlations between the people you hire, the process you need, and the technology platforms that will underpin and support a business’s digital maturity and growth.
In terms of podcasts, each episode is unique and there is always something I get out of it, however, one that really points out was my interview with world-renowned business coach and practitioner, Jairek Robbins, who also happens to be the son of the great Anthony (Tony) Robbins. My conversation with him really reminded me I need to go deeper in my business niche. I thought I was pretty niche until I met him. But after my conversation with him, I stepped back and began to realign all of the projects that I was working on - my business offering, my podcast, my communication, everything. I think that conversation with Jairek Robbins really helped me both professionally and personally.
Success has many definitions. How best to measure a strategy?
It’s different for different people. It depends on the client and the problem we are looking to solve.
For sales-led situations it's obviously the bottom line, marketing can be attribution related to sales, and branding can be as simple as a digital footprint or NPS (Net promoter score).
But before we look at success, we really need to define the actual problem and challenge the status quo regarding it.
This means breaking down and getting clear alignment between the different stakeholders on WHAT the actual problem is and, more importantly WHY this is the problem we want to solve for the company. From there we can begin to articulate the measure of success.
For example, you might have a small startup that initially identifies the ‘problem’ as “we need more sales!”, typically coming from the business owner. But after going through some steps to understand WHY this is the problem, and understand the “sales” process, we can begin to uncover that “sales” is way too broad and that the real challenge that the organization is trying to solve is increasing its top of the funnel pipeline to convert their leads into clients.
That’s just one of many types of situations that I come across from different teams and organizational groups. We start with the initial set of assumptions, break things down and discover that the real challenge is something deeper. As a result of doing this, the solutions become much more aligned, defined, and easily measurable.
We see many brands in Asia hardly take the strategy route. They prefer to jump in and execute their digital marketing right away without a proper strategy in place. Are you seeing the same too?
Yes, 100%. But given the current pandemic situation and how countries across the world are having to conduct business in the ‘new norm’, you are going to see a shift in the way businesses and teams within organizations operate towards marketing as budgets shrink and more scrutiny is applied to spending.
Therefore, brands will need to spend the time and the resource in redefining ‘who is their target audience’ and ‘what are their pain points, their needs and wants today (NOW) and into the future (LATER)’
By spending that time to define the challenge, it will mean the solution will be much more effective and more importantly measurable. Different teams can align to it and this, in turn, can create a cross-functional bond between marketing, sales, fulfilment, and so on.
Can you share with us the most challenging campaign you've worked on before?
Yeah, I was working in a particular B2B company, the deals were big and the lead time was quite long to close due to the nature of the contract size. The challenge was leveraging the brand equity to generate leads relative to the period of the campaign.
After talking to the business, pouring through research notes of our target audience, the key insight we realized from our target audience during the proposed campaign period was that the order of brand differentiation was “cost-effectiveness, control/reporting, and brand equity”.
With that in mind, we developed a digital solution that will enable users to actively compare our brand against our competitors, engage in our online tools whilst being exposed to the brand’s rich heritage and identity.
We coupled that with small adjustments to the sales process and automated communication to support our key brand message over the given “research” time prospects take to evaluate brands.
Long story short, we were able to increase “marketing qualified leads” by 10 fold which led to a massive increase in value per lead and conversions for the business. The ROI of advertising/marketing spend to revenue was the most efficient that the brand had ever done in their recent memory.
Why do you opt to grow content through podcast and video podcasts Andrew, for any particular reason?
Just because the format is quite fun, I’ve always wanted to dabble into video as I’ve done stuff in the past, and in some cases, it’s versatile as you can convert video/audio into long-form blog posts and even use it for other formats like courses on LinkedIn.
Top 10 apps you're using the most in your smart devices
- Messaging apps - WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook, WeChat
- Logistics / food - Grab, Gojek, Baemin
- Learning/entertainment - Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix
Your last parting words
Asia, in particular Southeast Asia, is going to rapidly expand and grow. We are already feeling it with positive GDP growth from various economic reports and financial commentating from various media outlets, but as the region increases its vaccination rate, it will lead to borders eventually opening up, beginning with intra-Asia travel, similar to the way Europe created its own bubble, but eventually begin to open up to other regions around the world. And as these borders open up, so will trade, which will mean more resources injected into the region especially as the region is growing technologically and with financial incentives by governments to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) it will only lead to speeding up progress in the region.
Three things that going to happen in 2022
1) Brands large and small will have to reassess and redevelop their target audience
2) Sustainability will become bigger and more streamlined into 2022 for organizations and teams
3) The art of Selling will change for the better
How to reach you out, Andrew?
Reach out to me on LinkedIn, I’m really active there. I also have a free mini-course designed to help marketers and business decision-makers think differently and more strategically for their businesses.
Also, listen to my podcasts on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts, just search for Point of View Andrew Tran and you will find me there.