We look at outstanding industry leaders and all they have achieved, be it their personal career milestones or their capabilities to bring impressive results and growth to their companies, and we wonder how they do it. 

In this session, we had the opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Ashley Chew, the Head of Marketing from GoCar Malaysia. She shares with us her journey venturing into marketing, how she managed to skill up and take upon the role of Head of Marketing, and how she learned and grew to become the inspiring leader of her team today. 

From a hotelier to a marketer

Ashley background is actually in hotel management, and her first job was being a salesperson for a recruitment based agency. Later on, she decided to join MaGIC as a digital marketing executive. At that time, she met and worked alongside with her current boss, Alan Cheah (CEO of GoCar).

When he moved over to GoCar, he brought Ashley along as the Head of Marketing. Back then, the team was really small, and she was the only person in the marketing team. Because of that, her marketing skills were mainly developed when she joined GoCar, as she had to skill up really fast and worked to build GoCar to what it is today. 

How do you know getting into marketing is right for you?

Just like Ashley, many of you might experience different roles before venturing into marketing, her take on this as it depends on oneself whether you are set in stone about what you want to do as a career. If if you’re still unsure, it is always good to explore different fields of work before making a decision.

She added that she did explore many different areas just to get a better idea of the nature of the job and whether or not I wanted to venture into it. Another tip for aspiring marketers is to do some self-reflection. Think about how you are when you are branding yourself.

On top of that, if you’re skilled in marketing or branding, and if you can do it right for yourself, you may also be able to use a similar skill set to create successful branding for your company.

Learn how GoCar uses data to build their company in D/M Summit

Transitioning from solo marketer to leading the team

As described by Ashley herself, “the transition was in fact, an emotional roller coaster for me.” Before GoCar, she never had any experience with people reporting to her. So when she first had employees joined her team, and even up till she had a team of 5, she struggled a lot with leading the team.

She doubted herself by the fact that she wasn’t experienced enough, and was afraid she might be setting the right direction for the team, making the right decisions etc. But she persisted in leading her team forward, she decided to skill up. After work hours, she would spend time networking with people, learning how to network and building partnerships etc. She also spends a lot of time reading up on marketing materials from various different verticals just so she can strategise better for the marketing team at GoCar.

Up till now, she still, do these to learn and skill up. It can get tiring, but this is the necessary effort in order to lead the team to her best capacity.

Recommended marketing channels for people to start with?

It really depends as to what business segments the startup is in.  If it is B2B business, then it would be good if you look into B2B channels such as LinkedIn. If you do not have a company profile yet, you can look into building your own profile first. You can share what you do in your company, how you do it etc.  But if it is a B2C business, and your customer database is on Facebook or Instagram, then start with these channels. 

But always take a step back, figure out if you are a B2B or B2C business, then determine who is your target audience. Once you figure it out, find out which channel they are using. That is the channel you should do your marketing in. 

When it comes to marketing, oftentimes is about creating change in consumer behaviour, how do you do that?

In order to do that, GoCar has been mainly focusing on education. We do educational blog content, engage influencers to help educate the public on our services etc.  To be honest, in order to change a user’s mindset, in terms of education, you do need a lot of money.

For example Grab and how much they spend on education, promo codes etc.  So if you do not have a lot of budgets, you need to get creative in terms of how you can educate the public.

Many companies give discounts and promo codes. Do you think it spoils the market or creates user’s expectations to always have discounts?

This really depends on the product and branding. For example, for a premium brand like Apple, they never do discounts as they want users that truly believe in them, and to be willing to pay a premium price because they believe in the product. 

However, if you are looking to serve the mass market, and want more people to use and test out your product, then promo codes and discounts strategy would work well.  Again, this is dependant on your marketing priorities.

For example, with GoCar, right now we want people to be educated and to learn how to use GoCar, we have to a certain extent still do discounts and promo codes as an incentive to drive more users.

Advice for startups to kickstart their marketing strategies?

Always explore the channel you are familiar with, and see if it is in line with your direction to move forward. If you have found a channel that you would like to venture in, you can invest time to skill up and optimise it. It’s a process, and if it’s not suited for your brand, you can always explore other alternatives.  Ashley is very down to earth and willing to share her experience and insights she learned throughout her journey in marketing. She shares about how GoCar uses Data to create a better company in her session at D/M Summit, so be sure to tune it to learn more!

You can learn more about how Ashley, utilize cutting edge and creative marketing strategies combining with data analytics in her workshop at D/M Summit, titled “How GoCar uses data to create a better company” plus learn how she transitioned from a hotelier to a digital marketer, and now leading a team of marketers, in a fireside chat we had with her. Get your early-lifetime pass to learn from Ashley and many other industry experts on data science and marketing subjects.