Retrospective: Mobile Monday, Digital and Mobile Marketing In Cambodia

The latest installment of Mobile Monday took place on 2 February 2015 at Development Innovations. Representatives from huge players in the mobile and digital industry such as Sabay and Smart Axiata joined in the panel discussion, and provided some great tips and tricks on cracking the code to online marketing.

 Crowd MoMoThe crowd at Mobile Monday in Development Innovations.

Speakers that took part in this insightful discussion are as follows:

Mr. Tharum Bun, Communications and Digital Media Manager, InSTEDD

Mr. Sombath Chan, General Manager, 3Tech Cambodia

Mr. Mike Gaertner, Chief Operation Officer, Sabay

Mr. Tharo Sen, Digital Manager, Marketing Solutions Asia Ltd

Mr. Kokleong Yap, Chief Marketing Officer, Smart Axiata

The session was moderated by Ms. Dary Dek, Managing Partner, 360 ads & events.

Speakers MoMo.jpgFrom left to right: Tharum Bun, Mike Gaertner, Kokleong Yap, Sombath Chan, Tharo Sen


When asked to define SMS marketing, Sombath described it as a tool to inform customers of a company’s products and promotions. Kokleong Yap noted that there are many forms of mobile marketing, and SMS is one of them. He explains that it is the most basic, but also the most effective option as it goes straight to your consumer’s phone. As for regulations on SMS marketing, he says that there are none right now, but people can opt out of receiving these messages.

Dary posed the question how many messages a month is the right number to send. Sombath, whose company does SMS marketing for their clients, says it depends on the amount of budget they have. It usually stands at about once or twice a month. Mike challenges that notion by saying that the number of messages to send depends on how much your company has to say, and that the content has to be useful when you do decide to send a mass message out.

So how do you run an effective SMS marketing campaign? Sombath says that content is very crucial, and that you should put yourselves in the shoes of the receiver to imagine what you would want to see. He also emphasises on the importance of collecting a database of contacts. If you do not have this and want to run such a campaign, you have to send to general numbers who may not know what your product or service is at all. This decreases the likelihood that your campaign will be successful.

In terms of pricing, Sombath shares that his company does SMS marketing at $0.015 per message, which totals to about $150 for 10,000 messages. However, this cost changes depending on different circumstances.


Dary explains that many startups use social media for marketing as it is timely and low-cost. However, she feels that the knowledge of using these online tools for promotion is not up to par yet. When asked to define digital marketing, Mike puts it as anything you do on mobile or on the Internet to bring your message to the customer.

So what are the key things to consider when you want to run a digital marketing campaign? Tharo mentions that you have to study the nature of your customers, and understand how to communicate the message. However, he notes that you should not bombard your consumers on social media with excessive promotion, as it could backfire.

Mike says that it is important to reinforce the same message to your customers, and always be very consistent with your marketing. Also, you should keep in mind that social media marketing is only considered effective when you are able to translate the interest and engagement from fans online into paying consumers.

Next, the big question of this whole discussion: Will Cambodia follow global mobile marketing trends? Kokleong says that we certainly will, and at a fast speed. He shares that Cambodia has been growing rapidly in terms of mobile penetration. In the past, the number of smartphones sold was not more than 20% of the total phones sold. As at the present time, it had jumped to 50%. The ability to access the Internet is more so literally in the hands of Cambodians. We have clearly jumped the curve to Internet adoption, over laptops and PCs. As a results, the Cambodian market will soon be open to the world.

Mike shares the same sentiments about mobile adoption, citing that in 2012, 12% of people accessed the Sabay site from mobile. In 2014, however, that number increased to 60%, with the remaining 40% split evenly between tablets and computers.

To end things off, Tharo has observed that startups who engage in digital marketing are more popular, which justifies the adoption.

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