I just moved from a multinational FMCG company to become head of marketing of a large Filipino manufacturing corporation. We are in the midst of our planning sessions and budget hearings, and I am surprised that up to now, the CEO still does not believe in digital marketing, even if we are handling more than forty consumer brands, from shampoo and soap to skin products. On the other hand, I am a firm believer in digital, and have seen how the platform helped my previous brand. How do I convince a traditional boss that digital is the way to go, when all he believes in is television and activation? - Anonymous
There is nothing wrong with believing in television and activation, especially if there is proof of success. You will have to understand first where your boss is coming from, and if you are working for him and his brands, then I would assume you joined the company because you want to bring forward whatever success of the brands your boss has created the past years. Television and activation in my books, is a perfect one-two punch for up-and-coming brands who have low awareness and market acceptability. Use television to drive massive awareness, and then use activation to push sales, given the awareness that television generated.
Given the rise of digital, however, marketing has become more competitive as awareness is not the only driver for consumer decision-making. Trade activation, while also important, cannot bear the sole brunt of pushing products off the shelf. What digital provides is that it aids television by ensuring seamless crossover from awareness to purchase, by generating more trust and engagement between the brand and the customer. I am sure that is what you have experienced when you are working with a multinational company.

Now that you are with a local firm, you have to understand that things may not be the same. In my experience, most multinationals have already experienced a lot of success in digital marketing using different forms of digital executions in various countries, and are forcing it into their marketing system by telling their offices to allocate a specific percentage towards digital. Unless your boss reads up on a lot of articles and case studies, the belief to do something new would have to be hard-bought.
I suggest that you view your role as a “digital evangelist”, and try to hold special 1 hour sessions every month to key executives of the company, and operational people for them to understand “this thing called digital”. It is easier to get their buy-in if they believe in it, rather than for you to force it to them. At the same time, when you do these educational digital sessions, make sure you involve not only your boss, but also with your management. Getting buy-in from the management is as important as getting buy-in from your boss. They can help you or hinder you from digitizing your company.
The content of your digital sessions are also important. Research on how you can make digital, social and mobile understandable and exciting. Avoid being too technical with your presentation, as in the end, they have to understand to believe. Have your one downs or even those who are on the same level as you, like your peers from sales or distribution, attend special courses on digital marketing, so you will have fellow believers who would imbibe your company with digital marketing mindset. Like what I said at the start, there is nothing wrong believing in television and activation, but digital marketing can propel your brand further if synergize with those efforts. Global brands have seen this, and I wish you well as your bring our local products to the market, and eventually the world stage.

Donald Lim is the Chief Digital Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the country’s leading marketing and sales training company. For information, email info@mansmith.net, call (+63-2) 584-5858 / 412-0034 or text (+63) 918-81-168-88. We are also happy to answer your marketing, sales and strategy questions to mentors@mansmith.net.