Digital Strategy

First 30 Days: How to Ramp Up in A New Digital Marketing Role

Happy Friday, dear readers! Today, I’m going to be outlining what I do when I start a new role. The process is basically similar for most general marketing roles, though YMMV if you’re in a more specialized sector, such as media planning or SEO. This is what has worked for me well in the past, and its how I intend to start my next role.

The plan is comprised of 3 steps:

  • Set Baseline & Priorities [1-30 days]
  • Develop Segments/Personas/User Journey [30-60 days]
  • Envision future use case scenarios and develop marketing roadmap [60-90 days]

In this post, I’ll discuss what we need to do in Step 1, and I’ll cover the other 2 steps in subsequent posts.

Set Baselines

The objective at this stage is to set the channel baselines for awareness, consideration conversion and retention (or whatever marketing funnel definition is appropriate for your business), identify priorities to go after and leverage digital marketing channels to generate more sales and land some quick wins. (Its always important to start off a new role with some positive results for the business.)

Firstly, look at the following data repositories to build a view of what to keep, what to start, what to stop and what to do better:

  • Ongoing or recent campaign review with media and onsite performance data
  • Omniture/Google Analytics data to understand onsite user behavior
  • Chat log analysis
  • Historical Paid media reports from agencies/platforms
  • Overall media-mix
  • Social media analytics (listening and engagement)
  • Email performance
  • Lead to sales conversion ratio
  • Marketing attribution %
  • Seasonality data
A digital marketing data matrix
Tabulate the data

I would look at the last 12 months data, so that we can account for seasonality. Every digital channel will then be assessed against how it generates impressions, clicks, leads and revenue. We would then calculate ROI for each channel to determine the most efficient one. We would rank them accordingly, and benchmark against industry standards (or compare against best-in-class)

Tabulate this data and try to draw some conclusions from it. For example, for a particular period, if the CPC of a particular search campaign is low, but the CPA is high, then validate that against the landing page bounce rate to determine if you have a problem with the landing page. It is crucial that you develop as many actionable insights from this process as possible.


In parallel, you should also have started discussions with your internal stakeholders. Mostly, this will be for the purpose of introductions and making connections. It is also an opportunity to gather feedback on what are the priorities for the business (or part of business they are responsible for). The more people you speak to, the better your understanding will be. Start to formulate your marketing priorities by using this process:

Business Objectives
Business Strategy
Marketing Objective 
Marketing Strategy 
Process to understand priorities

A business objective can de defined as the financial goals a business sets based on past and future projected growth. The strategy are the steps it will need to take to achieve those goals. For example, a business objective would be to increase the share-of-wallet for the IT spend by 20%. The strategy would then be to identify a particular segment (e.g. large enterprises) and engaging with IT Professionals. Using this same example, the digital marketing objectives would be to develop though-leadership among the IT Pros, and the digital marketing strategy would be to have a series of virtual roundtables with 50 IT Pros executives per quarter. We can reference back to our tabulated data to determine budget required (CPA x number of leads required), and raise that as a priority.

The next steps is to rank these priorities according to urgency and importance (The Eisenhower Matrix):

The Eisenhower Matrix ranks tasks by urgency and importance

Now, once you have used data to identify tactics, and used the above frameworks to determine priorities for the business, you can start developing quick win campaigns. I usually start by putting together a communications framework and/or brief and circulating that among the stakeholders. Feedback and buy-in are vital to ensure that it is not a solo effort, and is instead seen as a team-effort.

Launch a Campaign

The last step would be to launch, within 30 days, the new campaign that is backed by data and is aligned to the business priorities. That is also how you can build momentum and win trust with the business. It also helps you hit the ground running, and we can use that momentum to jump into Step 2, which I’ll talk about in the next post.

Digital Strategy

Fundamental Digital Marketing Training

COVID-19 has left me with alot of free time on my hands, and apart from reading, I have been spending my down-time working on sharpening up my digital marketing skills. There are a heap of tools, systems and platforms out there, and it can get a little daunting. In this post, I’ll share the ones that I think are fundamental for any digital marketer in 2020.

SEO – My tool of choice is Moz, who I’ve been following for a decade and a half. I love the way they’ve grown from a blog talking about SEO tactics to an entire self-contained solution. The training syllabus covers everything from the very basic fundamentals all the way to using Moz Pro. I was fortunate to be able to sign up for a bunch of the courses for free as they generously allowed all new users to register for free during the COVID-19 lock down.

Paid Media (Search, Display & Video) – No surprises here that I’m recertifying myself on Google Ads, which is the 200 pound gorilla in the ad space. You can get certification for individual products like Search or Display, but I’d recommend that you work your way up to the platform certification (Display and Video 360/ Search Ads 360), as this allows for more holistic campaign reporting. You can sign up at the Skillshop. Wether you are a hands-on campaign manager or a strategic director who relies on an agency to do management, its always good to know about the latest innovations from Google.

Social Media Advertising – I would also recommend that you do the Facebook ads essential course, as the audience targeting can tell you so much about your potential customers. Of all the platforms, I feel they have the most streamlined ad interface, and its so fun to play around in it and see your audience size get more targeted as you add more filters. You can learn more here. Alternatively, if your audience is more B2B, then LinkedIn is the place to be. Their ad interface is not as full-fledged as Facebook, but the ability to filter by company names and job titles makes it a must have for your Account Based Marketing (ABM) strategies. Learn how to use it here.

Facebook Audience Targeting Interface

Web Analytics – We head back to the Skillshop to get our Google Analytics certification at the Analytics Academy. You can work your way up from the beginners course all the way to Google Tag Manager. I managed to complete all the courses in the space of a week, but that was with me spending 12 hours a day dedicated to it. One thing that I realized is how much the suite has changed since I last did my certifications roughly 4 years ago. Its probably a good idea to get recertified once every 2 years, which is right about when the certification will lapse.

Google Analytics Academy list of courses
Google Analytics list of courses

Coding Language – Now this is something new! Python is all the rage these days, and is positioned to be the defacto language for data science/ big data/ analytics. To stay relevant for now and future opportunities, this would be the special trick up my sleeves. It is still very early days for me, but I hope to develop some competency with the language by the end of this year.

Marketing Automation – The hardest training of the lot has to be Marketo, which (along with Eloqua) are the standards by which all other MA platforms are measured. The course takes you from the fundamentals, to email basics, to CRM sync and ends with system administration. I’ve been slogging away at this for 2 months, and am only about 30% of the way through it. The content is dense but absolutely essential if you intend to use the system everyday. You sign up for the free training at the Marketo University, and have to arrange for an in-person exam at a later date once you pass the mock online exams. I’m targeting to complete the training and mock exams, but I’ll hold off on the certification until I find an employer to sponsor it!

Marketo Forms Checklist
Marketo Forms Checklist

AWS Cloud Practitioner – Last but not least, this very basic course gives you a very broad understanding of AWS services such as Compute (EC2) and Storage (S3). Its not a technical certification, but helps you understand how and why a cloud infrastructure operates the way it does, and the benefits it can bring for businesses. I’m technically still certified, but with the speed of innovation at Amazon, it does no harm to check in every now and them to see what’s new.

Well, that’s the list of of trainings I’ve embarked on in the past 4 months. These should be prerequisites for any digital marketing professional to stay sharp and up-to-date with the industry. There are other tools that I would recommend, but they would be dependent on the role specific needs such as:

  • Social Media Listening (e.g. Synthesio, Digimind, Sprout Social)
  • Social Media Management (Sprinklr, Hootsuite)
  • Advanced Analytics/ Business Intelligence (Tableau, Microsoft BI)
  • CMS (AEM, Sitecore, Drupal)

(If you are struggling to get a grip on the Martech space, the Martech 5000 graphic would be an eye-popping place to start. Be warned, you are going to need a magnifying glass! )

Are there any tools that I’ve missed that you think are essential? If so, let me know in the comments below.


GE2020 Election Results

As expected by anyone and everyone, the PAP returned to power by winning a majority for the 14th straight general elections. Not just a majority, but a supermajority, where they control two thirds of the MP seats, and can unilaterally change the constitution. What would be unheard of in a liberal democracy is just par for the course here.

What was surprising for this election was the loss of another GRC to the WP, as well as a big swing in the votes that went for the opposition parties. 61.2% of all votes went to the PAP, which was a big fall from the 69.9% vote share in GE2015. The gamble of having an election during a pandemic – and the belief that voters would run back to the safety of the PAP – backfired on the PAP. This ended up being the 2nd worst elections results for the PAP in history.


Instead, we saw that younger demographic of voters in Sengkang GRC opt for a slate of first time MPs, while kicking out 3 PAP ministers. This was one of 3 hotly contested GRCs, along with East Coast and West Coast GRCs being contested by WP and PSP respectively. All eyes were on the results of these constituencies, as the opposition slate included the likes of former PAP MP Tan Cheng Bock and Nicole Seah.

Alas, only Sengkang fell into opposition hands, while PSP lost West Coast by the slimmest of margins (48.31%) and WP missed out on East Coast with 46.59% of the votes. WP ended up with 2 GRCs and 1 SMC, for a total of 10 MPs elected into parliament. Overall, PAP will form the next government with 83 of the 93 seats taken by their members.

So why did Sengkang decide to opt for the untried, untested team from WP? These are a few reasons I can think of:

  • The Jamus Lim effect, where his phenomenal performance at the televised debate endeared him to the public
  • The profile of the WP candidates, who were all parents of young children, and who were themselves a mirror for the predominant age group in Sengkang (25 – 45)
  • The Raeesha Khan kerfuffle – where voters were galvanized by the gutter politics employed by the PAP, and decided to teach them a lesson
  • The WP candidates understanding the local needs i.e. lack of childcare facilities and good quality eateries
Sengkang GRC MPs

As a voter in Sengkang, I’m over the moon that the MPs who will be representing me in parliament also share my belief in fairness and equality. I look forward to seeing how they perform over the next 5 years, and doing my part to help them make this corner of Singapore my little slice of paradise. Majulah Singapura!