Jan Wong of OpenMinds tells us how they are passionate about digital marketing, data analytics, and tech development.
First of all, how are you and your family doing?
Jan Wong: We have been keeping well! The pandemic has taught us that there can be gratefulness and fun in solitude. With economies slowly recovering and borders reopening, that definitely helps too!
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded OpenMinds.
Jan Wong: I have always been one that wants to create something on my own. That sense of excitement and satisfaction has always been a part of me, even when I was a kid. Back when I was 9, I sold draft A4 paper to my schoolmates. I started a mini-library in my class because I couldn’t afford to buy the books myself and finally had a chance at a “real” business at the age of 17 as I entered college. Through a series of ups and downs and 8 ventures later, I decided to address a gapping problem in the marketing and tech industry where businesses tend to split both functions, resulting in broken or mismanaged solutions in martech. This then gave birth to OpenMinds.
How does OpenMinds market its product/services online?
Jan Wong: As a consultancy company, we rely a lot on word of mouth, SEO, and thought leadership through content. During the pandemic, we doubled down on thought leadership by distributing marketing help kits, bite-sized video content, webinars, and free consultancy sessions for businesses, and that has helped us maintain and even grow our presence in the industry.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how did you get through it?
Jan Wong: When the pandemic first hit, it hit us hard. As our customers are mostly in retail, tourism, F&B, and import/ export, budgets were affected, contracts were cut, and payments were deferred. It was tough. The uncertainties were real, but we were able to take quick actions to climatize ourselves through a few key actions by assuring the team, having the directors take a major pay cut, and quickly launching different initiatives to put us in front of the industry. We activated a few programs for affected businesses, launched our education arm (OpenAcademy), and made sure our clients were also well supported in this season.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to manage your online marketing?
Jan Wong: We mostly use tools that are built internally to manage our team and marketing efforts. However, we do rely on a few others that have been helpful, including SharpSpring for CRM and integrated workflow, Google Data Studio for performance monitoring, and, of course, webinar tools like Zoom or Webinar Jam that played a big role in our educational efforts during this period.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Jan Wong: Our competitors have mostly been larger consultancy firms as there are many of them acquiring digital companies to expand their reach beyond just management consultancy. With decades of experience, brand credibility, and clientele, it has been a series of interesting competitions through the years. Nonetheless, because of how we are set up, we are more agile in providing tailored solutions to helping our clients maximize their ROI with the same buck, minus the fluff. Moving forward, we are in the midst of launching a series of self-service tools for clients to further their engagement with us, including competency training, funnel design, customer engagement, and more.
Your final thoughts?
Jan Wong: Marketing is not all about sales or conversion. This may be against the norm, but you can’t just put a number of everything you do on digital. We live in a time where we value value as a consumer. We look towards relevance, solution, entertainment, and education as value, and that in turn inspires us to create value in return for businesses through the actions we take. These efforts compound over time and create a digital net worth that becomes permanently associated with your brand.