Beyond Horizon Project Participant's Diary

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Darren Lam

Graduate of Beyond Horizon Project (Season 1)

After working in the industry for two years, Darren felt he lacked practical marketing experience. He also struggled in working with his colleagues. Let’s look at Darren's struggles and how he has learnt throughout working with a client and Beyond Horizon Project!

"I was very nervous as this would’ve been one of the first few times I’d pitch to the client ... I have to learn to speak slower when pitching and identifying the right areas to dig deeper into. " Darren Lam

Week 1

Meeting the Client

After presenting the findings for The Loft Café, we had the opportunity of meeting the client for the first time. After a 2 hour conversation where we met the Rebels n Misfits team and discussed the café’s short and long term goals.

Week 2

Conducting a Market Research

During This week we needed to observe the café in person. While It was easier during the earlier stages of the week, Yin Mei and I got sick around mid-week. This made arriving in the morning every day slightly harder but we were able to persevere. During this time, I tried to get as much rest as I could in between each day. 

 

Near the end of the week, we started writing our marketing plan. The writing of the plan was a good learning experience but I experienced quite a steep learning curve. Having never written a proposal for a client before, I didn’t realize it would be very different from what I’d written in University. I learnt that I needed to be more factual with my writing and if possible, illustrate certain points in Table form to make the report easier to follow. 

Week 3

Pitching to the Client

During This week we pitched our Marketing plan. During the lead up to this, Yin Mei and I consulted with Theresa to finalize the plan. 

 

I was very nervous as this would’ve been one of the first few times I’d pitch to the client. On the day, I started the pitch by speaking very quickly and was signalled to slow down. This was likely because of my nervousness but it was fortunate to have Dr Theresa there to help me improve on the spot as well as fill the gaps that I’d missed. 

 

After the pitch, Theresa walked me through the different ways to improve. Moving forward, I have to learn to speak slower when pitching and identifying the right areas to dig deeper into. Previously, she commented that I was more reading the report rather than presenting/pitching the report. Despite needing to make a number of improvements in my pitching, I look forward to having another opportunity to present.

Week 4-6

Presenting a Pitch to the Client

As the client missed the proposal last week, I needed to present the plan to him as well with the aim of getting his thoughts and his sign-off. Before the official pitch, I followed Therea’s advice and created a mini PowerPoint containing the main points to expand on. 

 

On the day, pitching to the client looked to be going smoothly until my groupmate started speaking. The pitch became harder as he took control over the conversation and forced the conversation away from the objective. This led to me being extremely frustrated as I felt this was something that could’ve been presented. As I left before the debriefing, I was very angry and upset and needed time to calm down. After calming down and calling Theresa back, she pointed out that setting aside emotions and learning how to work through these situations was an area that I needed to improve. Even when frustrated, I should not leave the client and should always stay within the discussion.

Week 7

Handling Ups and Downs

During this week, I learnt that the event has been cancelled due to a lack of time to prepare. This was disappointing as I felt that we put a lot of effort into planning this event and was excited for the opportunity to execute it. Furthermore, the opportunity to meet and interact with community members would’ve been amazing. Because we didn’t have sufficient time to plan the event, invite the guests and finish the set, it was advised that this wouldn’t be the best decision. 

 

I learnt that I needed to work through the ups and downs and that because Marketing is such a dynamic field, it is sometimes better to do nothing than to force something that is not ready.

Week 8

Using Ad Marketing Tools

During this week, we started using Targetted ads with the purpose of expanding reach. In the leadup to this, we experimented with different objectives to better understand what the best objective would be.

At this stage, the main challenge was choosing which marketing materials to promote and the duration to get the best results.

We found that using the engagement objective was not the most effective method when it came to increasing reach. Other methods proved to be more cost-effective and effective from a results viewpoint.

Week 9

Liaising Website Contents for Online Marketing with the Client

As we neared the end of April, we looked to confirm client expectations for the promotion set for the month of May. During our online meeting, we detailed his preferred target market and voucher’s eligibility condition.

During the call, We and the client spoke further about what kind of website the client hoped to have. While a more detailed website had already been made, we were tasked with creating a simpler website while other areas of the business is being developed.

With May approaching, we prepared materials needed for our online and offline marketing activities. This included doing a photoshoot with a mother and her daughter (Maggi and Esther). We spent the morning and most of the afternoon taking a variety of photos that would eventually become a part of our social media strategy. This activity gave us the opportunity to improve our photography and video editing skills.

Week 10

Using Engagement Objective of Targetted Ads 

During the start of Mother's day, we started using the engagement objective of targetted ads. This was our second attempt at setting ups ads for the proposed promotional period. This promotional period was designed for mothers and their children due to Mother’s day being in May.

As we had some difficulty getting childhood pictures, we ended up using royalty-free images. While I worked on the Mother’s Day videos, Yin assisted me with the editing of needed materials.

 

We sent the promotional videos to the client for approval but had delays when it came to receiving approval from the client. While the waiting brought us a lot of anxiety, we were ready to make changes and find creative methods to make a better video that gave the post.

Week 11

Reviewing Social Media Objectives

This week was mostly uneventful. In this week, we continued our social media advertising on Facebook and continued the use of targeted ads. As we saw that the “Engagement” objective was not giving us the results we hoped for, we paused the ad spending and focused more of our efforts on organic sharing as it yielded better results.

Week 12

Redisgn Marketing Strategies to Boost Online Presence 

This week was similar to the last with a few changes. We began using the “Brand Awareness” objective which is designed for advertisers who want to show ads to people who are more likely to recall them. As the client’s online presence was low, we aimed to boost this and make the reach as effective as we could. Furthermore, we continued to share our posts organically across different categories of Facebook groups. (Student, coffee, entrepreneur groups)

Week 13

Wrapping up and Preparing a Performace Report

In this week, we started wrapping up our activities and prepared our performance report for Chirag. During this week, we gathered statistics and created graphs that highlighted our results.

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