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South-East Asia is alive with opportunity.

Phenomenal economic growth coupled with a rapid spread of access to the internet and proliferation of mobile devices means that it's a region hungry for content.

But despite massive growth and enthusiasm for social media and content, surprisingly few organisations are grasping the opportunity to engage with the incredible number of predominantly young, tuned-in people across the region.

For this reason, Econsultancy’s new best practice guide on content marketing in South-East Asia highlights not only the opportunities for organisations, but also best practice they should follow to maximise their chances of success in this area.

To find out a bit more about the guide, we spoke to author Chris Lee – an experienced digital marketing consultant working for Grayling as Head of Social Media Knowledge – about who it is aimed at and what he found while compiling the report.

What inspired you to write this guide?

I have spent quite a lot of time in Asia in recent years and – as a European firmly established in the UK digital scene – it has been a real education to see how people in ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in particular interact with brand content – and each other – online.

This audience is young, enthusiastic and in love with modernity, so social and mobile are perfect for these markets. The challenge for brands is how to foster that enthusiasm and give people useful content that answers their questions, entertains and engages them, and builds that long-term advocacy and repeat custom that brands crave.

As we found out at Econsultancy's Digital Cream Singapore event in 2012, brands recognise the need for great content, but releasing the budget, having the skills to create, curate and promote content, and to manage it all are key challenges.

What common themes emerged while you were compiling this report?

I spoke to several specialists in key markets and a number of core patterns emerged. For example, while in Europe we are just about at the tipping point where the majority of internet browsing is conducted on mobile devices, in many ASEAN countries this is already established.

Also, the internet is predominantly a young people’s game and – depending on the country – largely restricted to the middle classes and above (although this is changing). As many of these young people live at home with their parents, you can find them staying home late after work just to network online and play games.

Internet access varies massively across the ASEAN region. For example, Singapore has one of the fastest networks on earth and connectivity extends into its underground transport network, whereas in other countries you see a big disparity between urban and rural areas.

What can readers expect to discover from the report?

If you are active in this region or looking to break into ASEAN then you need to read this guide. The report features interviews with leading players across ASEAN and looks at some of the region's best content marketing case studies, as well as how organisations should structure their content marketing efforts and the content options available to them.

The report also looks at the role of search, social media and mobile in the spread and performance of content, as well as what motivates businesses and consumers alike in the ASEAN region to respond to calls to action.

What were your own key takeaways having met local marketers?

"Think mobile first" is a really common theme. There are also a lot of cultural sensitivities to consider when publishing - they could be around religion or ethnicity - and let’s not forget that many countries have more than one language, so the sheer diversity of ASEAN as a region is a challenge in itself.

Ultimately, however, as with anywhere else, it’s not about the channel so much as what goes into the channel, i.e. content. People want to be entertained, educated, and curate a personalised social world for themselves and their friends.

There is a massive opportunity to excel in this region, but how brands can service those needs across ASEAN is the challenge.

Monica Savut

Published 3 July, 2013 by Monica Savut @ Econsultancy

Monica Savut is Head of Research Services at Econsultancy. Follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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