With advancement in digitalisation and AI, we are seeing more women making waves in the tech industry. However, what is it like to be a woman in tech in today’s business climate? How do they raise their profile in an industry dominated by men? What are their challenges and advice for those who are keen to build a career in tech?
MIA speaks to Chai Zhi Ying of YouAdMe, to get her perspective.
Hey Zhi Ying. Welcome to Marketing In Asia. We hear you have such an interesting entrepreneurship journey, and we can’t wait for you to share with our readers. Let’s dive straight to how you started YouAdMe. What was the catalyst that made you decide to jump on this digital marketing bandwagon?
Prior to starting YouAdMe, I was in a creative agency providing creative services to businesses to drive user engagement through innovative content. However, throughout the years running the traditional model, I realised that businesses today are facing difficulties in keeping up with the changing behaviour of consumers who are well-connected online.
Consumers today rely more on their social network to search for credibility of products or services, rather than content that is being created by the brand themselves. Hence, in late 2018, my fellow co-founders and I decided to transform our company into a platform with a mission to empower loyal customers and turn them into affiliates to help their businesses grow sales and trust with their innovative content in return for incentives.
Our platform’s goal is to encourage businesses to pay people who love them most to tell others about their products or services directly or indirectly, instead of spending tons of money on paid ads to promote products or services. Through the single most powerful form of promotion, “personal word of mouth”, the effects of this form of advertising can really add up into tangible results.
It is interesting how you ventured out to Cambodia and successfully grew your business there as well as in Singapore. Tell us how you did it.
YouAdMe is always striving for growth opportunities, and Cambodia is a fairly unsaturated market that we can contribute to with our resources and competitive advantages. Our preliminary plan was to tap into a larger market, but then we had the opportunity to work closely with a client in Cambodia managing their local projects. With better understanding of their market during the projects, we discovered many unsolved problems in the Cambodian marketing scene that, when solved, could potentially offer limitless room for growth.
The lower operational and acquisition costs in untapped countries such as Cambodia just happen to be nice perks. In Singapore, where users’ behavior are different, I took a different approach of penetrating into the Singapore market with a lot of partnerships and collaborations within the esports industry. This allows the esports brands and us to draw on each other’s strengths and grow our business together quickly and efficiently.
What can we expect from YouAdme in the coming years?
We want to reach out to more businesses across South East Asia–especially those that are affected by the pandemic–to support their business growth with our solutions. More projects and collaborations will be coming up too, as we work on Singapore’s first esports streaming platform.
In today’s competitive market, how do you ensure you continuously stay creative and innovative, Zhi Ying?
With digital marketing levelling the playing field, it means there are many more new players entering the market and more new ideas as well. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by what’s happening around us. To me, I stay focused on my goals: I identify our customers’ needs, produce and help them implement new, effective solutions, and hopefully also provide added value. These three things ensure that I stay creative and innovative relevant to our brand’s strategy, vision, and mission.
Let’s talk about your transition from the arts to tech. What are the lessons you learn in this journey to be a woman in tech?
While a lot of people see the creative and the tech industry as opposite ends of the spectrum, as someone who has had years of experience in the former, I’ve come to realize that technology requires and nurtures creativity—when you integrate both, you can end up with really inventive ideas and breakthrough solutions that’s out of our comfort zone but so much more exciting.
In your view, what are the main challenges faced by women in terms of employability in the tech industry in Asia?
I’d say the fear of not fitting in is something we still face in the tech industry. While globally we call for gender equality, diversity and inclusion, and equal opportunity in the workplace, the fact remains that the tech industry is largely male-dominated, and many women are hesitant to enter the industry.
How important is personal branding, and what is your advice for those who are planning to start their careers in tech?
Personal branding is essential–you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and I think this applies to all industries. If you want to stand out amongst competitors and reach out to your ideal clients, you will need to have a compelling personal brand that reflects your personal and professional strengths and shows the value you can deliver. I see my personal brand as a representation of my business; how I present myself will influence how potential customers see my company. If you’re planning to start your careers in tech, never forget to establish your personal branding!
What is your advice for women who are looking at building their career in tech?
Stay focused. Be clear about what you want. And just get to it, even if you think you’re not ready. Most people are more conservative when it comes to assessing themselves, and you may never feel you are 100% ready for the new adventure. But once you take the first step, you will realize you can get through whatever comes your way. What’s important is you are on the way. Just get started!
For those who wish to get in touch with you, what is the best way?
You can email me at email@example.com or reach me on LinkedIn