In a new era of virtual businesses and changing marketing best practices, it’s becoming crucial to understand and use social media. By making a strategic investment in marketing, businesses can thrive. A strong communications strategy, a creative video, a new focus on digital presence, all of these often result in growth and sales. Companies can stay on top of their performance and improve their ability to educate, engage, and sustain their customers throughout the product life cycle.
To help innovators in Southeast Asia strengthen their marketing strategies, WE4F launched the Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Marketing Prize in September 2020. EGreen and aQysta each received marketing technical assistance, and funding for ads and content development. You can read the aQysta story here.
To see how the prize has affected EGreen’s business and marketing strategy, Wanweena Tangsathianraphap, Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist for the WE4F South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub, sat down with Duc Tho Pham, Chief Executive Officer from EGreen. They spoke about their online marketing pilot project and how the experience helped boost their marketing campaigns and online presence.
Could you please tell us a bit about your business?
My colleagues and I founded EGreen with a mission to reduce global greenhouse emissions and adapt agricultural management for climate change. I have seen the daily pollution from the livestock environment that contaminates many ponds, rivers, and the air. There are very few people who solve this problem. I felt I had to take action, then I started this biogas service business.
Since COVID-19 is still spreading in many countries, including Vietnam, how has it changed the way you do business?
We have adjusted our business actions to respond to COVID-19 in many ways:
- We changed our business model from selling the whole system to an energy service company (applying an ESCO* model), EGreen installs systems to sell electricity at a price that is 25-30% cheaper than the current electricity price of EVN. This change helps clients to decide quickly. The average sale time decreased from more than 2 months to 15-20 days.
- We moved many internal transactions to online channels and now conduct online training activities for local or farm staff.
- We support our customers in adapting to this new normal situation by adding online functions to the product such as the function to monitor and control the system remotely over the internet.
- We standardized our work and transferred many processes from the farm to the plants.
*The ESCO model was developed to recoup the savings from implementing more energy-efficient strategies onto commercial and industrial properties. (ref: c40 cities)
So, the move to online channels, is that why you applied for Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Marketing Prize?
EGreen is a company in the scale-up stage, so we planned to make a video for marketing and communication purposes. However, we did not have the staff or the funding to build the campaign. Fortunately, we received funding from WE4F. It was exactly what we needed at the right time.
Could you please tell me how did you decide to spend the prize award funds?
We used the fund to strengthen our marketing campaigns. WE4F supported EGreen in hiring professional media companies, developing a marketing strategy and launching the campaign in the first month. We received $500 USD to run ads on social media platforms. In addition to the funding and support from WE4F, EGreen made an additional investment to hire professional videographers in Vietnam to develop promotional videos. The company also hired professional marketing staff to run marketing campaigns on YouTube and Facebook. We have shown these videos to potential clients and related seminars.
After implementing this pilot intervention with WE4F, were there any changes or direct impacts on your business?
The explainer video has helped EGreen a lot. It is a high-quality media video, with materials to make sales toolkits. This clearly helps increase brand awareness and generates more revenue for the company. We have had a more than a two-fold increase in sales, which also helps double our revenue.
We have more credit institutions and investors interested in working with us. Some organizations want to cooperate with EGreen to co-implement projects. For example, SNV set up a joint venture with EGreen to develop the proposal on ‘”BPP Vietnam Call for Green Recovery Partnerships in Vietnam”. Vietnam Biogas Association has proposed to form 02 models of biogas electricity for a pig farm in Thanh Hoa. Some big livestock companies in Vietnam such as CP, Hoa Phat, Tan Long met with EGreen to learn from us and [apply the tactics to operate in] their farms.
The number of visitors on our Facebook page and website increased by 50 times. We are more well-known to the community as a biogas electric startup that pioneers this sector in Vietnam. In 2020, we were the winner of the HACK4GROWTH 2020 and received the $10,000 USD award.
Did you continue to carry out the marketing activities that started with WE4F?
EGreen has and will continue to carry out such marketing campaigns via Facebook and YouTube. We also allocate a revenue-based budget to perform these tasks regularly.
What is the main lesson learned you have from implementing the online strategy?
We sell technical products for a sub-sector, so we need to select specific channels to reach the right audience. It helps improve communications efficiency and reduces costs. Implementing the campaigns according to the livestock season also helps increase the level of effectiveness.
EGreen has its core business in biogas. The company provides consulting solutions for environmental treatment in livestock production to effectively use biogas such as generator systems, biogas sharing systems for the community. EGreen also produces and trades biogas filters for household cooking, biogas filters for biogas generators. The company has the vision to become a leading company in using innovative solutions, green technology in environmental remediation, and utilizing renewable energy in agriculture in Vietnam. EGreen won the Asia EDGE Ag-Energy Marketing Prize in 2020. https://egreenpro.com/
Wanweena Tangsathianraphap is a Communications and Knowledge Management Specialist for the WE4F South and Southeast Asia Regional Innovation Hub. She helps connect people together and bridge the gaps created by time, distance and culture through various communication tools. She believes in the power of knowledge sharing that it helps transform one’s ideas and shape personal views towards the world.