It was the year 2009 when Chan Sook Fen was still working for an international company as a Marketing Manager, and he noticed how expensive it could be for Small Medium Enterprises to be able to be in mainstream media. He was intrigued already, but a friend reaching out for help was what cemented GreatWorks Marketing under his direction.

Faces of SMEs (F): What inspired/drive you into the business and motivate you to start this company?

Chan Sook Fen (C): In 2009, while I was still working in an international company as a Marketing Manager, I have an opportunity to be exposed to many different types of business and business owners. I was having a casual chat with them, I realized that many companies especially SMEs have a limited budget for their A&P, but they would love to have some exposure to the mainstream media.

Most of these companies have a great story to tell about their product or services and I believe these stories that are very interesting to the media instead of the old commercialized or boring news. This is when it got me thinking, “Are there any way that these companies story could be share out through the media channels? Should I start a company to help out these SMEs instead? Since there were no PR companies that are focusing on them”.

Fast forward to eight months later, I received a call from my ex-colleague asking for a help to invite media to an event of hers as their former PR agency has withdrawn last minute. The event itself will be held in less than a week from the time they contacted me.

I then agreed and helped her with all the media invites, release and coordination for the event. It turns out the event attracted a big media crowd and coverage. My friend was very happy with the results and she suggested me to open up my own PR company to serve companies like them.

It took me 2 months before jumping on board with the idea. I have decided to start up GreatWorks Marketing (CBN – MY000001258) to help out as much companies as possible.

F: What is your vision for the company?

C: GreatWorks Marketing goal is to deliver great works at reasonable fees to all companies depending on their needs. Since then we have not only offering the conventional PR and Marketing services. We have also evolved our services to online Media Pitching portal named (for SMEs who have a budget as little as RM 200 per month).

F: If you can share with us, what’s the most challenging aspect of starting and/or managing the business?

C: The most challenging aspect in starting my business is getting clients. When you are small and you do not have many connections and portfolio at that time, it’s very hard to get potential clients to be convinced and engage your services.

F: Can you share with us what causes do you care most about in life?

C: Learning and innovation is a part of business cycle and life. You stop growing when you stop learning and innovating. I do believe to do your best and deliver GreatWorks no matter what, just like the company’s name, and leave the rest to the universe.

F: In your free time, what do you enjoy doing the most?

C: I love tech gadgets and photography

F: Any interesting story or event happen to you in related to your business that you would like to share with us?

C: We have a training company client that understands clearly that they needs leads and sales for their courses. Based on their goals, GreatWorks has worked with the company team to come out with a 6 months marketing campaign for the company. During the 6 months campaign, the company managed to convert their targeted leads to sales from the first activities, 10% conversion to 50% conversion. It was really mind-blowing.

F: What is your outlook for PR and Marketing world in the future?

C: There were some companies that have mistaken Marketing and Public Relations functions. Some companies would like to get their business to be featured on the medias so that they would get immediate leads or sales from these activities. This is not the case most of the time and it turns into dissatisfactions and frustrations.

What I would suggest is for companies to identify their business goals clearly before deciding to do any PR or Marketing. They should understand that:

Public Relations are activities to build awareness and branding of a product or services OR serve as a reminder of its brand, product or services. The expected KPIs would normally be numbers of media exposure and the reach out that they could get from PR. In terms of dollar and cents, it would be the media/PR value received.

As for Marketing activities, it depends on the company’s goal. Either to generate awareness or leads, there will be different types of activities to achieve such goals. By clearly defining the business goals and identifying the right activities for the goal, the companies could maximize the ROIs for their investments.

F: What’s next for GreatWorks?

C: We have created a new upcoming and growing media channel (the influencers) on our where we offers services to connect business’ products and services with the related influencers. Depending on the budget (Low, Mid or High), companies could get different types/quality of influencers to talk about the brand, product or services online.

Facess Behind ASEAN SMEs by Confirmis

CBN – MY000001258

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