Shane Hodge, the CEO and Co-Founder of TheCamel.co , is a bold and knowledgeable entrepreneur who isn't afraid to challenge the status quo and share his insights. His passion lies in designing, building, and supporting dynamic content websites, which he aptly dubs "Customer Attraction Programs". Shane's enthusiasm for the Duda platform is palpable, and he, along with his full in-house team spanning Australia and the Philippines, has dedicated years to crafting exceptional web experiences that leave lasting impressions.

Educated at Victoria University and equipped with a diverse skill set in business analysis, B2B marketing, market intelligence, marketing strategy, business development, and competitive analysis, Shane Hodge is not only a co-founder but a visionary leader committed to delivering top-tier web solutions. His commitment to ruffling feathers and speaking the truth is evident in his drive to create innovative, customer-focused websites that captivate and convert.

Journey as a marketer

1. What got you into web development and starting TheCamel.co?

It was 13 years ago, I had just finished a global contract and was sitting in Australia thinking what am I going to do next. I had a lot of projects offered to me as I gained expertise in Asia Pacific especially business development at government level.

One day a good friend of mine asked me to upgrade his team in the Philippines who was doing work for him, and I said yes because I thought it would be an easy-high paying job. I moved to the Philippines, met the team, and the funny part is I met my wife there. Eventually my contract ended and I didn't get paid. So I thought, I'm a salesman, and my wife's a really good designer. We chose to start a business by ourselves, which led us to selling mobile websites.

It then just started to grow because the industry took off at the moment it went to sites where you had one URL for mobile view, iPad view and desktop view. Mobile became a big thing, and websites changed dramatically. Once we got involved with Duda, we started doing more fulfilment than actual selling and ended up becoming a global partner with Duda and became best in the world with Duda development. We went from wife husband to 75 people and including all our partners, 200 people in The Camel.

2. How do you thing the marketing landscape evolved over time especially in Southeast Asia?

If we go back 20 years, my territory was Southeast Asia and China, and I would say it was all about building the relationship. If you want to get the big deals, you had to know somebody that knows somebody. Relationships dictated where you went in. It all changed when China started mass-producing high-quality products that were competitive and more cost effective. Everyone in Asia started to shift from "sweat shops" to "smart shops".

Yes, relationships are still super important, but what shines more today is the product, service and support. Everyone grew up, everyone became more respected, and there were more players in the game.

Pain points as a marketer

1. What are the pain points nowadays when you go about marketing in Southeast Asia?

A lot of business in SEA is still done in a social manner. You need to understand the cultures or else it'd be very hard to do business. You might think that the way we put proposals together, the way we put marketing information together is important, but that's not always the case, especially in SEA.

The other pain points is that how fast everything has changed. What we discussed last year has been turned upside down by AI. If you don't find the ways to work with the interrupters, they are going to be massive pain points in your marketing life.

Future of Marketing

1. Looking ahead, what do you believe are the biggest opportunities and challenges in the marketing industry?

I would say AI. In The Camel, we use AI to improve what I call a layer one, our service support, and we're upping the levels of humans. Toyota had this thing called human touch, and I believe that's how you've got to think with AI. It's brilliant, it's awesome, but it always needs the human touch on top of it.

I get excited about what AI can do and all the possibilities it opening up. Everyone on the basic level would be easily replaced by AI, because AI can do a better job. I hope a lot of these people upskill. But the opportunity for smaller agencies to write better proposals, do better presentations, build better websites with great content, it opens up a massive new market as long as you can recognize the opportunity.

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In conversations with the top marketing leaders all over the world, we try to identify the top trends likely to impact the field of marketing in the next decade. Join us in celebrating these courageous folks who are not afraid to toss out the playbook and play the game on their terms. Are you ready to learn about the present and future of marketing?