Digital advertising is becoming increasingly relevant today and plays a major part in the way we consume information on the daily. While it is an industry in itself, it can also be one of many departments in a business—an essential one, at that. With a great deal of new and existing entrants in the advertising space, one agency stands out among its counterparts for its unique approach and company dynamic.
Founded in Singapore in 2016, Nimble Marketing Consultancy is a full-service boutique MarTech agency with a specialisation in media buying, content management, and advertising services. One of their most prominent attributes as a brand is their company demographic. Believe it or not, Nimble is the country’s first and only digital advertising agency made up of an all-female team, with members from Singapore and Malaysia.
Just like the original meaning of their brand name, this fierce team of girl bosses are quick on their feet and always prepared to take on any challenge. From the founder herself, let’s find out how Bella Khaja started Nimble from the ground up and transformed it into the powerhouse that it is in today’s marketing technology industry.
I’m Bella Khaja, the founder of Nimble Marketing Consultancy, Singapore’s first and only Digital Advertising Agency that is made up of an all-female team across Singapore and Malaysia. We specialise in paid social media and have run over 100 Facebook Advertising Campaigns for notable brands such as Property Guru, Shaw Theatres, Adam Khoo Learning Centre and many more.
Since our inception in 2016, our mission is to significantly transform the way brands and businesses maximise the potential of digital marketing to grow their online businesses. To date, the consultancy has done over 1000 campaigns! In 2020, we’ve also expanded our advertising wings with our technological partners Mobistudios to integrate new technology into the business with affordable digital signages for Guerilla Marketing as with Digital Out of Home platforms across Singapore.
I worked directly under the Chief Marketing Director as well as Senior Vice President for a European fashion brand called Mexx. I spent a considerable time travelling regionally for work to understand how the marketing landscape functioned for different parts of Asia and even spent a considerable amount of time in Amsterdam, where the HQ was, to learn how products are launched.
Interestingly, as fate would have it, I left Mexx and signed up to a culinary school in London called Le Cordon Bleu, and started training women on how to make delightful cakes through a humble home-based business called ByBella Cupcakes. In 2016, I came back home to Singapore to build Nimble Pte Ltd and the rest is history.
I am a true blue marketer and credit my critical thinking from my education at the National University of Singapore where I studied, believe it or not, Political Science.
Although I would have fared well in a corporate environment, deep down, I knew I was enterprising. When I first started the business, I only had one client to our name and was a one-woman show for the longest time. My marketing knowledge that I gained through my prior experience did not prepare me for the avalanche of social media—I had to learn every aspect of it from scratch.
As I deep dive into the industry further, I realised very quickly and shockingly that the space that I’m in is a male-dominated one. As a minority and a woman in tech, I felt that it was incredibly important to help more women become technically resourceful and savvy; the same way I have done it for myself. Turns out, it was the best decision.
Beyond our agency, I have expanded our business to training as well through Nimble Digital Academy, a recognised digital academy that is fostering the growth of digital tech-savvy businesses in Singapore and abroad. Together with my team, I strongly believe in the future of digital inclusivity and providing access to quality education in the name of building a network of enterprising businesses.
I have collectively trained over 3000 students, entrepreneurs and businesses regionally through in-person training, live webinars and seminars alike.
Our mission, for sure. We’re not looking for clients where the relationship is transactional. We aim to work with partners who believe in the potential of digital marketing and understand that it can be a long and sometimes, tumultuous journey.
Our agency is incredibly boutique— run by digital marketing consultants who run paid social media advertising who are also technologically backed. I’m proud to say that we have a growing number of digital out-of-home networks that allows businesses to scale their advertisement beyond social media, should they wish to reach more audiences through our networks at condominiums and major F&B retail spaces in Singapore.
This makes us the ideal choice for businesses looking to build omnichannel marketing strategies.
At the moment, we are focused on growing our advertising networks across Singapore and onboard more SMEs as well as motivate more businesses to adopt digital out-of-home advertising. As digital advertising will be affected in the pipeline, businesses must start to prepare for a cookie-less environment and evolve to capture their audience beyond organic means.
As I onboard quality trainers to our Academy, I hope more businesses will be equipped with the knowledge on how to optimise their business with digital marketing strategies.
I think the fact that I am still here rebuilding the business in ways that I never thought possible. Since Covid-19 and the circuit breaker period, I have lost businesses along the way and was thinking of giving it all up. But I’ve learned how to fail forward as a leader and pick up the pieces to stay on course. If I didn’t, the business would not have evolved to become what it is today.
“Since Covid-19 and the circuit breaker period, I have lost businesses along the way and was thinking of giving it all up. But I’ve learned how to fail forward as a leader and pick up the pieces to stay on course.” — Bella Khaja, Founder of Nimble Marketing Consultancy
As a business owner and founder, the biggest challenge is managing a growing team. Since the technical work that we do is still an emotionally driven process, team building has been my Achilles heel. There is a living, breathing person behind a social media account. When it sits on my young team, they may not be mentally ready to equip themselves to manoeuvre through the pressures of handling social media marketing because it is such a technical process.
Digital marketing involves real strategic thinking and I’m glad that my team is committed, motivated and incredibly reliable because they are empowered with the work that they do. To overcome this challenge, my team is incredibly tight-knit. Even if we are managing a team across the borders, we have consistent check-ins on Zoom to ensure that no woman is left behind.
For its simplicity and ease of transactions.
Initially, I was a little sceptical about the process because I couldn't believe how fast it was to get it all set up for our business. Previously, the bank that our business was registered with didn't issue multiple debit cards, which has been a real challenge for our business. For the longest time, I was using my personal debit cards for transactions.
A few months ago, I decided to revisit Aspire again—this time, with my team. I am glad I did because the whole team is on Aspire now and our financials are much more organized!
I actually have two favourites, simply because it’s so hard to choose just one! First: overseas transfers. I love the fact that international transfers can be done within an hour! That was not possible before and salary payouts to my Malaysia team were often delayed. Since we’ve joined Aspire, their transactions can be made instantaneously with zero disruption—even if it’s a public holiday.
Another feature that I love is that I can earn 1% cash back for qualified digital ad spend. This was the icing on the cake. We’re already spending so much on advertisement and this feature allows us to earn what we spend. Aspire, you spoil us crazy.
I read this excerpt in a newsletter by Sophia Amoruso to her followers on resilience in the face of adversity. She said this, “After building a company, there is no such thing as starting from zero even if it means starting over. By the time someone cares enough to call you out, you’ve built and learned so many things that you can take to your next venture. Even with zero business assets to your name, you’ve amassed an arsenal of something that makes having done it more valuable than not having done it at all. So...suck it up and go big, because you’ll regret not doing it far more than you will regret doing it. Take risks, and you learn—no matter how it ends. Because, in the end, everything ends anyway.”
Best. Advice. Ever.
Start small but dream big. I am riddled with impostor syndrome every day and you often wonder what the future holds. But I get up and keep getting up because I choose to fail forward, so that the lessons and mistakes that I make in my entrepreneurial journey become my hard truths. As resilience comes from a place of struggle, these hard truths would then allow me to grow my mind as well as nurture my enterprising spirit.
But you have to remember that you don’t have to struggle alone. I’m driven to share my arsenal of knowledge so we grow better and stronger as the next generation of entrepreneurs.
Absolutely! If you are a business owner who would like to expand your digital reach through digital marketing, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “ASPIRENIMBLE” in your email header. We would love to extend a 10% discount on the total invoice value on any of our advertising services as well as training!
But that’s not all. Through our partnership with local creative studio Picturhaus, Aspire users can also reach out to us with the same quote for all their photography and videography needs—from product photography to event coverage, you name it.
With the future of work constantly evolving, remote teams are becoming more and more common in the workforce. But as a remote team ourselves, we know that it can be a struggle to run a company with members scattered across different regions. That’s why we created a solution eliminating all cross-border barriers that are getting in the way.
Just like with Nimble, the Aspire Business Account allows users to make fast international transfers that can be done in just an hour with one of the lowest FX rates in the market. If you’re spending a huge sum of money on advertising costs each month, Aspire also rewards you with 1% cashback on all qualified marketing and SaaS spend—and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Want to unlock more perks and features like this?