SINGAPORE: Marketers now have an abundance of consumer data at their disposal as well as the digital means to reach them, but for some leading brands a more customer-centric approach is the best strategy to meet their business needs.

Speaking at the Forrester CX Marketing conference in Singapore, representatives from MasterCard, Starwood Hotels and Standard Chartered Bank revealed that data-driven marketing was not delivering the results they had hoped for.

They agreed that despite all the budgets allocated to programmatic and other ad tech, it is essential not to lose sight of emotion in the customer decision journey nor the way consumers interact with content, The Drum reported.

"We were using ad tech and we could target well, get good reach and get better results and then it tailed off," said Dominic Koh, Head of Digital and Social Marketing at MasterCard.

"We used programmatic and it got us better results but then it tapered off and it will dive again. Why? You need to reach their hearts, not their heads. If you are making ads on discounts and deals, people get blind," he added.

MasterCard came to believe that emotional connection had got somewhat lost in this programmatic age and so it shifted its real-time communications to putting its consumers first rather than partners and vendors.

A consumer-centric approach is also important for Standard Chartered, confirmed Norliza Kassim, the company's Head of Digital Engagement and Content.

"Power has shifted to the age of the customer," she said. "The role of the marketer is changing and we need to be able to adapt to that. Always start with [the] customer decision journey."

For Standard Chartered, as with the other two brands, adopting a customer-centric strategy does not mean ditching the opportunities presented by data, but instead to use data differently.

For example, the company continued to use data to target and inform strategy, but it selected content as the means to communicate its brand story.

Starwood Asia Pacific adopted a similar approach and Janice Chan, the company's Senior Director of Digital Marketing, explained how its Momentum content platform is used to provide customers with the information they really want – in this case, destinations.

She said the content is created with care, but then data can be used later to target and inform consumers based on the way they interacted with the content.

Data sourced from The Drum; additional content by Warc staff