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New technology transforms marketing

News, 17 August 2015

SINGAPORE: The rise of mobile, social and ecommerce are having a profound impact on Asia's consumers whose adoption of new technology is transforming the region's marketing landscape, a new study has argued.

In the white paper "Asia's digital disruption", Dentsu Aegis Network and the Economist Corporate Network examined how technology is driving consumer engagement in the region.

Report author Justin Wood, chief economist at the Economist Corporate Network, said that life used to be simple for consumer-focused firms in the pre-digital era.

They had physical retail outlets, perhaps a mail order channel, and their marketing campaigns tended to be large and focused on just a few key media.

This is no longer the case, he said, and now companies risk undermining their brands by providing an inconsistent experience across highly varied distribution and media platforms.

With the digital revolution bringing unprecedented change to marketing, he said one of the biggest challenges for industry practitioners is fragmentation because it makes it hard to keep track of consumers across multiple devices.

In addition, consumers have spread themselves more thinly across an ever-growing selection of media, making it harder for companies to know where to spend their advertising budgets.

It is essential, therefore, for marketers to avoid disjointed digital campaigns and to maintain consistency across all the various channels and consumer touch points.

However, as the trends of mobile, social and ecommerce converge, consumers are generating huge amounts of information about themselves and this data provides rich opportunities for companies to target and personalise their engagement, Wood said.

For example, cookies and other tracking technology enables advertisers to serve ads only to certain types of consumers who can then be followed from site to site.

Equally, the digital revolution is changing the type of content that successful marketers use as they move away from traditional text-based messages to more visual content.

"Video, along with mobile, is the most important trend reshaping the world of marketing. It's a powerful format for storytelling and brand-building," declared Dan Neary, vp of Facebook Asia Pacific, who was interviewed for the report.

But while many brands are producing shorter, quick-hitting videos, they can also achieve significant impact by producing longer stories, advised Michelle Guthrie, managing director of Google Asia and another contributor.

"The form of the video has to be appropriate," she said. "In the past it was all about the 30-second TV commercial. But that doesn't translate well to the online world.

"Marketing agencies need to change how they think. It's no longer about advertising, it's about creating content that people want to watch and share with each other."

Data sourced from Dentsu Aegis Network, The Economist Corporate Network; additional content by Warc staff