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Marketers of today face many dilemmas – customers are going mobile, more demanding, and less loyal. The industry leaders have started embracing customer-centricity as a vital way to grow their companies and strategies that are more customer-driven in place of the more traditional business or product-driven ones.

However, it is not as simple as putting the customer at the top of your priority list. There are other approaches you can employ when it comes to customer-centricity, and most of them revolve around what the customers need.

But before we proceed to those factors, let us first answer an imperative question about this topic.

What Does Being Customer-Centric Mean?

You’ve probably heard from some of your peers, or maybe you are experiencing this yourself, that companies are now transitioning from product-oriented to customer-oriented and the strategies are different when it comes to acquiring new and return customers.

The customer-centric approach tries to answer the question of what matters most to buyers. It’s not a new term among marketers. However, I believe only a few actually understand it. Super Office, an awarded-winning Customer Relationship Management software developer, defines being customer-centric as not just having great customer service but offering an excellent overall customer experience. That means a customer is at the centre of a significant expertise in all aspects of his journey – from awareness, purchasing process, and even the post-purchase process.

Still think that customers are not king? According to a study from Walker Info, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the way brands differentiate themselves.

Graph by Super Office

5 Approaches That Can Make Your Company More Customer-Centric

Now, that we have defined what it means to be customer-centric, let us proceed on how we can make your company more customer-centric.

Adopt Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is one of the hottest marketing terms right now. Simply put, it is the seamless integration of all the points in your customer’s journey. In the old days, a customer’s journey was quite simple; go to a brick and mortar store and ask a salesperson about the product that piques your interest. The end of the customer’s journey is either leaving the store or going to the cashier to purchase it.

Nowadays, it is not as simple as that. Customers have an array of devices to do their shopping and usually go to different points before arriving at the purchasing part.  While most users start their online journey using mobile devices, they could end up purchasing it on a desktop or tablet a few hours later.

Image by Heidi Cohen

Making this entire process as seamless and as hassle-free to the customer is at the heart of omnichannel marketing. Starbucks is a great example of a company doing omnichannel marketing the right way.

Starbucks Mobile Apps

Their loyalty card app gets you free rewards when you purchase inside their stores. However, Starbucks goes far and beyond a simple rewards card program and lets their reward app users update and reload their cards through mobile, in-store, website, or on the app itself. Every single change on the app automatically updates the user’s profile across all channels.

Make Customer-Centricity Your Company’s Mission

Customer-centricity is not just some words that executives can throw around without practising it. Interestingly though, there is a huge discrepancy between how customers perceive their customer service experience versus how companies feel about their performance. Just take a look at the graph by i-scoop:

As you can see, many companies are thinking they are doing a good job in handling their customers. However, only 8 percent of those companies do. It can’t all be lip-service when it comes to being customer-centric, it has to be your company’s mission.

Amazon tops the list when it comes to being a customer-centric company. Most of their practices propelled their company to consistently rank first on the list of the most customer-centric companies in the world. Their CEO, Jeff Bezos, has successfully embedded customer-centricity at the very core of each of his employees. The whole company is on a mission to always be the best. Just check out some of the practices that keep them on the top of their customer service game:

-Each meeting, CEO Jeff Bezos leaves one chair open at the conference table and tells everyone that it is occupied by “the most important person in the room – the customer.”

-Amazon prioritises the development of products that the consumer wants and needs like the Kindle and FireTV.

-The company has a culture of metrics wherein they do head-to-head tests of customer’s reaction based on their different site features and designs.

Be “Right For Them”

These are times when customers liking your brand isn’t enough to keep them loyal but being “right for them” is.  According to the American Marketing Association, Home Depot’s sales reached 19.7 billion after they started offering a wider assortment of products that their customers need. Here’s what Home Depot CIO Matt Carey has to say.

“Most people try to solve for what their internal problems are, or a pre-determined view of what they think the experience should be, we want to listen to our customers first, they tell us how they’d like to shop with us, and how they’d like to see us presented to them, and make those changes appropriately.”


So how did Home Depot do it?

In addition to the products, Home Depot also focused on the customer experience of checking out by standardising the process across all channels – in-store, online, mobile, and in-home. They also updated their management system, so associates can have more time assisting the customers instead of spending time on the computer. All these ultimately led to their success – and they are even reinvesting more on customer experience this year. Check out the tweet below.


In Vietnam, Thanh Nguyen created a company named Anphabe, which is best described as a Vietnamese version of LinkedIn. The company works hard to have an efficient networking platform that can connect millions of professionals in Vietnam.

By localising their website, Anphabe is a company that the Vietnamese trust when it comes to connecting with others professionally. Thanh Nguyen believes in being right for the customer, and she says that “If we desire to succeed in business, we should create meaningful and useful products or services for customers first and relentlessly satisfy their needs.”

See: Localise Your Website To Increase Regional Presence In The Asian Market

Transparency And Innovation

United Services Automobile Association (USAA), a Fortune 500 financial services group, has a very forward thinking when it comes to the implementation of a customer-centric strategy. They employ transparency and innovation when it comes to serving their clients. Here are some of their customer-centric features that made them a huge hit among customers:

-Their 24/7 “My Account” feature provide their customers with a real-time status of their car insurance claim. Customers can check as often as they need.

-USAA is the first bank to make iPhone deposits to their customers. This nifty app allows clients to use an iPhone to scan an endorsed check and have it deposit straight to their account without having to go to the actual bank.

-Soldiers on the field are offered a text account balance service.

These features, among others, are what made USAA on the top of their industry. Bloomberg reported that 87 percent of survey respondents would do business with USAA again. In addition to that, JD Power’s survey also mentioned that USAA’s client retention rate is a near-perfect 97.8 percent Check out USAA’s mobile app:

Another company that implements transparency and innovation is China’s biggest tech start-up — Xiaomi. They are a cell phone manufacturer, but Instead of starting with the hardware, Xiaomi first focused on software.

The brand, which started back in 2010 went on bulletin boards, forums, and discussion places where most Android users were. From the forums, hundred were recruited to download, test, and give their feedback about different versions of Android that they developed. As soon as they got that right, they started making the hardware, and after over a year, the first phone model was born.

In an industry where being secretive is a norm, Xiaomi has a very open environment and Lei Jun, the company’s CEO, credits their customers for a third of the features added to their operating system and for reaching more than 100 million users to date. Check out the video of their latest smartphone below.

Sweat The Small Stuff

Focusing on the big picture will keep everything on track, but it is easy to overlook the other facets of the company. It is sometimes the little things that are the most memorable to the consumers. Sweating the small stuff usually doesn’t cost much, but it will go a long way in creating a lasting relationship with your company’s customers.

The international hotel chain, Marriott, instilled this on their employees. From their housekeepers making sure that the alarm is not set before leaving the room, to their social media division who actively respond to tweets, each one aims to focus on being more customer-centric. Founder J. Willard Marriott says it best:

“It’s the little things that make big things possible. Only attention to the fine details of any operation makes the operation first class.”

Companies who use this approach appears to be friendlier and to be showing a more genuine concern for their customers. In return, customers will more likely form a stronger bond and increase their loyalty to these brands.

Customer-Centricity Is The Way To Go

Customers nowadays drive the marketplace and companies are taking notice. Back in the day, the primary driving force behind sales is a superior product and excellent service. Now, times have changed, and consumers are valuing the experience more than the product itself. A seamless experience across multiple devices and marketing channels is now at the forefront of brand and customer relationship.

The ability to address your customers’ needs is, therefore, more important than ever. With all the new companies and products popping up at a fast rate, the capacity to create a bond with your customer becomes even more essential than the quality of what you are selling.

With a better understanding of customer-centricity, you are on your way to a profitable marketing strategy. However, one thing that you should look out for is how to accurately localise your marketing efforts when dealing with a foreign market. In the next chapter, we will discuss how you can localise your website for the Asian market.

The year has passed by quickly, and new budgets, organisation changes, and rapid digital innovation that may disrupt many big businesses are already out there.

There were some drastic changes in the consumer goods industry in 2016. AB-Inbev took over SAB Miller for a merger of more than US$100 billion, making them now the largest beer company in the world.

Here are some of the changes that the Asian consumer goods industry is experiencing.

1. Rapid Growth In Asia – 2017 And Beyond

While Asian powerhouses like China and Japan are going to experience a slight dip when it comes to growth in 2017, while other economies within the region are predicted to perform quite well. India leads the growth with a GDP increase of 7.5 percent this year according to a report by International Monetary Fund. Vietnam will continue to be a fast-growing economy along with the Philippines and Malaysia .

2. Direct From Manufacturer To Consumer Via Online

Consumer goods marketers are trying to find ways to create direct-to-consumer (DTC) to communicate with their customers directly. While this would only be possible up to a certain degree decades ago, digital channels have now enabled manufacturers of various industries to engage with their customers directly.

According to a report by Forbes, there will be a 71 percent growth in manufacturers who sell directly to their consumers. Moreover, more than one-third of consumers indicated that they had bought items directly from the manufacturer’s website last year. Marketers of these consumer goods manufacturers now realise that using tools like social media, email, mobile, and apps to converse with their customers is the way to go.

Nike, a very well-known consumer goods manufacturer, has been putting more effort to connect with their customers by improving their digital presence directly. They have managed to grow their sales further by launching NIKEiD, which is an online service that lets customers customise their gear. The direct to consumer campaign was responsible for 22 percent of Nike’s total revenue in 2015. Here’s a video to better explain NIKEiD:

3. Weakening Retailers

As stated above, manufacturers are starting to engage their customers directly, and this is weakening the retailers. Some time ago, manufacturers had to rely on their retailers to sell their goods and engage their customers. However, new digital channels have allowed manufacturers to bypass their retailers. Consider the following figures from Digital Clarity Group:

  • Nearly half of all consumers are already visiting the manufacturer’s website with the intention to buy.
  • Direct to consumer is a way for manufacturers to keep all the profit. Net margin per unit doubles with direct to consumer. A vendor interviewed for this research mentioned that the increases among customers are from 50 percent and even as high as 400 percent making their overall margin better.
  • Manufacturers who are now selling DTC have customers who are more engaged and loyal. They are now able to promote a customised product assortment to customers due to the availability of data on the customer’s purchasing habits.

These factors are the strong-suit of start-ups such as the Dollar Shave Club, which we first mentioned in Chapter I. They have mastered how to converse with their customers over different digital channels authentically. Six hours after the release of a video with their founder talking about their product in a very humourous way, the blades were sold out, and their website

Since consumers now have access to information about products online, they have a stronger ability to compare brands, pricing, and reviews. These make companies such as Dollar Shave Club who has built good customer relationships, even more valuable to big manufacturers.

4.  Increasing Importance Of Direct Sales

Under Armour Inc., a huge rival of Nike in the sports apparel space focused on e-commerce sales as well as factory outlets and had a great start on 2017 regarding DTC. They had a 23 percent increase in DTC revenue in 2016 and is still looking for more ways to reach consumers directly. A huge part of this success is attributed to various websites that the company launched in places like Thailand and Belgium in 2015.

Link: https://www.underarmour.com.sg/

Most businesses have focused on this aspect this year. Aside from the juicy profit margins reaped from DTC models, it will also allow companies to control their branding story and message that they want to tell customers.

DTC has a myriad of benefits. While big brands do make a killing when it comes to sales through retailers, they are still at the mercy of those retailers when it comes to customer experience. That is why direct sales and e-commerce is going to be huge.

5. Nurturing Direct Consumer Relationships

As more and more manufacturers are going DTC, nurturing those customers from direct sales is becoming more important. Gatorade, a beverage brand that has a particular core market, which is “competitive” athletes, has been very successful when it comes to building DTC relationships.

A report from Prophet mentioned that Gatorade had realised that 75 percent of competitive athletes spend time online to learn more about their sports. Because of this Gatorade’s Mission Control Center was born. It analyses and logs the customers’ online comments about Gatorade’s wares and helps the brand understand what their customers want, get new ideas for future products, and allows them to adjust their marketing accordingly. Check out how it works in the video below.

6. Rapid Evolution Of Delivery Services In Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia includes 11 countries and more than 620 million people. Among the population, there is a huge chunk aged 30 and below with disposable income. It does not come as a surprise that many businesses are finding opportunities to innovate and provide valuable and more convenient services. One such service is home delivery which is expected to grow at an average of 14 percent by 2020 in Asia Pacific.

The popular ride-sharing app, Uber, realised this and launched UberEATS, an on-demand meal delivery service. Utilising the current network of drivers and riders, food from the customer’s favourite restaurant is delivered quicker than the usual delivery services. Check out how convenient UberEATS is:

Uber, however, was not the first one to do this. They are currently competing with other popular brands offering similar services like Grab, Food Panda, and Deliver. The demand for delivery in Southeast Asia is already significant, and it can grow even more, especially for developing nations. Check out the graph below.

Graph by: Euromonitor

7. The Rise Of Cashless Payments

The supply chain in consumer goods is a vital process and includes shipping and transportation. Many businesses will start dwelling more into automated logistic management to make the customer experience even more convenient.

Most Asian countries certainly have a lot of room to make in the logistic environment, particularly the rapidly developing countries in South East Asia. Amazon, although known to most people as an Internet retailer, has been developing an automated grocery store that eliminates long lines at the check-out counter.

The store called Amazon Go is equipped with machine vision technology to automatically identify which shopper took an item off the shelf or which shopper removed an item from the basket. Here’s a video of the most advanced shopping technology to-date:

You can also read about our article Creating A Marketing Strategy For Asia’s Booming Mobile Users to know more about how to take advantage of this trend.

8. Logistics – The Key To Reaching Consumers Directly

Another exciting development that Amazon has in the works is a drone that will deliver your items right to your doorstep. A patent was filed, and it describes a drone that uses magnets, parachutes, and spring coils to release packages during flight. Check out the video below:

In Southeast Asia, Lazada has partnered with an e-commerce logistics start-up to compensate the slow and sometimes unreliable shipping companies available locally. It might not be as high-tech as what Amazon has been doing in the West, but it sure is a good start.

9. Fast Up-Trading To Premium Products

A few years back in Malaysia consumers began trading up to more premium products. Apparently, consumers who live in countries that are becoming stronger economically are more willing to trade up their usual brands to a more well-known and higher quality brand.

One product that is benefiting from this up-trade is baby milk formula. It turns out that mothers today know a lot more about better caring for a child because of more accessible information. Consumers are willing to spend more on premium brands since it meant more scientific research were done and better ingredients were used on the product.

Link: https://www.frisogold.com.my/en

They see premium and more expensive brands as far more superior than cheaper priced products. And with Asia’s economic rise, it is already apparent that a lot of premium brands have a gap to fill in the market.

10. Reinvestment Of Profits Into Asia

With Asia’s steady growth in recent years, it makes sense that the European brands are taking notice. Two major European FMCG brands have recently expanded their operations in Southeast Asia – Unilever in Thailand, and Nestlé in Vietnam.

Nestle Indochina’s Chairman and CEO said that the company believes in the potential of Vietnam because of its “young and dynamic population, expanding consumer market, and favourable business environment.” The brand spent about US$36.5 million on the expansion of Milo’s factory in South Vietnam.

Unilever Thailand’s chairwoman, on the other hand, mentioned that their expansion is the biggest investment in the past 20 years and that she has high hopes for it. She also said, “Thailand is a strategic country for Unilever globally due [to] its good geographical location, which can serve as a hub for the upcoming ASEAN Economic Community, while the number of middle-class consumers here can reach 50m by 2020.”

Asian consumers are starting to be more concerned about a brand’s attitude towards sustainability. This became one of the reasons why the Asian FMCG sector is important in a financier’s portfolio. The recent investments from these European FMCG giants will certainly have other big brands looking to put their money into these emerging markets.

11. Unleashing Future Growth Through Business Model Disruption

Marketing leaders know that disruption is a good thing. One disruption that already began is the changing of the 4P’s of marketing (Product, Placement, Price, and Promotion).

Current marketing leaders are changing industries by incorporating modified key frameworks like the 4P’s. Here are the redefined versions:

  • Think more of Service (not just product) – Adding services wrapped around the product increases the value proposition and makes the brand more personalised. Service adds value to the customer. Famous auto insurance company Geico has a brand promise that says “15 minutes or less can save you 15 percent or more on car insurance.” By making a bold statement, Geico tells customers that they value their customer’s time.
  • Access (not just placement) – Brands that are more accessible have a huge advantage over those that aren’t. Amazon Japan is an excellent example of this by allowing customers to shop online and pay through any of their 50,000 convenience stores nationwide.
  • Variable Pricing (not fixed pricing) – Consumers can now have the option to choose what they need and get what they paid for. Amazon has been doing this for a while now with their prices changing every ten minutes.
  • Engagement (not promote) – Directly engaging customers and encouraging participation to experience the brand helps develop a more lasting relationship with the brand. The coffee giant Starbucks is excellent when it comes to engaging customers, the company is splattered across all social media platforms and is quite busy responding to mentions as well as apologising to customers with bad experiences.

12. Entering Emerging Markets Digitally – Better Late Than Never

The growth of emerging markets gives rise to millions of consumers that have higher spending power. With this comes the endless potential for digital platforms that can further bring more choices and communication channels to consumers.

The gap is still huge for brands who plan to enter emerging markets digitally. This is because of the consumer population, of which majority falls into the Millennial bracket, who demands more premium and exclusive products.

In Asia, Lazada has been dominating the e-commerce business and valued at $1.3 billion. Despite this high valuation, it is still expected to grow rapidly in the years to come.

13. Increase ROI With A Digital Data-Driven Approach

Data-driven marketing utilises customer-related data to deliver the right message to the right audience, at the right time, and drive the right consumer behaviour. The beauty of this approach is that everything is measured and you will see which areas you need to improve on, and it also eliminates ineffective marketing.

The approach allows businesses to spend less money with maximised results by not having to cast a wide net regarding advertising and avoids wasteful spending. Read more about this topic in our article “Future Proof Your Business By Using These 6 Data-Driven Marketing Strategies.” Here’s also a video that talks more about this approach:

With all these digital trends booming this year, which one are you planning to use for your company? Let us know in the comments below which digital trend excites you the most.

There is no way of stopping the mobile revolution that is currently happening in our world. More people prefer using their mobile devices to surf the internet than the Desktop PC. This is most likely due to the convenience and also the growing sizes of our mobile phones.

Think about it, there are probably even times where you use your phone to browse the web even when you have a desktop PC available. This is because mobile phones are normally within reach and could be used anywhere that has a 3G or 4G signal. Plus, with the “phablet” era continuously heating up, mobile phones are getting screen sizes that make surfing the net easier than the past smaller models.

Numbers do not lie, and the statistics are saying that mobile is dominating the web. According to Stone Temple, 55.79% of internet users are using their mobile phones to surf the web. In comparison, desktop PCs, which used to dominate this statistic account for only 44.21% in the latest study.

The same trend is happening in Asia where a huge population currently resides. According to China Daily, the country of China has already exceeded 1.3 Billion mobile users in 2016. And a whopping 30 percent of those mobile users are 4G subscribers. To give you a good perspective of that surge, there are 386 million 4G users in China which are triple from the number of users in 2014. And if you think about it, this number does not even include users who connect through Wi-Fi with their mobile devices.

Another big example is India. According to the Economic Times, India will have over 500 million mobile internet users by 2017. The same article also mentions a recent survey that prepaid smartphone users spend about 72% of their time accessing online content and only 15% making voice calls. That definitely says a lot about how the purpose of mobile phones has changed over the past few years.

And this is the main reason why your company should be adopting a mobile-first strategy. The trend of mobile phones as the dominant device is going to keep rising as the years roll by. Phones are getting more powerful every year and are inching towards desktop PC-like power and response. Your company should start adopting a mobile-first strategy or risk getting left behind.

Not yet fully convinced regarding this phenomena? Well, to put things in perspective, Google has already announced that they are going to roll out a mobile-first index. This means that the biggest search engine on earth is going to prioritize mobile URLs in their ranking.

Steps to having a mobile marketing strategy for your company

Make sure that your website is mobile responsive

There is a good chance that your website is already mobile friendly. But did you know that you still need to make your mobile website adaptive to various devices? Mobile phones have varying screen sizes, not to mention the numerous tablet sizes that plague the market. Make sure that your customer is having a pleasant time on your website no matter what device he/she is on.

According to Activemedia, 38% of users will stop engaging a website that is unattractive and unresponsive. That should be enough to tell you how much customers can be lost just because a website is not responding well to his/her screen size.

Take advantage of mobile wallets

The boom of the mobile phone industry has made a lot of big companies re-think of a new idea of payment. Mobile wallets work by using near field communication (NFC) to transfer data from your mobile phone to the payment reader. This makes it fast and convenient for people dealing with their transactions.

According to CMO, mobile based payments are expected to reach about $142 Billion dollars by 2019. The biggest mobile wallet services like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are getting an increase in users as the years roll by.

In Asia, mobile wallets are already making moves. According to Business Insider, Singapore became the first country outside of the US to support all the major mobile wallets. It started with 20 retail locations and will most likely grow as time passes by. UnionPay, another major mobile wallet service, has already started entering the Chinese and South Korean market, this means that the rest of Asia is not too far behind.

Large companies like Starbucks are already using mobile wallets as a means for their customers to purchase. It would be a wise move for any company to start rethinking the way people can pay.

Start thinking apps

Mobile phones and apps come hand in hand, and plenty of companies have already taken advantage of this fact. This is because app usage is at an all-time high especially in places like Asia. Did you know that Asia is now the biggest market for mobile apps? According to lnternational Business Times, mobile app usage in Asia grew to 77 percent and has surged ahead of markets like the US in 2014 and 2015.

The main cause of this increase is the rise of shopping apps in various Asian countries. The same study found that usage in shopping and lifestyle apps have tripled in the span of one year.

With this study, it is pretty evident that e-commerce is booming in Asia. Companies are figuring out that apps help create a direct marketing channel between them and their customers. Apps can be valuable in creating loyalty programs, promotions, and an easier shopping experience. Asia’s top online fashion retailer Zalora, for example, has a mobile app that makes it possible for users to place coupon codes (normally found on their website) and enter that through the app.

 

If a company really wants to adopt a mobile-first strategy, then thinking about having an app might just be the best move to show commitment.

Mobile optimize your email campaigns

You might be wondering why you need to optimize your email campaigns for mobile. The answer lies with the current trend of email reading. According to Email Monday, 54 percent of all emails are read first on a mobile device.

Automobile seller, Auto Trader, figured this little fact out and decided to make their emails more mobile-optimised. This resulted in a 391% increase in click through rates since they redesigned their emails.

Making your emails mobile responsive is not particularly hard. First of all is to find out what email clients tend to use. Once you have that data, see if that email client can support various applications like video.

Phone screens are much smaller than desktop screens so make sure that you use bigger fonts in your email. Good mobile-optimised emails have fonts that do not need any zooming in from the reader. Check out the following image for a side by side comparison of a small font on mobile and a large font one.

Image by HubSpot

De-cluttering your emails from less useful links and long paragraphs is also helpful in making your emails more mobile friendly. Make your words shorter and your headlines more concise. People don’t want to be overwhelmed with so many things happening on a 5-inch screen.

Also, put touch friendly buttons on your emails. Don’t forget to utilize sharing buttons so you could take advantage of the power of social media. Lastly, use a single column layout to make it friendlier to the eyes of mobile users. Check out this great email design from Superthings that looks great on a mobile device.

Image by SuperThings

Don’t forget about SMS marketing

Despite cheaper online chat apps increasing in use, there are still companies sending us standard text messages with promos and ads. The reason is pretty simple – SMS messages has a whopping 82.1% open rate.

That makes SMS one of the most potent marketing tool for companies. Footwear retailer, Payless, still uses SMS to create awareness of their products through various promos. Below is an example of one of their SMS campaigns.

Sample SMS Marketing by Payless

Your SMS campaigns must have a clear call to action. For example, use simple keywords like BUYNOW or GETPROMO as what they should type before sending it to a number. SMS campaigns mostly fail because of unclear instructions which can cause users to leave your message quickly.

Keep in mind that you will need compliance before creating SMS campaigns. Check which entities govern the mobile industry in the country you wish to deploy your SMS campaign.

Take your company mobile in Asia

Mobile use in Asia is booming and marketers already started taking notice. There is no stopping this trend and it looks like companies are already taking a mobile-first approach. Emails, websites, and apps are just a few of the major things that a good marketer needs in order to be ready for the mobile-dominated future. With the rate of new technology and innovations, the next few years will be quite interesting in the field of mobile marketing.

Do you have any stories and experience about creating a mobile marketing strategy for the Asian market? Please feel free to write them all down in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!

Ever since man began selling his wares, the art of persuasion was never far behind. Marketing has always been at the heart of commerce, but it was in the Industrial Revolution where things really took off. The introduction of mass production heralded the need for more sophisticated methods to inform consumers about the new products being created. Thus the birth of the modern marketing tactics.

In the 1940s, competition amongst businesses started to intensify. Marketing suddenly became more sophisticated in a sense that various brands started dabbling with the idea of building customer relationships. To some extent, the bigger brands managed to foster some bond with their consumer, while the others that didn’t, typically failed and died. The race to build customer relationships was on.

Image by Azqoutes

The majority of marketing techniques used back then were based on pure instinct. This does not always yield the best results, because of this, businesses who could afford to buy and analyse data began using it. Suddenly, companies started targeting their customers with better precision and accuracy. Bigger brands were using these data not just to improve their overall marketing strategies but to strengthen their logistic operations as well.

Data quickly became a valuable commodity with multinational companies and companies solely offering data services were born. These companies help marketers see the complete process of events that leads a customer to purchase what you are selling and why they love your brand.

Data-driven Marketing By The Numbers

If you haven’t been implementing data into your marketing, then you are coming in a bit late to the party. According to CMO, over 78 percent of today’s marketers are using data when it comes to executing their marketing strategies. Furthermore, Media Math reported that 63 percent of marketers are spending more on data-driven marketing over the last year, with an additional 10 percent expecting to increase it even more.

But if you have started employing data-driven marketing tactics for your company, then good for you. In a recent survey by Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Winterberry Group, 40.9 percent of marketing professionals have reported a growth in revenue from data-driven marketing related efforts.

 

However, in the graph above, you will see that there is still a huge chunk of marketers that experiences no change in revenues. That means as a marketer, you should never be complacent with your marketing efforts to avoid being in a revenue slump.

6 Ways To Drive Your Company Using Data

Let’s take a look on how you can push your data-driven marketing efforts even further and finally hit the revenue you want.

1. Rethink Your Customer’s Journey

As marketing channels become bigger and mixed, data suddenly plays a significant role in making sure that the customer experience is as seamless as possible. A lot of times, someone goes into a department store and looks at their mobile device to learn more about a product on the shelf. The customer will then have the option to buy it right there or go home and purchase it online.

According to Marketo, 65 percent of consumers start on a mobile phone and out of those, 61 percent then continue their journey on a laptop. But that is not the entire picture when it comes to customer journey.

Algorithmic attribution is a model marketers can use to excellently measure the success of each point of the customer’s journey when purchasing a product. This is becoming increasingly important, especially in today’s world where customers jump from one device to another before buying something.

This attribution provides the marketer with a better insight on which stage in a customer’s journey is the most critical and which channel and content work best. This data can then serve as a basis for the company’s investment decisions

2. Use Data To Connect To All Your Customers

With the fierce competition, most companies experience today, relying on the general demographics to create your buyer persona is no longer sufficient. Creating content that will appeal to your customer and give you that coveted ROI is much more challenging.

Your customers are different individuals and have varying likes and dislikes. Marketers of today need to cast a wider net in creating content that is more personalised and fit their customers’ needs and wants.

Take Arby’s for example; they succeeded in using data to figure out what type of message and channel works well for their customers. They knew (with data, of course) that their customers use TV and Twitter connectively to watch the Grammy’s.

Arby’s social media director tuned in to watch the show too and waited for opportunities to engage himself in the conversation real-time. Check out the tweet below:

The Twitter world loved it and re-tweeted it 77,000 times. This an exquisite example of how you can use data to create content that will connect with your audience.

 

3. Email Provides Great ROIs

By 2020, there will be 3 billion email users worldwide, which is significantly more than the 2.6 billion users in 2016. Given that data, it is not such a bad idea to push this powerful marketing channel even further.

According to WordStream, email marketing is the most-used digital channel and Facebook, with its almost 2 billion monthly active users, can make email marketing even better. And here is where we’ll talk about Facebook Custom Audiences.

Posting something on Facebook alone is not enough and might not give you the results you want. Facebook Custom Audiences is where you can use email addresses and create a custom audience for your company. Facebook will then use the emails you’ve listed and match it with actual Facebook users. Just define your audience, and you now have the power to reach the people that matter to you.

See: Mailing List 101: Your Guide To Building A Mailing List

 

4. Measure, Test And Adjust Your Marketing Efforts Using Data

Think about this; you may have a great video paid ad running on one of those popular news sites. Your sales are up so without looking at your data you figure that the ad may have something to do with it. But after a while, you decide to check the data, and you find out that you are not hitting your target market with the ad.  Your sales increase was due to something else, and in this case, it was not the video ad.

By measuring your marketing efforts, not only will you know which one works, but you will also eliminate any need for guesswork. This is the beauty when your marketing relies on data, the need for any “gut-feel” type of marketing approach is considerably lessened, and everything can be backed up by data.

Once you know what works, you can allocate more resources to that channel, test it out, and gather more data. Through constant measuring and testing, you can continuously mould a personalised and highly immersive customer experience that cultivates a long term and profitable relationship with your target audience.

 

5. Integrate Your Online Platforms With Google Analytics

Google Analytics is one of those must-haves if you want to acquire some useful data in your online marketing. If you have a WordPress site, you can easily add Google Analytics via this plugin. This will enable you to find out how visitors search for and use your website and it also uses universal tracking, which lets you track users across devices and platforms. Another nifty feature is page analytics, which helps you figure out which pages and sections of your website are getting more attention. All this information is in real time, so you can react and adapt quickly to different trends.

However, before going into any of that, you need to set up your account through Google Analytics. It will only take about three steps, and you are ready to go. You can also create multiple accounts if you have more than one website. A good tip would be to use services like Cyfe to efficiently manage your website.  This service allows you to monitor multiple websites and best of all – you can integrate it with Google Analytics for a more convenient way to track multiple data from various websites.

Once you have Google Analytics integrated with your website, you will be able to track or collect useful information like audience demographics, interests, location, language, and site visits.

As mentioned above, Google Analytics can also help you learn about the behaviour of your visitors. Lastly, Google Analytics can give you data regarding how many conversions your website has received and the path your visitor undertook to finish that conversion (i.e. how many landed on your website via your Facebook page.

 

6. Learn How To Automate

Marketing automation is one of the hottest buzzwords in the industry today. This is a software that helps put your marketing and sales engagements on autopilot. By doing the heavy lifting of sending out bulks of email and helping you prioritise your leads, marketing automation helps you generate more leads, close more deals, and effectively measure your marketing success.

A marketing automation software can send out thousands of emails automatically to your clients on a regular basis using a time that is set by you. The software can also determine which of your leads are ready to be engaged and which of them need a bit more time. This is done by the software recognising which of those possible leads are engaging your marketing efforts more.

Data is at the heart of this software – Marketing automation can also give you information on how successful your marketing campaigns are and where the leads are coming from. Without the need to do the heavy lifting of sending out emails and guessing which leads to pursue, the sales team could focus on closing deals with the hottest leads.

How efficient is marketing automation when it comes to determining the hottest leads? Simply put, the software can tell you when your lead is browsing your website in real time and will inform you through email that this will be the perfect time to call.

Marketing Automation software helps maximise the efficiency of your marketing and sales team. If you really want to have a data-driven company, getting a marketing automation software might just be your best bet.

Data Is The Future Of Marketing

There is very little doubt that cultivating a data-driven company is the future and the battle for the hearts of the consumer is bound to intensify in the years to come. It will still be up to the marketer to interpret information and turn it into a sound and effective strategy.

Data-driven marketing, however, is going to make marketers’ lives so much easier. It helps them focus on what really matters and create stronger bonds with customers that continuously evolves in the future.

Do you have any experiences regarding data-driven marketing? Let us discuss it in the comments section below – we would really love to hear your thoughts!

No matter what type of business you are in it is always a must to ask yourself one question – how much of the overall revenue should we put in marketing? And while there is not one definite answer to that question, there are a dozen blueprints from successful companies that you can use as a guideline to this question. Truth be told, even in the same industries, companies tend to have different budgets to their marketing efforts.

According to Chron, The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends spending 7 to 8 percent of your gross revenue for marketing if you’re company is doing less than $5 million a year in annual sales and your net profit margin is in the 10 percent to 12 percent range. However, this is just a guideline and there a lot of big businesses that do not even follow this number.

For these bigger companies (those falling in the $25 million and $11 million range) the magic number is about 9 to 10 percent according to Vital. As stated above, this stat does not refer to all companies. As a matter of fact, a lot of those big brands that we know and love are way off when it comes to marketing budget.

To prove this point, you don’t have to look any further than the giant tech company, Microsoft. Microsoft puts a huge 18 percent of its revenue in sales and marketing. That is about double what the recommended budget is. Shockingly, some companies are even taking it further than this figure.

The rise of digital marketing has a lot to do with this. As we go along, we shall learn more about this facet of marketing. First, let us first know more about marketing budgets of various companies and industries.

What’s In the Marketing Budget?

Marketing budget often varies per company and marketers are always playing the guessing game on how much their competitor is spending. The Wall Street Journal reported that marketing budgets actually vary by industry with consumer packaged goods leading the trail with 24% of their overall budget being spent on marketing.

marketing budget by industry

So, what does a marketing budget comprise of? It actually varies per company. According to the report, most companies put the expenses of their marketing employees in the general administrative expenses. But almost half of the companies that were surveyed include it in their marketing budget.

Another interesting thing to note is that majority of companies include direct marketing expenses such as trade promotions, direct marketing, and advertising in their marketing budget. This, again, varies from industry. Here’s a graph showing what’s in the marketing budget by industry.

marketing expenses by industry

Marketing Spending On The Rise

This year, the marketing budget average is expected to be at 12%, which is an increase from the 10% average budget most marketers had back in 2014. This is definitely good news to marketers who want to expand their reach and efforts. But why is the marketing budget climbing up each year?

According to Resonate, the largest factor affecting the increase in marketing budget is an increased need for technology. Particulary one that can expand influence by using precise, target, and people-based marketing. Companies are now aware that marketing in the digital age is more than just brand awareness. Marketing is the driving force in getting more revenue.

Most companies are realizing the important value marketing brings in. Buyers are now smarter when it comes to choosing products and have been interacting more with the marketing efforts from the company. Therefore, more effort is put it on customer experience and digital experience.

Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey found out that in 2017, website, digital commerce, and digital advertising will be the top 3 areas most companies will be spending their budget on.  The data shows 52% of marketers will increase the budget they spend on their websites. 61% agrees that digital commerce is a high priority in meeting their annual goals. And lastly, 65% of marketers will increase their spending on digital advertising.

How to allocate Budgets Across Channels

Given now the knowledge on what usually is included in a marketing budget and how it has recently been on the rise, the question about how to allocate your marketing budget must have come to mind.

Marketing budget allocation often factors in the nature of the business, competition, and customer behavior. However, here is an average on Marketing Spending in 2016.

marketing spend

According to Web Strategies, there is a decrease in budget allocation for traditional channels. This might be the case since in a separate study in 2014, it has been found out that the most effective marketing activities in generating ROI are email marketing, organic search, and content marketing. These activities together with marketing technologies and automation have proven to achieve remarkable results in the past years.  This year, marketers from around the world are predicting that content marketing, big data, along with marketing automation will continue to rise as the most important factor in boosting sales and leads. The graph below will show you an idea on where to allocate your digital marketing budget for 2017.

digital marketing techniques

Chart by: Business2Community

Rapid Digitalization in Singapore and SE Asia

As of January 2017, there are 320 million Internet users in Southeast Asia according to a report by ASEAN Up. In Singapore alone, a whopping 82% of its population are Internet users. 77% of them are active in social media. Here’s a quick glance on the digital population of Southeast Asia.

Asean Digital Population

In 2014, only an average of 7% from the total marketing budget has been spent on digital channels in Singapore. However, given the rapid increase of digitalization in the country, it is estimated that by this year, 34% of the total marketing budget is going to be spent on digital channels. According to SPH Magazines, the Internet is a vital part of the decision making process of a customer since 55% of Singaporeans conducted both online and offline product research prior to purchasing.

total advertising spend

Marketing to consumers has evolved over the decades and that has also changed how companies budget themselves. Consumers are a lot smarter. With plenty of options and competitors around, marketers have focused on other avenues for their efforts. With the continuous rise of internet users in Asia, companies have begun allocating much of their budgets into digital marketing.

This trend will continue to go up for the foreseeable future. With all of this information about marketing budget, now is the best time for you to create yours. Feel free to share with us how you tackled your marketing budget plan in the comments section.

 

The continued growth of the digital world has changed the way that companies are marketing their products to consumers in Asia. Strategies have rapidly progressed throughout time and can be categorized to four distinct styles.

The Evolving Marketing Landscape in Asia

The first one is traditional marketing, which tackles marketing strategies that existed before the boom of the Internet. Marketing efforts utilize traditional media like mail, radio, television, newspapers, and outdoor marketing like billboards and events.

traditional marketing

Pre-1995

The next one is mixed marketing where companies try to implement web based marketing, usually a static website, to the traditional ones.

mixed marketing

1995-2004

Then we have web centric marketing. This is where web based marketing has greater priority than traditional marketing. Search engine optimization and pay-per-click (PPC) and email are more greatly utilized – with the website a central focus. Traditional marketing remains a strong presence as these companies understand the need for online marketing but aren’t ready to let go of the traditional formats.

 

2005-2009

Finally, we have what is called modern marketing. In this type of marketing, the use of social media outlets like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc., are heavily prevalent and online marketing forms the bulk of the budget, with little reliance on traditional marketing. On the other hand, traditional advertising relied on diversionary tactics to get you to buy a company’s product, modern marketing aims to form a bond with their customers and companies engaging in modern marketing have already realised this shift in their thinking.

modern marketing

 

2010-onwards

As the digital space keeps evolving rapidly, marketing trends have emerged that could rapidly shift modern marketing in Asia even further in 2017, especially when it comes to consumer goods. Here are some of the big ones to keep an eye on:

Mobile Commerce

Large companies like Apple and Samsung have already launched their mobile payment services and for good reason. This is because 2016 has seen a huge spike in shoppers using their mobile devices to purchase goods.

Mobile-first apps like Instagram for example, is fast becoming the social media outlet of choice for businesses. According to Search Engine Land, this past year, Google has already announced that there are more searches done on mobile devices than on traditional desktop PCs. Mobile devices account for more than 60% of google searches.

Photo by Smart Insight

Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and PayPal are continuously growing because of this recent boom. More businesses are going to implement “mobile-wallets” in their payment models this year.

Social Shopping

Social Media is fast becoming one of the best ways for businesses to reach out to their audiences. Various social media outlets like Instagram and Facebook are already gearing their sites to make it more optimized for businesses and consumers to connect easily.

In 2017, these platforms will most likely bridge the gap between online commerce and physical stores closer.

Chatbots

Chatbot technology is getting better and better and the results could be big for businesses. A lot of big companies like Facebook and Microsoft have already invested huge amounts in the Chatbot technology because of the impact it could have in the future.

Chatbots offer a more genuine and personalized approach with regards to the transaction process with customers. Chatbots can give that human responsive feel that customers really love.

According to Daze Info, around 80% of all companies want to integrate Chatbots by 2020. In the US, 37% of the population are already saying that they are willing to buy from a ChatBot. A good chunk of the population has also experienced interacting with a Chatbot. This is definitely a sure sign that Chatbots are here to stay.

Photo by Daze Info

Personalised retargeting

The boom of mobile commerce has also given online retailers a problem. A lot of customers are abandoning their online shopping carts because mobile shopping also decreases the user’s attention span.

Did you notice how many emails you get from Amazon reminding you of items that you looked at or added to your cart? According to Baymard, e-commerce cart abandonment has risen to alarming levels from 60% in 2006 to 78% in 2017.

Because of this, more retailers are using a tool called Personalised Retargeting which gives customers more follow-up emails regarding their abandoned online shopping cart items. This gained a lot of success in 2016 and will most certainly be used more in 2017.

Virtual Retail

Virtual retail is going to be huge in 2017. This technology will allow customers to merge offline and online environment for a unique shopping experience. For example, virtual dressing rooms will allow you to try on clothes and see how it will fit without leaving the comfort of your home.

According to Digi-capital, virtual reality will become a $30 billion industry by the year 2020. Virtual Retail will continue to grow with applications ranging from health and beauty to the medical space. The car company, Audi has already announced that they are going to use VR to create virtual showrooms for their customers. Feel free to watch the video below:

Augmented Reality

Just like Virtual Reality, one of the biggest hits of 2016 was Augmented Reality. The biggest reason for Augmented Reality’s success is the mobile-app game, Pokemon Go, where users can catch their favorite virtual monsters in the real world. Augmented Reality application is really young, but because of the massive success of Pokemon Go, 2017 will be the year that Augmented Reality will really boom.

According to Expanded Ramblings, Pokemon Go has over a whopping 500 million downloads to date and has generated over a billion dollars in revenue. Expect a lot of other tech companies to follow this massive fad.

According to Digi-capital, the Augmented Reality revenue share will dwarf virtual reality in 2020 by a whopping $60 Billion.

 

Photo by Digi-Capital

Live Videos and 360-degree video

More people, and customers for this matter, crave interactivity in this digital age of ours. That is why one of the most popular social media experiences of 2016 was live videos and 360 degree-video.

Customers who feel that they are part of the whole experience are most likely to form a bond with the company. Live Videos make customers feel as if they are really taking part with the event while 360-degree video allow them to feel that they are manipulating and holding the product themselves.

Dunkin Donuts is a good example of a company who took advantage of Live Videos. They recently did a live video for the Valentine’s season where they  showed their “test kitchen.” They ended the video with a sweet surprise – a giant donut-themed wedding cake. You can watch the Facebook live video here:

A lot of businesses in the tourism and sports industry have already fully utilized these tools to their advantage. 2017 is going to be no different when it comes to Live Videos and 360-degree video.

Consumer Goods Company going direct to consumers and cutting down on their retail channels

Fast Moving Consumer Goods typically have a gap with its customers when it comes to communication. Normally these type of products rely on their distributors and retail stores to talk and form relationships with their customers.

However, the advances in digital marketing has allowed these FMCG companies to directly communicate with their customers through social media. This will help companies of that nature to better understand their customers and gain new insights.

Dollar Shave Club used this tactic to compete with giants like Gillette and Schick. Men who wanted an alternative to this pricier razors wanted a much closer bond with their razor company. Dollar Shave Club used social media and viral videos. The company skyrocketed. Today they sold to Unilever for $1 Billion, which is five times more than they were actually worth. Check out their video below which currently has over 24 million views:

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Marketing Automation

Marketing Automation is one of the best tools available for companies today. It is a type of software that enables business to put their marketing and sales efforts on autopilot by nurturing potential leads with highly personalized, useful content.

Marketing Automation has a huge amount of benefits as it can help a small sales team get invaluable insights into a business’ customer base to help them make data driven decisions. It also helps a sales team get focused on closing the deal by allowing the software to do the heavy lifting of sending up to thousands of emails per day.

When people hear of Marketing Automation, many actually believe that it is just a more complex Email Marketing. However, once your knowledge becomes deeper, you will realize that Marketing Automation has a huge advantage over an email service provider. Below is a chart that can show you the difference between the two:

 

Marketing Automation software like Infusionsoft can help businesses capture more leads and improve their conversion rates. These tools can easily manage the sales and marketing processes for business.

A good example of a business that will benefit greatly from Marketing Automation is Events Management. Imagine being able to send thousands of emails per day to clients. Especially if the company has a huge client database, Marketing Automation will greatly aid in getting those leads and keeping clients in the loop.

Marketing Automation can also have desirable effects like word of mouth marketing. By being constantly reminded of a company’s offerings, there is a great chance that he/she will refer that company to others. Keep in mind that 84 percent of people trust recommendations from people that they know.

Marketing Automation will also fortify a company’s repeat business because of efficient marketing. Selling to an existing customer requires less effort and results in a larger success rate than dealing with new customers.

By streamlining the sales and marketing process efficiently, Marketing Automation is going to be one of the hottest digital trends of 2017. Still think Marketing Automation won’t help businesses? According to Salesforce, Businesses using marketing automation experience a 451% increase in qualified leads.

Mobile Commerce, Social Shopping, Chatbots, Personalised Retargeting, Virtual Retail, Augmented Reality, Live Videos, Direct to Consumer, and Marketing Automation are going to be at the forefront of the consumer goods landscape in Asia. If you are in the marketing field or own a business, keep an eye on these trends.

With all these digital trends booming in 2017 and beyond, which one are you planning to use for your company? Let us know in the comments below which digital trend excites you the most.[/fusion_text]

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