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Consumer electronics, communications, marketing – elements that combine very easily if you are familiar with the market you work in. Electronic industry giants have a unique approach to market to the tech-savvy citizens of Asia. With the pandemic turning 2020 upside down, how has the industry been impacted? More importantly for us, how have its marketers adapted to the changes we are all facing this year?  

Straight out of university and into the whirlwind of experiences and growth, comes Matthew Hui. The Regional Consumer Marketing Manager for Sony Asia Pacific, Matthew started his career journey on a different path, one that took him on a roundabout journey through the industry and the region, until it brought him to Singapore and the role he is now in. Join us now with the kick-off of our Marketing Expert Series, and learn more about how Matthew has adapted and learned from the many experiences and perspectives he has encountered throughout his professional and personal life.


Welcome to the Marketing Expert Series, Matthew, thank you for joining us as its inaugural interviewee! Let’s kick off with a bit of your history. Tell us a bit about your journey so far. How did you end up in your current role? 

I joined Sony right after graduating from university as a management trainee in Hong Kong. I went through quite a few rotations during the first two years of my career, working in multiple functions to understand the whole operation flow. During these years I learned how a consumer electronic firm operated, from backend operations like customer service and logistics, sales and marketing initiatives such as online marketing, product marketing, marketing communication, and  even front end direct store sales. 

In the end, I landed in the position of Sony’s product marketing manager in Hong Kong. This role oversees decision making for product marketing – so every day I am making decisions across different units from logistics to retail, from ATL/BTL marketing to after sales services – and my experience and understanding of Sony’s operations helps me with this.

After a few more years working locally, gaining more experience, I challenged myself and took on a new regional role in B2B product marketing for Asia Pacific. 

After a couple more years, the new role of Line Up Manager gave me the opportunity to travel between Singapore and Hong Kong. 

Most recently, in 2018, I took a permanent station in Singapore and moved back to my main focus, marketing consumer electronics in South East Asia, and this is where I’m still at right now.

So, what first drew you to marketing? Was it something you always wanted to do?

I studied business, with finance as a major because I thought that becoming a fund manager would be cool.  After a few years of studying, and actually working in the finance industry, I discovered that  sometimes, in the finance industry, your efforts and contributions to society aren’t very tangible or direct. This was not for me. I wanted a job where I could work on something direct, where your effort can be visualized, seen, and really make an impact on society. Apparently, what I was looking for was marketing, and just like that, I found my career path.

Right now you work with Sony APAC, what do you enjoy most about your role with such a giant in the industry?

Working at a tech consumer electronic giant is cool, every month you are launching something new into the market. There is never an end to new experiences, new things to try, and new things to learn in a company with such a diverse product portfolio targeting such a large and variable market segment. 

And what’s it like working in the electronics industry as a marketer? 

Well, marketing in the  electronics industry may not be as advanced as in the SAAS/ App industry, where  marketers rely on real time augmented marketing driven by data collected from  customers at every touch point. 

Being a marketer in the electronics industry is very hands-on. You need to have a good sense and understanding of all the latest marketing trends, skills, and technologies as well as a well-honed  sensitivity to data. At the same time you also need to have a feel for the human touch because you have many opportunities to communicate face-to-face with dealers, customers, and/or business partners. I’d say it would be good to be an ‘all-rounder’ as an electronics industry marketer. 

Are there any professional or personal experiences that influence your marketing style?

My extensive marketing experience with both local and  regional, crossing both B2B and B2C electronic marketing allow me to be flexible to understand different perspectives. This helps with bringing new insight into current marketing decisions I have to make. 

Many industries have been impacted one way or the other by the pandemic, I imagine it’s the same for consumer electronics, has it impacted your marketing strategies in any way? 

Yes, of course. Due to the pandemic, customers are staying at home more and more and the chance that they visit brick-and-mortar shops is very low. As a result, as marketers, we have to shift our marketing strategies to be more online driven. We also have to be sympathetic to different customer situations and tailor our targeted approaches accordingly. However, I also see it as an opportunity for marketing as customer time spent online will increase which means that we can have more engagement with the customer online. 

Have you had any positive or negative surprises due to pandemic that have impacted your tactics or methods?

This situation has never happened before,  and I’ve seen a big change in human behavior because of it. I am constantly relearning how to market to our audiences these days. Recently, I’ve seen customers engage a lot more with online advertisement. They’re more influenced by the ads they see, and the influencers they follow. I am seeing a general shift throughout the industry from storefront conversion rates to online conversion rates during the lockdown. Recently, however, I’ve also seen a recovery in offline sales as well. I believe this is due to the customers now being more eager to purchase when they are able to visit a shop front than they maybe were in the past, because the chance of visiting a physical store now is more valuable. As a result, while they’re out at the shopfront they are more determined and more ready to purchase. 

On top of that, the ability to test or try out a product before purchase is harder, at the moment, so people are more likely to buy sight unseen, so to speak.  All these are things that I am still  adapting to, trying to create the most effective way to market our products. I  believe that’s not not a bad thing in marketing, to adapt to changing situations,  because we must always take customer behavior changes into account.

Do you see any lasting marketing changes that you and the industry are going to have to embrace after COVID-19?

I definitely believe customers will be driven online, and I think that the online portion of above-the-line (ATL)  marketing is going to increase because of it. I also think there will be more and more  e-commerce. For offline marketing, I think brick-and-mortar stores will be increasingly focussed on customer experience building instead of converting sales, largely because of this shift to e-commerce. 

What about for you, personally, when this pandemic is over, what’s the next big thing on your horizon?

I can’t wait to travel. Being a marketer, I like to stay sharp on things that are happening in the world, and  travelling allows me to gain more insight into different perspectives and customer behaviors. I can’t wait to travel again, for business to get first hand experience in local markets and, of course, also for pleasure, to reconnect to the world. 

What is some advice you’d give to young and aspiring marketers? 

Keep exploring. Keep learning and adopting new ideas. Something that’s definitely right today won’t necessarily be right tomorrow. Being a marketer means staying close to what is happening in the world,  so don’t let narrow-mindedness or your own fixed experiences defeat you.  The more experienced you are, the more you have to jump out of your comfort zone and listen to others. Challenge yourself and dare to learn from  a wrong decision. 

Thank you for sharing these insights and experiences, Matthew! How can people connect with you if they’d like to know more?

In my free time, I love vlogging and photography to record my life. You can connect with me via my Instagram and subscribe to my YouTube channel. Can’t wait to connect with everyone!


The Marketing Expert Series features marketing and communications experts from across every industry. Every month, 2Stallions will showcase the stories and expertise of marketing experts from around the world, join us as we explore how marketers navigate the challenges of the regions and industries they work in. If you’d like to be featured in a next issue of the Marketing Expert Series. Please reach out to us via email.

If you are interested in building your own company’s marketing presence, get in touch with us today, and find out how you can optimize your digital marketing strategies.

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!

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