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Have you had a conversation with your digital marketing agency about content marketing lately? You probably encountered topics you do not quite understand. Sure, you understand that content marketing is important for your digital strategy, but how much do you really know?

When it comes to content marketing, you have to research your audience, create an efficient and feasible strategy, and execute your campaign on multiple platforms. It’s a lot to manage for most marketers.

Content marketing is a learnable skill, but unfortunately, it is not something being taught formally in universities. In fact, 82% of digital marketers gained knowledge on the job. So, let’s kickstart your content marketing self-learning journey to help you keep up with your agency.

See: 8 Kick-Ass Copywriting Techniques To Boost Small Businesses

Image by Writtent

3 Ways To Self-Learn Content Marketing

There is a ton of material available for you to learn this. Here are the three most effective ways to do so in this day and age.

#1 Podcasts

Podcasts, when done right, can be a useful, and easy to consume learning tool for people who are willing to give it a chance. Back in 2014, The Washington Post published that podcasts subscriptions have reached over 1 billion and attract over 75 million monthly unique listeners. Recently, even big brands such as GE, Slack, and Virgin Atlantic has started integrating podcasts into their marketing strategies.

With so many podcasts available today, which ones are worthy of your precious time when learning content marketing? We’ve narrowed down the list of podcasts that are easily digestible, fun, and educational.

  • This Old Marketing Podcast by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose – this podcast is a must for every person who wants to learn more about marketing. Each podcast is quite long (60 minutes) but broken down into three parts, so it is easier to consume. You learn the latest news in content marketing and samples from the past. Learning points are discussed, and content marketing questions answered by Joe and Robert.
  • The Superheroes of Marketing by Alisa Meredith and Kelly Kranz – small and medium-sized businesses can get a kick out of listening to these two marketing superheroes. The podcasts will help you learn from real-life experiences of business owners, project managers, and marketers. They tackle a broad range of topics such as effective marketing strategies, lead generation, and even relationship building.
  • The Mad Marketing Podcast by Marcus Sheridan – It began as a pool selling website, but Marcus Sheridan discovered the magic of doing content marketing and created a tremendously successful business. He is very passionate in talking about how he built his business from the ground up and the lessons he learned along the way. Each podcast usually features marketing leaders, discusses different marketing principles, and a question and answer portion.

#2 Online Courses

Thanks to many online platforms, modules, and lectures can now be accessed anywhere in the world, even in the comfort of your own bed! Content marketing certainly has plenty of courses to choose from. Here are the top 3 courses from our perspective:

  • Content Marketing On Steroids – this paid online course was created by 2Stallions and tackles everything you need to know about content marketing. You have the option of learning from an e-book, video lectures, or even one-on-one coaching through Skype. The course videos are also cut into small, digestible segments, to make it easier for students to learn topics. If you are looking for the best results, you should definitely check out this course.
  • Hubspot Content Marketing Certification Course – is a free beginner course that will teach you the basics of content marketing. There are ten classes in this course that can be finished in as little as 4 hours. At the end of the course is a 60 item test. If you pass, you will get a Hubspot certification proving your content marketing mastery.
  • Content Marketing Training Course – is a 25+ hour online course that tackles content strategies and tactics for businesses whether it is B2B or B2C. The course will also teach you how to achieve your marketing objectives by formulating your own content strategy. It is a bit more advanced than the two courses mentioned above.

#3 Guides

Bits and pieces of material is a good way to start learning, especially if you are finding it hard to commit time. Guides are also beneficial for people who are looking for specific knowledge when it comes to a particular topic. These are some of the most interesting guides online:

  • Content Marketing – The Free Beginner’s Guide – whether you know a lot or know very little, this guide will help you in all aspects of content marketing. The guide is broken into nine different chapters making for an easily digestible read. It even boasts of a cartoon in every chapter to make sure that readers do not get too stressed out and intimidate while going through the guide.
  • The Advanced Guide To Content Marketing – don’t let the word “advanced” intimidate you. The guide is engaging for beginners and experienced marketers alike. Since it is divided into several chapters, it’ll be easy for you to jump into topics relevant to your business. However, I strongly suggest you read the whole thing to gain full knowledge about content marketing.
  • The Beginner’s Guide To Content Marketing – if you are really pressed for time, this guide is for you. In less than 15 minutes, you will learn about the bare bones of content marketing. Some of these are advantages over traditional advertising, fatal flaws of traditional advertising, and tips on making your marketing effective. It might not be as in-depth as the other guides, but it beats knowing nothing about it.

Learning content marketing on your own takes time and a lot of patience. Luckily, there are plenty of marketing professionals who can help you with your business while you are still learning the ropes. You can also check out our Content Marketing Services if you need immediate help.

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.

People visit your website because of two things: it is either they are looking for information to add to their research of a product or service, or they are looking for information to urge them to make a purchase. Targeted content help steer customers into sales funnels, which is why more than 85 percent of brands implement content marketing strategies and enjoy great ROI after a one-month evaluation.

Content must engage the audience. Marketers understand this; a well-made and positioned content help introduce the products and services as a solution. Engaging content today comes in the form of blogs, videos, and social media posts.

Content marketing helps develop your business brand. Well-researched and helpful content boosts your authority on the subject. The increased trust of your audience helps your website generate more leads and conversions.

Content Marketing is Not Just for the Big Brands

Small businesses and startups aren’t the only ones who can benefit from content marketing. Numerous multinational companies use content to engage their audience in different social media platforms and avenues that allow their audience to provide feedback. In this manner, they collect information to improve their products and services.

For instance, one might think that Rolex can go decades without making marketing efforts due to its established brand. However, the people who run Rolex know that if a brand doesn’t keep up with the pace and stay relevant, a competitor can easily swoop in and steal the show. Now, what exactly can you do to market a product that is already successful?

Rolex products rely on old-fashioned, glamorous, and prideful beauty.  It could be to Rolex’s advantage, but it can also be their downfall. At any time, consumers can suddenly decide that it’s time to debunk the old and go for a more modern brand, making it possibly one of the reasons Rolex has increased their social media activity and campaigns.

Using social media sites like Instagram to keep their products relevant and within everyone’s line of sight, Rolex uses its beautifully crafted photos of brand watches all over social media. Their goal could be to remind their target audience of why Rolex is the embodiment of a sophisticated lifestyle.

Why Should You Invest in Content Marketing?

Great Potential For Significant ROI

Returns come in different ways: it can come in the form of customer acquisition, brand visibility, brand reputation, and inbound traffic. These are all beneficial for your business. Marketing experts agree that content marketing, when done correctly, has great potential for higher ROI, just look at the graph below.

You may not necessarily get a dollar for every person who sees your content, however, your company will see benefits in many different forms. With an effective content marketing strategy, you will experience a return in the form of customer acquisition, brand visibility, brand reputation, and inbound traffic.

It’s Inbound Marketing (Pull Marketing Instead of Push)

Precise investments are important in marketing. That being said, when marketing your product or service, you have to filter out potential buyers from dead end leads. Content marketing allows you to present your business to customers who would strongly convert to your brand.

Think of it this way, a person with no interest in your industry will not bother to click through your link or advertisement and are less likely to go past your landing page. With that in mind, it should be clear that asserting any promotion efforts to such individuals will be a waste.

Other Strategies Can Benefit From It

The great thing about content marketing is that it will not only generate returns for your company, but it will also push your other marketing strategies to perform better. In order to be effective, you must establish a mindset that considers content marketing as the core of all your strategies.

Analytics provides data that helps you plan ahead all marketing efforts for maximum efficacy. For instance, your email marketing campaigns can strongly benefit from a consistent content marketing strategy. Since you are already creating content for your social media marketing campaign, why not take things a step further? Find out which of your content received good feedback and traffic and reuse them for your email marketing efforts. Using your best and proven content as a landing page means a higher probability to drive more conversions.

Perhaps the best benefit with an excellent content marketing strategy is for social media campaigns. Considering that you have a steady flow of helpful and informative articles published on your website, you can use these as social media posts to generate more leads.  This will attract more followers, viewership, and help establish brand identity. Just check out the data below.

Brand Authority (Thought Leadership) Will Be Stronger

The quality of your content develops your brand profile. If you implement an effective content marketing strategy, you can easily become your field’s primary source of information. It helps create authority and reliability, an important factor in marketing and advertising.

Let’s say that you run a fitness center and decided to utilize content marketing. You start posting two to three SEO-optimized blog posts every week and eventually catapult your website’s ranks in search engines.

Months before summer begins, people begin scurrying for ways to remain or become fit. If they find your business first, your fitness tips and programs become their immediate solutions to achieve their body goals. Ultimately, readers and followers can become actual customers who you would never have reached if it weren’t for the internet and content marketing.

Builds More Trust With Consumers

A reliable brand creates trust with great content. If readers find your content engaging, entertaining, and helpful, you can build trust with your audience quickly.

When people get used to seeing your content every week or so, they begin to think of your business as a trusted resource. When the time comes that they are in need of services or a product such as yours, they will recall your useful and memorable content.

Converts Better Through Lead Nurturing

We all want to guide our target audience down the sales funnel. Content marketing does the job effectively if you understand your audiences effectively to deliver the best content for them. Through lead nurturing, you can hit all three stages of the buyer’s journey; awareness, consideration, and decision. You can also read more about it in our article, “Turn Visitors To Customers With Conversion Funnels.”

Let’s say that you run a fitness hotspot with an active content marketing campaign. You are likely to target a certain demographic within your area and have posted weightless tips, healthy recipes, and the like. After months of consistent weekly published content, you’ve made yourself known to your market. However, they aren’t purchasing your programs or getting a membership to your gym – yet.

Right now, your audience is simply aware that you exist, hence, the first stage of the buyer’s funnel.  Now, summer time is just around the corner, and everyone suddenly becomes self-aware and wanting to get himself or herself in shape. They remember all the articles and videos you published not too long ago and start to consider making a move towards a fit summer body. They may start re-watching your videos and click through your website for more content, possibly hoping to get fit on their own.

However, not everyone can get the results they need on their own, and there will be a percentage of your audience who’d rather get the help they need from a professional. Your content has helped them improve, but they also realize it could be difficult to undergo without proper guidance, the latter an issue resolved by your business brand.

Content Marketing Is a Must For Your Marketing Campaign

We can talk for days discussing all the benefits you can reap for your business through content marketing. However, among all the reasons we’ve discussed so far, there is one that stands as the ultimate truth; content marketing is today’s most effective way of getting things done.

Content marketing is the bridge between your services and your customers. Information, whether used as a tool to convert customers or to provide research data for prospective customers, will always be in demand. Using this information to your advantage using efficient content marketing methods is the difference between your business and your competitor.

Effort-filled content marketing will drive inbound leads, establish brand awareness, and guide people down the sales funnel. Whether you are targeting short-term solutions, such as improving your pay-per-click advertising or a need to increase your leads or long-term strategies that involve brand development and rebound marketing, well-developed content and copy will leave a positive and compelling impression that significantly improves the possibility of high ROI.

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!

Design has been at the forefront of advertising for as long as the latter has been in existence. Whether it is a strong logo, striking headline, or eye-popping colours, design is one of the most important aspects of ads. It is no wonder that in today’s advertising climate, where the competition is getting fiercer and tougher, Creative Agencies continue to thrive.

A lot of times, Creative Agencies get overlooked by its other more popular counterparts. One good example of this is the Digital Agency. The rise of online advertising has made Digital Agencies one of the most sought after service by advertisers. This creates a lot of confusion amongst advertisers on what type of agency they should use for their campaigns.

So what are the key differences between a Creative Agency and a Digital Agency? Before we answer this question, let us define the two agencies first.

What is the definition of a Creative Agency?

According to Playground Inc, Creative Agencies focus on design and often use outside partners like ad marketing consultants to fully deploy their work.

Most of the time, Creative Agencies offer print design services. Good Creative Agencies are typically “branding experts” who are great at marketing and product design which is meant to be visually exciting, enticing and persuasive.

Creative agencies are also known for designing great logos, letterheads, business cards, and achieving a cohesive overall branding feel.

Here’s a very interesting video on what truly makes an amazing logo:

Toronto agency Smith Roberts wanted to rebrand their company in 2013. What they envisioned in the rebirth of the agency is a name and feel that will touch upon the traditional values of Toronto’s Distillery District where the company is situated. But they also wanted a name that will embody the company’s commitment to helping their client’s grow. In the end, they settled for Corktown Seed Co. A quick look at their branding already tells you that the company nailed what they wanted with a minimalist and modern retro vibe to their collaterals. Check out the photo below.

Image by Lovely Stationery

Company structure wise, Creative Agencies focus more on the creative team instead of marketing strategy. Large Creative Agencies are often filled with Creative Directors and graphic designers. Firms like Bruce Mau Design is a very good example of a big Creative Agency, just by checking out their personnel page, you will see how much they emphasize on creative talent.

What is the definition of a Digital Agency?

According to Upanup, a Digital Agency is defined as a company that gives the creative, strategic, and technical development of screen-based products and services. A full digital agency can offer clients search engine marketing, online advertising, web design and development, and e-commerce consulting.

Importance of a Full Digital Agency

Why is it important to know what a full digital agency is? Because digital agencies that do not provide full-service functions as consultants and outsources the production part. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing as some good agencies use this model. However, it would highly depend if you want to work with an agency that focuses on consultancy and outsources the rest or a company that does everything in-house.

A lot of advertisers and companies are slowly putting more focus on online advertising nowadays. And they have very good reason to do so. Just look at these statistics taken from Smart Insights.

  • Instagram’s community has over 600 million users
  • Snapchat has over 150 million daily users since December 2016
  • Over 500 million tweets are sent each day

While those social media stats are definitely eye-popping, keep in mind that those sites do not even have the largest database of users. That honour belongs to Facebook, which has over 1.86 Billion users online. Thinking twice about email marketing? Well, according to Email is not Dead, you will be missing out on over 2.586 billion email users worldwide. And what about those silly videos? According to Banner Snack, 76% of businesses who use video believe that it provides a good ROI.

To drive the point even further, an annual survey by ComScore has stated that in 2016, a whopping 51% of shoppers prefer to do their shopping online. From the looks of the trend, this number will just keep going up.

This is why advertisers are turning to Digital Agencies for help when it comes to their marketing strategies. Not only does digital advertising give you the biggest audience, it is also cost effective, statistics-based, and audience targeted. If you are looking for an example of a full-service Digital Agency, look no further and visit our list of services.

So why do you still need a Creative Agency? Well, there are still some compelling reasons to do so. The next part of this article will tackle just that.

Benefits of Creative Agency

Creative Agencies are still king when it comes to design. These companies focus on creating the best designs for your brand and they will still do wonders for your campaign. Creating visual content is still a huge priority for business to consumer companies.

Image by Hubspot

According to Adobe, design-driven companies are still leading the way for over ten years now. The companies that focus on creativity enjoy 1.5 times market share than those that do not. There is a good reason why the CEO of Nike is a designer – despite other forms of advertising popping out, people still value design and creativity.

Which is better?

It is true that using a Digital Agency makes the most sense for your money. The sheer volume of users as well as it’s cost effectiveness makes it really a tough choice to beat. However, design is very important too when it comes to your campaigns. A good design will boost your promotion’s effectivity as well as polish your branding further. If you can spare some cash, having a great Creative Agency work with an amazing Digital Agency may just be the best combination for your company.

Any thoughts regarding Digital and Creative Agency? Please share them with us in the space below.

No matter how companies do it, advertising remains one of the most important aspects of a business. However, advertising has evolved so much over the past decades that it has become nearly impossible for businesses to keep up. From simple flyers to giant billboards to taking your ads into the online realm, advertising continues to grow at a rapid pace.

Advertising boomed during the 19th century and the most common mediums used were newspapers ads. However, it was in the mid-1800s where the idea of the billboard was born. Billboards and other out of home advertising (OOH) became the go-to choice when it came to advertising. It helped people pick out which soda they wanted and even convinced men to sign up for wars.

However, the success of the Internet opened new frontiers for advertising. The sheer online audience was too juicy for companies to ignore. Google and Social Media like Facebook, Linked In, and Instagram made sure that people would devote a huge chunk of their time online. As a result, the Internet also became a place of commerce and along with it came advertising. Today, companies spend over $191.85 Billion in digital advertising.

While the Internet is fast becoming the choice of companies for advertising their wares, OOH advertising still remains a popular and effective medium. As these two types of advertising medium fight for supremacy, companies are left with the gargantuan task of finding out which is better between digital advertising and OOH advertising.

Before going any further, let us first define the two terms in a much detailed manner.

What is Digital Advertising?

Digital advertising is when companies use the internet to showcase promotional materials to consumers. Common tools used in digital advertising are e-mail, social media sites, search engine ads, and online banner ads.

However, since the Internet is a relatively young invention, digital advertising is a continuously evolving product. Today, companies are already dabbling on the use of chatbots and virtual reality for their advertising needs.

See:  Digital Trends To Disrupt The Consumer Goods Landscape In Asia

What is Out of Home Advertising (OOH)

OOH is defined as any advertising material shown outdoors that promotes a business. Common tools and spots used for OOH are billboards, benches, vehicles, and walls. OOH also includes newer advertising tactics like flash mobs and digital billboards.

Now that we have a clearer view regarding this two types of advertising, it is now time to learn more about when you should use OOH and Digital advertising. Which one should you use?

Is OOH right for me?

While most companies are quickly transitioning from traditional to digital advertising, it might be wise to step on the brakes and reassess your strategy. According to Ad Age, OOH advertising is the only form of traditional media to get a bump in terms of sales. In 2015, outdoor advertising grew from $7 Billion to $7.3 Billion.

And there is good reason for companies to still patronise OOH. While it is true that this type of advertising has been overshadowed by the digital kind, there is still some merit that OOH can give to businesses. Outdoor advertising still has a huge audience – Bus bench advertising in cities like Los Angeles, for instance, can still command an audience of 35000 to 50000 people per day.

The reason for this is because OOH has evolved with newer technologies. The spike of digital billboards, as well as creative advertisements still makes OOH relevant to this day. A good example of the evolution of OOH is an ad campaign created by online video streaming giant, Netflix. When the company launched in France, they placed digital screens on outdoor boards that showcased GIFs of their original shows. The clever bit is that these GIFs reacted to the current events of France. So when France was eliminated in the World Cup, the billboards showed a Martin Freeman looking upset with an accompanying headline that tells the viewer to take their mind off the bad news by watching Netflix shows. Check out the video below:

Outfront media has created case studies regarding the effectivity of outdoor ads. One of their campaigns was to help their client, BAI, a sparkling beverage brand, reach more audiences. With attractive billboards, they were able to increase awareness by 19% across three markets and the people who tried their product increased by 8%.

However, there are certain rules to be followed when it comes to making an effective OOH campaigns. According to Hangline, here are the 10 commandments of outdoor advertising.

Why you should join the Digital Advertising wave

While you should not completely whitewash the worth of OOH, you also cannot deny that digital advertising is the way of the future. While a lot of companies still invest in OOH advertising, that segment of the industry is losing ground. According to E-marketer, OOH will account for over 4% of total media spending in 2015. That percentage will continue to drop by 0.1 points each year. Here’s a graph on where marketers in China are spending their budget on:

According to a study conducted by Ad Age, in 2015, 80% of companies will increase their digital advertising in the next 12 to 18 months. This is because most companies nowadays are already reaping the benefits of promoting themselves online. Digital advertising is highly effective when it comes to driving sales, according to a report from Nielsen, Consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands who utilized online campaigns experienced three times in incremental sales for every dollar that they spent inondvertising. The study also solidifies that there is a healthy relationship between online advertising and offline sales.

More than just Advertising

Digital advertisements are also the best form of media to drive “word of mouth” marketing (besides actual conversation with people). A lot of personal engagement happens online and the various Internet tools speed this up to another level. Social sharing has been at the forefront of this phenomena and advertisers have utilized this to their advantage. According to Upward Labs, a highly recommended share can increase a value of a product by an average  8.8%.

Digital Advertising is also more efficient when it comes to targeting the right audience. According to Marketing Land, digital advertising is seen as five times more effective than direct mail in terms of cost-per-conversion.

Digital is also becoming the media of choice among people. In 2013, digital media has already surpassed TV in terms of time spent usage. The lead is expected to be even wider now and will continue to become even bigger as the years go on. In terms of wider audience, nothing beats digital advertising at the rate it is going. The graph below shows that digital media has overtaken TV in China.

See: How Much Of The Company’s Revenue Should Be Invested In Marketing?

Parting Words

Digital advertising is the safe bet when it comes to where you should start investing your promotional budget. The average adult spends about an hour a day surfing the internet. The same group also spends nearly the same amount on their mobile phones. Advertising’s biggest audience have surely gone online.

However, it would be a big mistake to ignore OOH advertising completely. If done well, OOH advertising could still be effective depending on the needs of your business. People still spend 70% of their times outdoors and there are still some advertising opportunities that you should not miss there. So it would highly depend on the needs of your business. OOH advertising is still effective to those seeking long-term brand awareness and targeted results (i.e. car owners for billboards). If you have any stories or experiences regarding our topic today, please feel free to write them down in the space below.

The ever evolving digital age has created new ways for consumers to purchase from various businesses. Before this, when customers learned of a product or service, they would have to go to a physical store to buy what they wanted. The old way of doing it was a potential customer stepping into a big retailer to choose from the various competing products on the shelves, often relying on salespeople who were hovering about for the information that they needed to make their purchase.

Over the years, technology has rapidly evolved the purchasing process of consumers. Today, most people tend to use the Internet to make informed decisions about their purchases. Not only that, but the Internet has also allowed them to make their purchases online.

This has led many marketers to start thinking differently about their marketing and sales strategies. These companies are now starting to dabble into something called Omnichannel Marketing. This is a strategy wherein businesses want to provide a seamless selling experience to their customers across multiple channels.

Omnichannel Marketing should not be confused with Multichannel Marketing as they have some differences. The next part will tackle what the difference is between the two.

Omnichannel Vs. Multichannel Marketing

Multichannel Marketing is the company’s ability to engage with their audience across different platforms. For example, if a company has a physical store, retailers, trade show booths, and a website, it can be said that it is engaging in Multichannel Marketing.

Omnichannel Marketing, on the other hand, wants to marry all of these marketing and sales channels into one seamless and integrated shopping experience for their consumers. This means that a customer can shop online using various devices like mobile, tablet, laptop, shop at a physical store or call a sales representative and the whole experience will still be cohesive and seamless.

Omnichannel Marketing also allows businesses to listen and respond on preferred channels and devices. Most marketers think that just because mobile is the hottest thing right now, they should focus all their marketing efforts in that channel. However, this is dangerous thinking, and the next part will tell you exactly why.

Image by On The Mark

Omnichannel Allows You To Listen And Respond To Consumer Preferences

A friend of mine was looking at the latest console from Nintendo at Lazada. He clicked on the “add to cart” button and decided to leave it there while he mulled things over. After a while, he noticed that the same item was still left in his online shopping cart on his phone with the Lazada app. He still did not budge and remained firm on not buying yet.

A few days later, he opened an email from the company telling him that there were only two items left in stock. Needless to say, he was the proud owner of the console after that. A few clicks directed him back to the purchase page and voila! Another transaction for the company.

Lazada, a popular online retailer in Southeast Asia, knows the value of Omnichannel Marketing. By offering a seamless and integrated shopping experience to the customer across desktop, mobile and email, they finally got the purchase. While Lazada obviously invests a lot in mobile, they also make sure to put some money in email retargeting. According to Baymard, 78 percent of items in people’s online shopping carts are abandoned. Retargeting those customers via email is proven to be an effective method of getting them to buy.

Nowadays, consumers use two or more devices when making a purchase. According to Forbes, Google’s vice president of display advertising, Neil Mohan, once stated that over 90 percent of consumers start a task on one device and finish it off with another. For the marketer to practice a successful Omnichannel marketing, one just needs to listen and respond to consumer’s preferences.

The Omnichannel Buying Journey

Mobile is still king when it comes to the starting point of multi-device shopping journeys. According to Marketing Charts, 65 percent of buyers started their shopping experience on a mobile phone, and 61 percent continue their shopping on a laptop or PC (4 percent on a tablet). On the other hand, 25 percent of people started their shopping journey on a PC/laptop and 19 percent of those finished their shopping on a mobile phone (5 percent on a tablet).

Image by Marketo

To better illustrate how a well-oiled omnichannel marketing machine works, Disney is one of the best examples. First, Disney starts you off with a grand website that is both desktop and mobile responsive. Their booking page for their Disneyland packages made it easy to make a  purchase. If that is not enough, they also have the My Disney Experience tool which lets you easily plan your entire trip to their resort. Things like attraction schedule, fast pass purchases, and even lunch/dinner preparations can are done on this tool. And once you are enjoying your time inside the park, they have a mobile app that lets you find the rides/attractions that you would like to experience as well as the estimated waiting time for each.

See: Future Proof Your Business By Using These 6 Data-Driven Marketing Strategies

The Growth Of Omnichannel Marketing In Asia

The continuous growth of omnichannel marketing is evident in Asia. In Singapore, where mobile shopping is huge, omnichannel marketing is going to be something that companies are striving to perfect. According to Go-Globe, more and more Singapore shoppers are using their mobile devices to make online purchases with the average consumer spending $1,861 annually on consumer goods. To make it clearer, over half of the shopping population in Singapore prefer to go online to do their shopping.

Major companies in the region have already noticed this trend and started fortifying their sales and marketing channels. One good example is the online grocery retailer, Red Mart, a company with a website that lets you purchase groceries. It now has a mobile app that lets consumers place orders anytime and choose a two-hour timeslot for home deliveries.

Redmart

With more and more customers using various devices when making their purchases, Omnichannel marketing is the future of consumer buying journey.  Big brands all across the world have already begun using this marketing system and the results have been quite positive. Don’t get left behind and make sure that you apply Omnichannel Marketing to your company or business. If you have any experiences of questions about Omnichannel Marketing, then feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.

Do you already dabble in digital marketing? Chances are you have probably created your company’s social media profiles. This is a no-brainer, as social media platforms have exploded in recent years. According to Smart Insights, in 2017, there are already 2.789 Billion active social media users worldwide, so it is important to ‘book’ your vanity URLs on them before someone else does.

Photo By Smart Insights

The same source states that social media will continue to grow in the coming years. 2017 saw a whopping 21 percent growth from the previous year. That is about 482 million new active social media users worldwide in the span of one year. Asia Pacific drives the growth with a 25 percent increase in new accounts or roughly about 303 million new users.

Saying social media has changed the way people live today would be an understatement. Of course, where there is a huge collection of people, commerce is sure to follow. Businesses ranging from billion-dollar companies to small start-ups have already taken to at least one social media platform in the hopes of cashing in on the marketing “gold rush”.

Toprank blog states that 91 percent of marketers feel that social media has an immediate impact on their company’s exposure to consumers. It further elaborates that 70 percent of those marketers experienced a surge of website traffic because of their social media profiles. For the cherry on top – a whopping 50 percent stated that their social media profiles contributed to a spike in sales leads.

Marketers start salivating at numbers like these. However, it is surprising to note that there remains a large group of marketers struggling to even drive traffic to their websites via social media, let alone generate sales leads. If you belong to this group, fret not! We’re going to discuss the best ways you can drive the targeted traffic you desire to your website.

 

1. Get the social media platforms right for your company

Messing up this simple step is an all to common mistake for marketers today. There are a dozen social media platforms to choose from, and not all of them will be right for your company, nor will you have the budget or resources to target all of them.

You must have your intended target market defined before signing up on any social media platform. If you already have a dozen accounts, let the ones that will not help your company in the present moment stagnate without fear, knowing that the majority of your target market will not look for you there anyway.

So how do you decide on the key platforms for your business? First, identify your target demographics (age, location, income status, gender, ethnicity, etc.) since most social media platforms have unique user demographics.

For example, Sprout Social statistics show that 83 percent of adult women use Facebook compared to just 75 percent of men, so if adult women are your demographic, you should probably be on Facebook.

 

Photo by Sprout Social

Your target market or geography is also a major factor. While Facebook rules in countries like the United States and India, it is virtually non-existent in China, where Weibo is the leading social media platform with an average of 313 monthly active users.

If you want to target high-income individuals, then you should consider LinkedIn. A study conducted by Pew Research Center shows that 45% of adults earning $75,000 or above use LinkedIn.

Choosing the right social media platforms to meet your company goals will make it easy for you to focus your content on your target audience on driving traffic to your website via social media.

 

2. Focus on your visuals

In the early days of the Internet, content mainly took the form of lengthy blog posts. However, ever-improving technology and faster Internet speeds have seen a boom in rich media online, especially on social media. Visual material grabs the attention of readers more than just words and the numbers say it all. In a report by Buffer App, visual posts get 39 percent more interaction, 104 percent more comments, and 84 percent more click-through on links than just worded posts.

Visual posts also include video, with video content set to represent 74 percent of all Internet traffic in 2017. When creating your social media posts, your visual marketing can include videos as well as engaging images like memes, infographics, comics, and of course photos.

Starbucks is a company that makes great use of visual marketing. Their Instagram page is always clear, vibrant, and represents what their brand is all about – which is not just great coffee but also a lifestyle.

Photo by Socially.ie

 

3. Limit your posts per day

Bombarding your social media page with a new post every hour might seem like an excellent idea. However, doing this can often be counterproductive for your brand. Audiences do not like being spammed by posts, with information overload being something audiences have been dealing with a lot in the digital age. You don’t want potential customers being turned off by your company because you post 20 different things per day.

If your audience starts shunning you on social media, then there is little to no chance they will direct themselves to your website. If you’re wondering what the ‘right’ number of posts is – you can start by gauging the engagement from your followers until you hit a sweet spot. There is also a study from Buffer App, based on their data, that shares the right amount of posting on various social media platforms.

 

Photo By Buffer App

4. Link to your website on Facebook

Have you optimised your About Us page on Facebook? If not, head over there right now because you might be missing a great linking opportunity. Instead of just putting one general link to your website, try putting additional links to other, relevant pages on your website. For example, people interested in an attractive product or service can directly get there from Facebook while those interested in your blog can be directed to your blog page.

Also be sure to add links to your website when posting photos in the description section. The aim is not to spam your audience though. Great copy accompanied by a link to your website usually works well. Here is a Facebook post from Apple that shows how linking to your website can be done effectively.

By making a visually appealing picture of their product and encouraging their audience with a call-to-action to “learn more” about their product after a tantalising teaser about it is an excellent way to get better clickthrough rates to their link.

 

5. Analyse and learn from your results

Stop guessing which of your posts are working and which are not. Use the power of data to your advantage. There are powerful social media tools that can help you to manage not only multiple social media accounts but also provide detailed reports on your follower’s demographics and interactions. If you don’t have the budget, you can also analyse the data each social media platform provides de-facto these days.

Learn which posts garnered the most engagements and shares, and trace how much traffic your social media is driving to your website.

Use Google Analytics to help you determine which of your social media activity is working for your website by using a Campaign URL builder to track your clicks. This sort of insight provides you with an idea of what posts drive the best engagement and help with developing your future posts.

 

Drive website traffic with a strong social media presence

Marketers are continuously striving for ways to use social media to drive traffic to their websites. Simply put, the more traffic and engagement on your social media profiles, the better your chances of generating more sales for your business. If you follow the tips shared above and put in the extra time for your social media accounts, your website should be buzzing in no time. For those marketers with the budget, an agency like ours can also handle your social media accounts and get you results quickly.

Do you have any stories or experiences regarding our topic today? Then feel free to share them with us in the space 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.

 

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