7 highlights from the 2016 AMES conference

Our reporters distill yesterday's conference into seven memorable points, including the danger of taking consumers at their word, being a 21st century brand, out-of-whack spending and a lack of analytics maturity.

7 highlights from the 2016 AMES conference

The age of industrial personalisation

Joe Lunn, chief strategy officer at Mindshare Australia, said personalisation is nowhere close to its full potential, pointing out that only 6 percent of marketers feel confident in executing personalisation. “We can no longer control when and where consumers are interacting with our most influential touchpoints,” he said. Lunn added that brands were “entering the age of industrial personalisation”, and that to drill down into what people want, you can’t just listen to what they have to say: 

You can’t take consumers at their word. You need to find data signals on what they actually want rather than what they say they want. Search is the best predictor of peoples’ true wants, needs and desires. Demographics are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Being a 21st century brand

With all the talk of the new 21st century brands disrupting business models all around them, Natalie Gruis, head of strategy planning at TBWA Singapore, who supports Airbnb, said attitudes need to change if established businesses want to get the most out of the so-called new economy:

Every brand that exists today is a 21st century brand, we just don’t all behave like one. We’re playing not to lose. But 21st century brands like Airbnb are not afraid to fail, they just do it fast.

Gruis said one of the key’s to Airbnb’s success was its core focus on customers. “It is entirely community powered. People become the brand; there is no distinction between the company and community.”

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Disconnect in media spend needs to be addressed

With media budgets being the biggest line item in any marketing budget, achieving efficient spend is the fastest way to free up 10 to 15 percent to invest in innovation. “If you’re not spending money where they’re spending time, then something is wrong,” said Christian Bartens, managing director of Datalicious. “Almost half of clients admit they do not know if their media budget is balanced, while only one in five marketers uses an ROI-based measurement approach.”

Internal change is also critical, as department and budget silos make it impossible, or at least fail to incentivise, a “dynamic reallocation” of funds to different channels. According to research conducted by Datalicious, only 5 percent of marketers have an accurate custom attribution model, while only 45 percent of marketers use insights regularly. In addition only 36 percent of marketers dedicated budget to test-and-learn exercises.

Asked by an audience member who he ends up speaking to the most on the client side, Bartens quipped:

Given the amount of money at play for media spend, I should be talking to the CEO, CMO or CFO. But for some reason I always end up talking to the campaign coordinator!

Technology and positioning captures new markets for Asus

Taiwan-based Asus, known for motherboards and laptops, faced several challenges when it wanted to expand into new markets and categories. Given that developed markets are more cluttered, the company decided to focus on selling its smartphones in the emerging markets of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, India, Brazil and Russia.

“We wanted to make sure we were locally relevant and people didn’t see us as taking advantage,” said Erik Hermanson, global head of marketing, mobile.

To position away from the competition, Asus touted high quality at an affordable price. From a campaign perspective the team worked backwards—starting from global perspective and making sure the campaign could be executed on a regional level and be flexible for local audiences too. Using research insights, the company promoted supreme experiences like photography, performance and experience instead of simply focusing on features and benefits. All countries used this positioning, but prioritised as they liked.

Asus targeted online e-commerce channels and used social digital channels to communicate its message. Instagram and Google cardboard were used to take consumers on an interactive journey.

All this helped the brand’s awareness and consideration across markets. In Taiwan, it quickly became the number one smartphone. Indonesia and Malaysia saw big gains, with the brand becoming the second-biggest player in both markets. It is currently the top seller in Japan’s SIM-free phone category.

Technology is outpacing human skills

Stephen Tarcy, SapientNitro’s data and insight lead for Southeast Asia, observed that technology has outpaced people and skills. In APAC, the appetite for analytics solutions is high, but maturity is low.

Tarcy’s tips for success include:

  • Ask good questions
  • Think long term because the journey to success in the field is not linear
  • Invest in intelligent people
  • Understand how data is collected
  • Understand the limits of technology
  • Have a vision, accountability for the data, governance and collaboration
  • Invest in storytellers
  • Find meaningful ways to communicate data
  • Transform data into insight

Social is not (just) Facebook

Brands and marketers need to get to a place where social initiatives have equal accountability around sales impact, the way traditional channels do. Patrick Darcy, APAC commercial director at RadiumOne, said the misconceptions around social media are limiting the benefits marketers can reap:

How social is used is in direct contrast to how the industry operates on every other channel, lacking the due diligence around diversity of portfolio and reach that linear TV or radio comes under.

According to research done by the company, only 16 percent of social sharing takes place on public social networks, with 84 percent taking place on 'dark social' or private channels such as email, messenger apps and text. However the bulk of marketing spend only goes to a handful of public networks such as Facebook.

“As the metrics move from reach and frequency to timing and relevance, brands need to build a connected view of the sharing economy,” he added.

Want to win? Be digitally mature

Digital maturity is crucial for brands to succeed in the so-called new economy, according to Ferdi Wieling, vice president and APAC executive creative director at Critical Mass. He said a fundamental tenet of being digitally native is “ensuring you learn everything you can about your customers—big data, small data”. He also stressed building out from your minimum value product, or what he termed a brand’s “defensible core”:

It’s fine not to know what your next step is going to be because you need to focus on your core offering first. Start small, then build out. It’s very much the principle of agile development.

AMES become Tangrams

While still devoted to Asian Marketing Effectiveness and Strategy, the AMES programme will be rebranded starting in 2017 as the Tangrams.

(This article first appeared on CampaignAsia.com)

Campaign India

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