Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter

COVID Has “Accelerated Digital Transformation From Years to Months”

12 brand leaders discuss the challenges of digital transformation at a virtual roundtable hosted by Campaign and Appier.


How should marketers invest in digital solutions that allow them to engage with their customers both in the short- and long-term?

That was one question raised at Digital Transformation in Marketing: Boosting customer engagement with data and AI, a roundtable that looked at the various digital transformation challenges brands are facing in 2020.

Hosted by Campaign in partnership with Appier, the session brought together marketing leaders from 13 brands: Citi, Aon, Fuji Xerox, Fairprice Group, Pizza Hut, Yum! Restaurants International, Love, Bonito, Naiise, The Wall Street Journal, Singapore Sports Hub, PropertyGuru Group, MoneySmart and Zespri International.

Michelle Wong, SVP, Enterprise Solutions at Appier, kicked off the roundtable with a short presentation about the challenges facing marketers today.

One of the major challenges in 2020 is the consumers shift to digital. This is accompanied by a willingness to try new apps and channels, increasing the number of potential touch points for marketers.

According to findings by Appier, consumers in SEA are, compared to their North Asian counterparts, more likely to shop outside their home countries, with a staggering 85% willing to try out new consumer apps. In a world of exploding apps and channels, one major challenge confronting marketers is getting a 360-degree view of their customers.

“Digital transformation has become a necessity, rather than a nice-to-have,” notes Wong.

“Marketers need to increase consumer touchpoints but they must also simplify customer communications. This requires real-time monitoring capabilities. Underpinning all that is data. According to Forbes, the pandemic has accelerated digital transformation from years to months. In fact, companies that haven’t adopted digital transformation might not be able to last till next year.”


Data Alone Doesn’t Suffice, It Must Be Actionable

When it comes to digital adoption, one challenge that kept coming up during the conversation was what to do with the data you’ve collected.

Jane Leong, VP data at Love, Bonito, says that digital transformation is not a one-step process. “We have data coming from various sources, from our online store to physical retail footfall. 2019 was all about building a robust foundation; ensuring data accessibility, and aligning on metrics to define and track. In 2020, we focused on developing analytics frameworks such as customer segmentation and the launch of our loyalty program. Now, in terms of customer targeting, the key focus is on how we can further delight our customers through personalization throughout their omni-channel journey”

Sometimes, it’s not simply about integrating data, but to getting people in the organization who have different levels of data access to work together.

As Jaslyin Qiyu, head of existing client marketing at Citi Singapore says, “Like most companies, data is everywhere but pulling it together into a single source of truth is the biggest challenge, especially when not everyone has the same level of access, understanding and appreciation”.


The Need to Ensure That Everyone Is on Board the Digital Transformation Train

For digital transformation to drive performance and competitive advantage, company leaders also need to ensure that both the technology and people are digital-ready.

For PropertyGuru Group’s Director of Brand & Consumer Marketing, Meenakshi Shunmugham, it’s about how “you bring everyone else with you on the journey”.

”We are a 13-year-old company and there are many things that we need to carefully consider in order to embark on and execute the digital transformation process successfully.”

Shunmugham elaborated further for the group, “The first issue is clarity. What does digital mean for you in your industry and for your company specifically? The second is urgency. And that’s a difficult one for many to understand if a company is still performing well. Why should they change? The third is planning. What’s an appropriate plan to do this at scale? Fourth, and this is probably my most important one, is recognition of your current company setup and how to change it to adapt to the new environment. A core component of this last point would be talent management.”

Andrew Tan, assistant director, customer & marketing at FairPrice Group, says the group has a social responsibility to help small businesses digitalize. “We work with thousands of mom and pop sellers. Overnight, we needed to bring them online. At the same time, we needed to convince consumers that digitalization comes at a cost. So it’s about getting everyone on board, from the young to old, from the digitally savvy to those who aren’t.”


Figuring Out What to Invest In – Ultimately It’s About What Will Make a Difference for Consumers

Another question that marketing leaders are asking themselves is ‘What’s the outlook for digital investment?’ With the current focus on digital so closely tied to the shift to digital during Covid, it could be a challenge to figure out what to invest in for the long-term.

Pizza Hut is using AI to transform the customer experience. Claire Leong, the company’s director, performance marketing APAC, says some countries are ahead of the curve when it comes to adopting digital infrastructure. “In China, the team really leverages customer data, and AI drives the way they sell online. If you have the app, you’d find that menus switch in and out throughout the day. It also recognizes past purchases.”

Others are investing in the digital products that allow them to improve physical interactions.

“Say, you’re visiting a friend and you really like their place. You could just point your phone at the property to find out more about it. So that’s using data to bridge online and offline. That process doesn’t exist for customers, who are just seamlessly switching back and forth between online and offline,” says PropertyGuru’s Shunmugham.


* This article was originally published on Campaign Asia.


Let us know the marketing challenges that you’re facing, and how you want to improve your marketing strategy.


What Is the Role of Natural Language Processing in Marketing?

When a shopper lands on your e-commerce site, she will either browse around or search for specific product info. What if you have a virtual assistant who can chat with her and guide her to exactly what she is looking for, just like in a physical store? This seamless, personalized customer experience is made possible through natural language processing (NLP). NLP is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that trains machines to understand human language, interpret and converse with it. It takes into account the form of input (speech or voice). By leveraging deep learning algorithms, today’s NLP models are focused on “next sentence prediction”, which is a set of candidate sentences being ranked given an unfinished conversation. Initially, this was done through simple models based on statistical information. Given an input, they would generate the same result. However, using deep learning helps today’s models produce results with considerable accuracy as they are more complicated to extract information from the data. This has opened doors to a whole new host of applications. Robots in customer service, equipped with NLP technology, are able to understand conversations in limited domains and direct customers to relevant answers. Sentiment analysis also helps them analyze

Tackle Brand Safety With NLP Amid COVID-19

The global COVID-19 crisis has thrown programmatic advertising into a crisis of its own. With keywords related to the pandemic being blacklisted because of brand safety fears, publishers are losing out as advertisements are blocked, and revenue subsequently drops. In response to this worrying trend, publishers and media experts are pushing brands to stop COVID-19 keyword blocking, but is this a safe move? To ensure it is, brands must rethink the boundaries of brand safety in advertising. They can also turn to natural language processing (NLP) technologies, which deliver a less restrictive solution.        With a third of the global population being asked or ordered to stay at home, this pandemic has almost changed consumer behavior overnight, and that includes a massive rise in online media and content consumption. According to a global survey by GlobalWeb Index, 95 percent of consumers are now spending more time consuming in-home and online media. Unsurprisingly, the biggest spike is for news coverage, with two in three people spending more time on news sites as they try to stay informed.   Bigger Audiences, Fewer Impressions Since January, over 1.5 million COVID-related articles have been published. For publishers, the possibilities for reporting on the crisis

Maximize App Engagement With Push Notifications (Industry Examples Included)

Having high app downloads is not much good if your customers don’t use your app. Thankfully, you can increase your app engagement and help your brand play a bigger part in your customers’ lives through the judicious use of app push notifications.    The State of App Engagement There has been an explosion in demands for mobile apps in recent years, and global consumer spending reached US$120 billion on apps — a figure that is up 2.1x from 2016.  Consumers love apps, as do brands. It is a great way to meet your customers’ needs and because they are on mobile devices, your customers can engage with your brand wherever they are. However, to give your customers a reason to stick with your app, you need to craft your app engagement strategy carefully, and push notifications can be a great way to remind them about your app and what you have to offer.   Why Use Personalized Push Notifications? As a marketer, push notifications can be your greatest asset or your worst enemy. Using them correctly offers you a fantastic way to engage your users with personalized, timely promotions that increase their level of engagement with your brand. However, misuse


Let us know how we can help improve your marketing strategy