MARKETECH APAC’s top 5 stories for March: Esports league in PH bags top spot

MARKETECH APAC Reports_March

This month of March, we’re looking at a diverse list of the top 5 stories. The rise of digital experiences and online e-commerce amid this unprecedented period in the lives of both businesses and consumers is evidently shown in the stories that nabbed the highest readership for the month. As you will see in the rundown, brands, and organizations that took the top spots are those that launched new partnerships and announced new initiatives that are a response to surging online activity and adoption. 

This month, a Hong Kong-headquartered fintech has just partnered with a new Buy Now Pay Later payment channel. A global adtech has also expanded its services to Vietnam, while a Singapore-based agency hires a new UX director. 

Meanwhile two rising consumer ecosystems – esports and influencer marketing – grace this month’s list with a content platform launching a new community for parent influencers and a Philippines-based gaming league mounting a virtual event that engages music fans.

Take a look at the top stories. Stories were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 February to 15 March. 

Top 5: Singapore-based Bray Leino Splash names new UX Director

As the number of brands adopting digital experiences increases at a faster rate amid the pandemic, Singapore-based DX agency Bray Leino Splash’s appointment of a new UX director comes at a rightful time. 

The newly named Jaffry Jalal has previously worked with TBWA\Singapore and Havas as its UX design lead and was most recently a lecturer at Singapore Polytechnic. He has previously worked with brands such as Singapore Airlines, MasterCard, and Michelin to help them create digital products and immersive experiences. 

Jalal shared to MARKETECH APAC that as he takes the helm at the agency, he looks to start with the basics – straightening out and unifying the language of ‘design’ for the whole agency – in order to serve clients better and deliver an excellent UX.

“[I’m looking at] broadening the definition of design within the agency. That it is about moving something from its current state to a better-preferred state, whatever it is that we are doing. In creating that mentality internally, I hope we can transform where the whole agency becomes the design team for the client,” said Jalal. 

Jalal also shared what he believes to be one of the most important metrics of a good UX, and that is when people “talk less” about the UX, which means the agency has done its job in creating a seamless experience. 

“That’s the strange thing about UX design is that you won’t really notice good UX when it’s designed well. It’s transparent and invisible. The most effective experiences help the customers get the job done and they get on with their life; they come to a website or an app, they get what they need, and it helps them then they move on,” shared Jalal.

“This pandemic, as an agency, [we focus on] how we can help [clients] move from a current state to a preferred state [of digitization]; and [when] the whole agency can speak the language of design, then we can spot opportunities for our clients,” added Jalal. 

Top 4: theAsianparent launches VIP parents platform for parent influencers

Influencer marketing, with its relatable appeal to consumers as well as being a less cumbersome strategy for brands, has been all the rage with more brands and used-to-be consumers jumping into the ecosystem. Products and services targeted at parents are no different and this is what parenting-focused content platform aims to leverage with the VIP parents platform

In the platform, proactive parents are given the opportunity to step into the limelight and use their influence and voice for brands which also becomes an avenue for them to earn. 

Officially launched in 2020, the platform has already garnered a base of over 40,000 moms and dads. For brands, the platform serves as a channel to easily tap parents to implement engagement and brand amplification activities such as participating in surveys or polls, creating original and meaningful content, and even have parents review products and attend brand events. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke with the two Co-Founders of VIPP Heena Lulla Singh and Jessica Tremel to know more about the platform. Singh said that the parents on the platform are different from the broad influencer groups with their genuine experience and knowledge as their top edge. 

“What truly differentiates these parents from broad influencer groups is their parenting journeys, their experiences, and know-how, which actually enable them to provide authentic amplifications for consumer brands,” said Singh. 

Tremel said that VIP Parents is not just an influencer marketing platform, where the community also takes branded campaigns from posting on social media, reviews and reviews platforms, attending events, and downloading apps, and many more activities that parents can do for brands.

“Through our platform, these everyday parents to micro-influencers, have been able to deliver better engagement rates through the genuine feedback that captures audiences which leads to higher client conversion rates,” said Tremel. 

Top 3: Adtech Criteo partners with Vietnam-based MediaDonuts  

Digital advertisers in Southeast Asia country Vietnam are set to see a new solution provider in the market for their marketing and advertising strategies as adtech Criteo partners with Vietnam-based advertising and technology company MediaDonuts.

Criteo is a global advertising platform that provides a full-funnel marketing solution for online advertisers, retailers, brands, and agencies to serve relevant online advertisements. The partnership with MediaDonuts will take in the form of the Ad Sales Partner Program, which provides brands with performance marketing solutions aimed at driving profits and sales.

Speaking to MARKETECH APAC, Mark Gubbels, head of commercial for SEA at Criteo, said that the company specifically chose Vietnam for the expansion being one of the fastest-growing markets in online advertising. 

“We see a great opportunity, especially in the performance-based marketing to work with local businesses in Vietnam and evolve their advertising and marketing strategies to gain a competitive advantage in the market,” said Gubbels. 

Gubbels also shared that part of Criteo’s offering to brands will be education and training on performance marketing. 

“While we are seeing great potential for market adoption within Vietnam’s industry, we still [see] that there’s a lot of room for growth, mainly in terms of education around performance marketing. As more Vietnamese consumers turn to e-commerce and seek an online channel experience, we really need to establish strong relationships with their customers both offline and online,” said Gubbels. 

The training and certification layer aims to provide and equip teams with practical courses to harness data effectively and to gain actionable insights to effectively manage and measure campaigns.

Top 2: Hong Kong-based AsiaPay adds Singapore’s Atome as Buy Now Pay Later partner

Hong Kong-headquartered Asiapay has announced a new partnership with Singapore-based Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platform Atome, adding it to its current BNPL payment partners, to enable seamless, flexible installment payment options to online and offline retail businesses across the APAC region.

AsiaPay is a digital payment solution and technology vendor in Asia aiming to bring advanced and cost-effective electronic payment processing solutions and services to banks, corporate and e-Businesses in the worldwide market. Meanwhile, Atome partners online and offline retailers to increase conversions and grow average orders and customer segments.

Through the team-up, both companies intend to remove the complexity for merchants and retailers of all sizes, to benefit from greater BNPL payment convenience.

Atome has partnered with over 2,000 online and offline retailers in six markets such as Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Hong Kong with key merchant partners and e-commerce platforms in a wide range of verticals including Sephora, Agoda, Zara, and Marks & Spencer, and JD.ID and Sendo. Meanwhile, AsiaPay’s platform connects over 100 banks and a broad roster of alternative payment methods in 11 country locations. 

MARKETECH APAC spoke with Ernest Lo, AsiaPay’s executive director for AsiaPay, and he shared that the decision to tie up with Atome is due to the parallels between their business landscapes, such as being able to serve the same markets like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong. aside from Singapore. 

“We see how Atome works in Singapore, [and] we want to work with a partner that’s aggressive with whom we can work out something together; we hope that our merchants in different countries can enjoy this BNPL product,” said Lo. 

Top 1: Philippine Pro Gaming League engaged music fans roping in MNL48 for a virtual match

For our top story this month, we have esports league Philippine Pro Gaming League in the Philippines. For a one-time event last 8 March, the Philippines Pro Gaming League (PPGL) managed by esports organization Mineski Philippines, hosted a virtual match, where it roped in Philippine pop idol group MNL48 to engage and play with fans for the popular mobile game League of Legends: Wild Rift. 

PPGL is the largest multi-game esports in the country, and has been running for about 3 years in partnership with Globe telecom. Before the pandemic, the league seasonally conducts its massive onsite grand finals where it directly engages with players, teams, and the gaming community, at the same time, serves as an opportunity to promote gaming to a larger audience. Come the pandemic, Mineski was finding a way to bring the same engagement and experience, and thus, launched the virtual ‘PPGL Takeover’, where it invites personalities, esports influencers and streamers, and TV personalities to connect with gamers and fans. 

Nadine Nora, campaign manager at Mineski Philippines, shared that it has been partnering with people from the music industry and that when it approached MNL48, the collaboration was a perfect match, with the all-girl group being gamers themselves. 

MNL48 is a Filipino idol group, originally established in 2018, known to be a part of the larger J-pop genre scene based on its mother group AKB48. They have since released a total of six singles, including ‘Pag-Ibig Fortune Cookie’, ‘High Tension’, and more recently ‘River’. The quintet comprises Cole Somera, Abby Trinidad, Sheki Arzaga, Gabb Skribikin, and Coleen Trinidad.

“MNL48 was very excited with the event as it is an added avenue for them to interact with their fans. [MNL48 and PPGL] just have the same mindset, we were both striving in engaging the community, and everything just fell into place perfectly,” shared Nora.

Watch our live interviews with the newsmakers themselves on the latest episode of MARKETECH APAC Reports, live on our YouTube channel.

This is in collaboration with Malaysia-based media company The Full Frontal.

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