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Technology Featured East Asia

Magnolia opens up new office in Hong Kong

Hong Kong – Digital experience platform (DXP) company Magnolia has opened up a new office in Hong Kong, months after its Indonesian office opening. To date, the company has six existing offices in the Asia-Pacific region, namely in Singapore, Ho Chi Minh, Jakarta, Bangkok, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.

Said move will expand the company’s existing efforts in the Asia-Pacific region, strengthen strategic partnerships, establish operations, and accelerate Magnolia’s expansion in the region.

Don Lee, managing director at Magnolia APAC, said, “We are delighted to announce the launch of our Hong Kong office. With a local office, we can take a step up in supporting our domestic and regional clients based in Hong Kong, the Magnolia way.”

Meanwhile, Ben Chen, vice president of consulting for APAC and country manager in Hong Kong at Magnolia, commented, “There is no better time to set up operations in Hong Kong than now. Opening a local office here also provides us the invaluable opportunity to work even more closely with our partners to support our Hong Kong clients such as Livi Bank, SmarTone, Ping An, and many others.”

Magnolia handles several clients in the region, including Toshiba, HiSense, NCS Group, CNN Philippines and SP Group.

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Main Feature Technology Partners APAC

What’s NEXT: Why marketers need DXP more than ever in 2022

Why do marketers need digital experience platforms (DXP)? The answer is simple. Most people check out a brand online before they walk into the store, or check out its physical office, or if they even have one at all. And this touchpoint has become even more ingrained in a consumer’s journey in the new normal, where lockdowns have dampened the relevance of brick-and-mortar stores.

According to the latest E-conomy report by Google, Temasek, and Bain & Company, the Southeast Asia region is charging ahead at full steam, having added 60 million new digital consumers to the internet economy since the pandemic started, with 20 million of them joining in H1 2021 alone. And this will further increase as e-commerce becomes the be-all-and-end-all of consumers’ shopping demands.

DXP as the vital baseline of consumer experiences

When we walk into a store, say Uniqlo – the entire experience matters – from the lighting, the smell, and the layout to the customer service and the checkout experience. Now imagine trying to replicate this online, purely digitally – you take away the physical elements like touch, smell, and feeling of being in the store; so what you have to do is to ensure the online experience is as powerful as possible to instill positive emotions in the customer.

In the case of digital experience, this will be the user interface, the simplicity of navigation, the speed of page loading, the personalization of the page itself, and micro components to make the experience enriching while being bespoke, along with the checkout process remaining seamless, the omnichannel engagement fulfilling, among many others. If the experience is positive across the customer journey and all the multiple touchpoints, then the customer’s experience towards the brand will naturally be uplifting, leading to more engagement, advocacy, sales, and loyalty.

Digital experience has been way underrated – brands spend many more times the budget on traditional campaigns, loud billboards, and posters, but all these are turning into spam and noise for the customer. Even if the advert catches their eyeballs, and they land on a website that is poorly designed, all that money spent will be in vain. However, a superbly executed website or app has the potential to go viral effortlessly simply because of human nature – we experience something good and we want to share it with others, and if the site is made to be shareable easily, then it will proliferate.

There are many ways to measure DXP ROI – but rather than using a template and then measuring that against variables which may not matter or are very intangible, using a composable DXP allows you to build a martech stack against a specific business objective. So, for example, with all things being equal, you want to measure increase in conversions – adding a shopping cart + marketing automation and then tracking the differences over a period of time, or against the same interval as compared to last year or years before – this will allow you to see the incremental gains which you can then use against the tech/resource investment to get the ROI.

Breaking ROI down into specific objectives will allow marketers to pinpoint what really works for them and what doesn’t, rather than get a digital transformation solution that costs millions and waiting for a couple of years for that to ‘transform’ the revenue. It simply doesn’t work that way; apart from the tech investment, there is also change management you need to take into account – the retraining of people and reshaping of processes in order to fit the new ‘solution’, not to mention the attrition as well.

Asia is one of the most creative and competitive markets in the world, and they are constantly leading the pack with innovative ways of engaging the customer. For some of the brands, there is a ‘family business’ approach where marketers work in silos, and for the others, they pay millions of dollars a year for solutions that they barely even use 10% of. 

As marketers get savvier digitally, and the role of digital leaders become more empowered, they will be able to focus their investments better and get better ROI from those investments, as well as use agile solutions to adapt rapidly to changes in the market in order to take advantage of these disruptions.

The new marketer is the one who sees change as an opportunity, not as a tragedy. And with this new normal, the future of DXP in Asia is really the only way to go – whoever can embrace digital first, will displace the competition first. And once you gain that foothold, the others can only play catchup. Our younger generations are digital natives, and digital is the future as the world becomes a giant online city.

This article is written by Don Lee, managing director for APAC of CMS provider Magnolia.

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

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Technology Featured Global

DXP provider Optimizely acquires marketing platform Welcome

Singapore – Digital experience platform (DXP) provider Optimizely has entered into an agreement to acquire Welcome, a marketing platform that carries capabilities in content marketing platforms (CMP), marketing resource management (MRM), and digital asset management (DAM) in a single solution. The combined company will empower marketing teams of brands across the globe to drive real business value through better customer experiences.

Through the combined services of the company, clients can now grow their end-to-end marketing lifecycle from concept to execution, gain control and transparency to manage content, and grow revenue by scaling adoption of in-class optimization.

Alex Atzberger, CEO at Optimizely, said, “We believe a world-class customer experience starts with an outstanding marketer experience. By combining Welcome’s campaign planning, content production, and asset management capabilities with Optimizely’s existing breadth of digital experience solutions, we empower marketers to rapidly launch campaigns and control the optimization of every digital touchpoint which results in growth for the business.”

Following Optimizely’s acquisition of customer data platform Zaius earlier this year, the addition of Welcome further solidifies Optimizely’s mission to empower digital teams to unlock their digital potential.

Meanwhile, Shafqat Islam, CEO and co-founder at Welcome, commented, “We could not be more excited to be joining the Optimizely family. We’ve made it our mission to transform the way marketers work, by delivering a purpose-built solution to orchestrate all of marketing. Now, together with Optimizely, we believe we are unifying two category-leading solutions to see that mission through.”

Until the closing of the acquisition deal, the companies will continue to operate independently. Over time, Welcome will be integrated with Optimizely’s existing stack to create a complete end-to-end portfolio to manage the full content lifecycle.

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Platforms Featured ANZ

AU’s housing body partners with DX agency Switch to refresh digital portal

Sydney, Australia – Housing Industry Association (HIA), the largest residential building organization in Australia, has partnered with digital customer experience agency Switch which is also an implementation partner of DXP Sitecore, to overhaul its suite of web-based content platforms and provide a connected digital experience to its member businesses across the country. 

HIA is Australia’s only national industry association representing the interests of the residential building industry. It acts as the industry’s voice and promotes policies and provides services that enhance members’ business practices, products, and profitability. 

According to a press release by Sitecore, the association said it wanted to change its traditionally face-to-face membership model by expanding the digital experience and services it offers online. 

Together with both Switch and Sitecore, the transformation project sought to improve the association’s digital strategy, customer engagement, and website design, and deliver a cloud-based platform that would provide hyper-personalized experiences, e-commerce services, data-decisioning systems, and marketing automation capabilities. 

Ben Brooker, HIA’s general manager for digital, describes the project as a “huge step.”

“Our goal is to be the trusted, ever-present voice of the residential building industry in Australia, and provide a central digital experience that unites all customer segments under a proactive, personalized, and connected experience,” said Brooker.

Meanwhile, Switch’s CEO, Steve Nelson, remarks on the growing importance of digitization, “As digital natives become the norm, companies are looking at new service offerings to match expectations and create seamless digital experiences.”

Switch said it formulated a digital strategy centered around four key transformation goals: Raise and capitalize on awareness, increase sense of belonging, grow revenue, and build an efficient digital operating model.

The association’s digital transformation journey included an evolution of its onboarding and membership model, an overhaul of its e-commerce platform, and CPD (Continuous Professional Development) structure, and the creation of an engaging and informative digital resource library to assert HIA’s position as an industry expert. 

In addition, an integrated e-commerce solution was created across all of HIA’s digital to support the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell content online. The solution enables access to a number of resources that were previously only delivered in-store or through a customer service phone query. The digital transformation project also included a simplified user management UX that supports HIA’s membership structure, and the creation of a service prompting users to explore the website and learn about the features available. 

The strategy resulted in a multi-phased roadmap, allowing HIA to commence its digital transformation journey, starting with a new ‘Foundation Site’.

In accomplishing the project, the association deployed a suite of Sitecore technology platform services, including Sitecore XP (Integrated Digital Experience), Sitecore XC (Digital Commerce), and Personalisation technology. 

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Technology Featured APAC

Sitecore appoints new VP for Asia in quest of CX, digital transformation expansion

Singapore – In its continuing expansion in Asia for its customer experience (CX) and digital transformation strategies, digital experience management software Sitecore has appointed cloud and IT executive Saurabh Pandit as its newest vice president for Asia.

The appointment of Pandit strengthens Sitecore’s presence in the market and is part of the company’s ambitions to grow aggressively in the wake of the US$1.2b funding secured in January. His new role will include India, Southeast Asia, and the Greater China region.

Prior to his new role, he was formerly regional director for JAPAC at marketing automation provider Resulticks, as well as head of IBM Watson Customer Engagement across the ASEAN region, and has held senior digital marketing alliance roles at Adobe. 

Before moving to Singapore, Pandit held cloud management roles at Adobe and Microsoft in India.

“Sitecore has a plan to provide business with marketing cloud technologies that transform the way they operate, and I am excited to be part of that. My expertise is in technical transformation and change and bringing the benefits of IT and digital to enterprise and mid-market customers,” Pandit said, regarding his appointment.

Pandit will report to Sitecore’s Asia-Pacific and Japan President Mark Troselj. He brings more than twenty years of business and executive management experience.

“Saurabh Pandit has the proven leadership and experience in driving digital transformation and customer experience innovation to support Sitecore’s growth in the Asian region. Companies across the region are looking for counsel and guidance in meeting the challenges of becoming a digital-first organization, and Saurabh delivers that experience,” Troselj commented.

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Main Feature Technology Partners APAC

Spotlight: The rise of niche players in the Digital Experience Platform scene

The large majority of organizations and businesses nowadays are not only technologically inclined but are also curious as to how to bring their products and services closer to their target market or customers. And coincidentally, with the rise of the internet and other forms of channels, organizations have taken into consideration the value of customer experience.

Customer experience has come a long way since traditional advertising and marketing strategies, and we have ventured deeper into digitizing it, leading to the rise of digital experience platforms (DXPs).

DXPs are best explained as “a piece of technology that allows marketers to create, manage and orchestrate, deliver and optimize personalized digital experiences across all touchpoints of a customer’s digital journey.” DXPs allow organizations to connect them closer to their target markets through these online channels and strategies.

Despite various DXPs being rampant across all the global industry of customer experience, new players tend to break the norms, in search of more efficient, organized, and flexible options that allow greater options for the businesses of today to save time and resources connecting with their customers.

Such is the feat of enterprise content management system Magnolia, based in Basel, Switzerland, on which its DX platform Magnolia DX Core, was recently recognized by consulting firm Gartner as one of the new key niche players in the DXP scene, according to its 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant.

‘Punching above weight’: The background of Magnolia’s win

Since the 1990s, Gartner has released annually its Gartner Magic Quadrant series, a tableau of market research reports that rely on data analysis to report on market trends such as participation, the maturity of the industry, and discovery of solutions under a certain industry.

Under Gartner Magic Quadrant’s new report for DXPs, they have taken into consideration how the platform itself fares well to a wide variety of customers, including partners, employees, citizens, and students, and help ensure continuity across the full customer lifetime journey. Furthermore, it should be applicable to business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-employee (B2E) use cases.

Magnolia DX Core_Gartner
The 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant, and Magnolia’s position in the quadrant, specifically in the ‘Niche Players’ category

Magnolia’s recognition of their platform by Gartner, according to Magnolia APAC’s general manager Don Lee, can be best explained as having the capability of being ‘punching above weight’ or being more inclusive to clients by adding more features in the platform while maintaining the same speed of deploying digital campaigns and content.

“With Magnolia becoming the choice of many notable brands globally, and also in APAC (which Gartner mentioned specifically), the international standing of our brand is now elevated to a point where we are taken seriously, despite the relatively nimble size of our company,” Lee stated during his interview at MARKETECH Spotlight.

Composable and modular: The key strengths

In the Gartner Magic Quadrant report, they stated that one of the key assets of Magnolia DX Core is that it operates under a modular framework, meaning the system can be partitioned which allows faster development and deployment of the DX scripts.

“For a modular framework, [it’s] the creation of small, independent scripts that represent modules which you can test independently and then recombine them. The advantages to this are you get consistency in development, reduced development time, and of course, flexibility,” Lee explained.

Gartner also noted that Magnolia DX Core also allows business clients to build digital experiences based on the platform’s components, making it composable for brands looking to revamp their digital experiences every time.

Magnolia DX Core_Gartner
The building blocks of the composable framework of Magnolia DX Core

“[This] enables brands to incrementally build out a high-performance DXP that leverages existing proven components and services. Our advanced experience authoring and content management features coupled with a modern tech stack empower all stakeholders. This combination enables the launch of new digital products and differentiated experiences at unprecedented speed,” he further added.

In one particular client case, Magnolia has helped China-based insurance company Ping An Insurance to allow the migration of its old content management system (CMS) to Magnolia DX Core in less than two months, with only two CMS back-end developers, thanks to the platform’s accessible modular framework feature.

Magnolia DX Core_Gartner
Results from the CMS migration done by Magnolia for insurance company Ping An Insurance

“Since its launch, editors have been able to update daily content consistently across any channel or platform with minimal errors and no major issue whatsoever. More than three times growth [are seen] in [the] site traffic, [and] 66% reduction in content update time,” Lee stated.

Responding to platform limitations

Despite its key strengths, Magnolia DX Core has its own limitations, including what is considered to be an “all-in-one DXP package”.

Gartner notes that enabling customers to build a DXP from first and third-party capabilities may be less attractive to prospects looking for a more packaged DXP solution.

In response, Lee noted that their trend in creating a DXP with third-party capabilities is part of the growing market of DXPs that aim to create a system of best-of-breed DX components.

“We have seen in recent years that there has been a clear shift in market demand from single-vendor DXP suites to ecosystems of integrated best-of-breed platforms. Magnolia is at the forefront of this revolution — providing modern enterprises with a far more agile and powerful alternative to cumbersome software suites,” Lee stated.

Magnolia DX Core_Gartner
A depiction of what a modular framework is

He also explained that in contrast to what “all-in-one DXP packages” are all about, this is much viewed to be an “overkill” of the true purpose of a DXP: which only serves best the client and their DX needs.

“It’s a natural evolution for this market in which overly complex suites are replaced by a new approach. It also does not help that the investment for a suite platform is also substantially more, with too many overkill features in the early phase of the brand’s digital adoption,” he added.

Visions: APAC presence and word of advice

As Magnolia is slowly being recognized by global brands and clients, the company is ramping up its market in the Asia Pacific, with two new offices in the region namely in Bangkok, Thailand and in Shenzhen, China.

“We have been fixated on customer success since day one, and we will continue to do so, upholding our promise of project success as the top priority. We also aim to empower more Magnolia practitioners, whether from clients or partners, and widen the Magnolia community,” Lee stated.

Magnolia APAC
The Magnolia CMS team in APAC. Don Lee is seated on the front row, second to the right

He added, “We realized that we are popular among developers, but marketers have very little visibility about us, so we hope to duplicate our success at the operational level to the management level.”

When asked about businesses looking forward to acquiring DXP solutions for their next digital experience strategy, Lee recommends that businesses only “focus on a few key facets of Digital Experience which they want to succeed in”, noting that DXP itself is often met with an impression as being a “buzzword”, hence businesses must only focus what correlates best with their business objectives.

“From there, they should aim to build a modular, organic DXP which has the capability to help them achieve their DX goals faster as they observe results. Investing in a composable DXP is key as it allows them to integrate with new or legacy martech functions seamlessly,” Lee recommends.

He also notes that creating a customized DXP means businesses creating the best of the brand’s tech stack that is optimized for the organization’s inner workings and nuances.

“This will give marketers the control over their budget and strategy on how they can then evolve the platform further to suit their needs and goals,” Lee concludes.

Watch our full live interview with Magnolia’s General Manager for APAC Don Lee on our YouTube channel.

If your organization has recently obtained an outstanding achievement or has launched a one-of-a-kind initiative in marketing and tech, please reach out to us at [email protected].

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Technology Featured Global

Magnolia’s digital experience platform recognized on Gartner Magic Quadrant

Singapore – The digital experience platform of Magnolia, a global content management systems provider, has recently been recognized at the 2021 Gartner Magic Quadrant by Gartner.

The Magic Quadrant are market reports published by consulting firm Gartner based on qualitative data analysis in demonstrating market trends, such as direction and business nature. The report is conducted every one or two years to several technology industries.

Magnolia is the newest entry to this year’s Gartner Magic Quadrant, and recognition is afforded to its digital experience platform (DXP), the Magnolia DX Core. 

The said DXP, categorized under the ‘Niche Players in the Magic Quadrant’, carry capabilities that include content management, personalization, search, campaign management and digital asset management (DAM). It is often deployed by organizations in banking, manufacturing, communications, and travel and hospitality verticals for business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-employee (B2E) use cases.

“We believe that Magnolia provides the powerful capabilities that marketing teams need to quickly launch customer experiences without having to involve IT. Through its Visual SPA (Single-page app) Editor, Magnolia offers best-in-class authoring experience for omnichannel publishing by enabling marketers to fully design, control and preview experiences for any channel,” Magnolia said in a press statement.

For Magnolia CEO Tim Brown, the recognition from Gartner is a testament of a greater shift in “market demand from single-vendor DXP suites to ecosystems of integrated best-of-breed platforms.”

“Our vision of a composable DXP, built of deeply integrated best-of-breed solutions, enables brands to incrementally build out a high performance DXP that leverage existing proven components and services. Our advanced experience authoring and content management features coupled with a modern tech stack empowers all stakeholders. This combination enables the launch of new digital products and differentiated experiences at unprecedented speed,” Brown explained.

Meanwhile, Rasmus Skjoldan, CMO at Magnolia, commented that last year has seen enterprises moving towards the direction of forward-thinking business movement by “bringing high-quality digital experiences to their customers considerably faster than their competition.”

“We’re essentially seeing the sun rise for composable platforms that give enterprises a much faster way to launch digital experiences – and the first but clear glimpses of the sun setting for the suite platforms as they eventually become too slow for the modern enterprise. It’s a natural evolution for this market in which overly complex suites are replaced by a new approach,” Skjoldan stated.

In a statement provided for MARKETECH APAC, Magnolia Singapore’s general manager Don Lee stated that Magnolia’s recognition is a ‘big win’ for the future of flexible DXPs.

“We are incredibly proud to be featured in this quadrant for the very first time, and on top of that, leading the quadrant in vision. This is testament to the affirmation by our clients of our project success promise along with the flexibility of our composable DXP, allowing brands to build their digital experience platforms in any way they desire, either on premise or as a service,” Lee stated.