Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC’s Top 5 stories for May: Southeast Asian brands sweep this month’s top spots

This month of May, the region of Southeast Asia took the reigns, with four out of five stories coming from the region, with one global brand entering the list. This month is all about the area of producing fresh content and platforms. 

One live streaming platform launched a new feature that would see the replication of physical ‘live events’, while another brand, top e-commerce in fashion and lifestyle, is jumping on the trend of podcasts but with a novel take. 

The end of Ramadan or the celebration of Hari Raya was commemorated by Muslims throughout the world this month, with one brand coming out on the top with its sentimental and touching Hari Raya short film. 

Meanwhile, in the area of content regulation, we also saw a new leadership being announced that marks a new era of regulating content in one SEA country. Last but not the least, readers were hooked on the story of the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight where we gave the seat to global CMS provider Magnolia. 

The top stories were sourced from Google Analytics from the period of 16 April to 15 May. Take a look. 

Top 5: Zalora launches ‘Zalora Talks’

Entering in our Top 5 stories for May is fashion and lifestyle e-commerce Zalora in Southeast Asia. While fashion is a realm that’s highly visual and not often ‘talked’ about through conversations alone, Zalora aims to break the norm through the launch of its podcast, ’Zalora Talks’ on Spotify, the first-ever fashion and lifestyle podcast in Asia. 

While Chris Daguimol, Zalora’s group director and head of corporate communications, agrees to this, he said that in today’s time, Fashion has evolved into becoming a platform to raise pertinent social issues such as sustainability. 

“Right now, we actually have people who are big in sustainability. It’s a healthy kind of conversation, and I think this is the right time to start being part of that conversation, and Zalora’s very proud to be part of that initiative and conversation and to have all this put out there as a Southeast Asian point of view, and with [matters] that resonate with consumers in Southeast Asia,” said Daguimol in a MARKETECH APAC interview.

Daguimol said that the United States remains the main fashion hub and that conversations on fashion often revolve around the western point of view. With ‘Zalora Talks’, the e-commerce aims to make the Southeast Asian voice be heard, which boasts a fashion and lifestyle culture that’s rich and vibrant as any other. 

The series was launched on 4 May and currently has five episodes. The series, which is made to comprise two seasons, is hosted by Amy Yasmine, the former editor of Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia, and will have six episodes for each season. The series brings together industry experts, brand partners, and fashion and lifestyle key opinion leaders from countries all over Southeast Asia.

Top 4: CMS Magnolia on the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight

For the pilot episode of MARKETECH Spotlight, our deep dive into organizations and companies that have recently achieved an industry milestone, we featured global tech company and CMS provider Magnolia. 

Magnolia which has presence in Europe and APAC, and headquartered in Switzerland, has recently entered the leading list of top tech providers in the world: Global advisory Gartner’s Magic Quadrant. The report method uses a quadrant to identify the top-performing tech systems in the world, and Magnolia was recently identified as a ‘niche player’ for its digital experience platform (DXP) Magnolia DX Core. 

In the episode, we conversed with Magnolia’s General Manager for APAC Don Lee, who aside from sharing the company’s response to Gartner’s report, also gave informative insights to companies that are looking to adopt a digital experience platform themselves. 

Among the tips he shared are: focusing on the facet of digital experience that one wants to succeed in and building a modular and organic DXP for faster DX development. Learn more about his insights here

Top 3: kumu launches ‘Live Events’ platform

Even over a year of the pandemic, most nations in the world are still grappling with lockdowns, with countries even dealing with new waves of the virus. With this, in-person interactions are still far from reality. 

Local and emerging top live streaming platform in the Philippines, kumu, has recently responded to this call, coming up with a new feature for Filipinos that aims to replicate real-life ‘live events’. 

With the new kumu ‘live events’, kumu aims to provide the biggest virtual stage in the country to offer its viewers live concert experiences, festivals, and parties from the comfort of their own homes. To give that full ‘live show’ experience, kumu will be enabling features that model the physical version that we all have come to enjoy such as post-show engagement with the artists. in contrast to the standard Kumu live stream shows that are open to public viewing, live events will be ticketed and gated. 

Speaking with MARKETECH APAC, Mariel Bitanga, head of kumu Live Events, shared that aside from the benefit of the users and viewers, the new feature is very much for its performers and top streamers in the platform, making possible the opportunity to have a special type of production for their fans. 

“Kumu is a fast-growing app and platform, and we wanted as a company to have an offering other than the usual app features that we wanted to have a platform on the web. Kumu Live is actually not just events, it actually has gaming, and you could actually live streams there,” said Bitanga

Top 2: Kärcher Malaysia’s Hari Raya short film 

As a Muslim-wide country, Malaysia has been all spirits for the month of May as it approached the celebration of the end of Ramadan, Hari Raya Aidilfitri. 

Different brands and companies came in solidarity with Muslims in the country, showcasing each of their creative campaigns that all echoed the importance of making time for family even amid one of the most difficult times for social connections. 

One particular campaign stood out and entered the top 5 stories this month – the Hari Raya short film of professional cleaning tools and equipment supplier, Kärcher Malaysia. 

The brand took quite a different turn on its theme on family, using ‘memories’ as the element to bring the message that when members come together to bond, old memories are sometimes sidelined. The narrative revolves around a son who wishes to sell the family house but is contested by his parents as it holds lots of precious memories. As they clean and prepare the house for sale, Zack, the son, realizes his parents are right all along.

The campaign was spearheaded by social agency Kingdom Digital together with Untitled Films. 

In a conversation with Kingdom Digital’s head for account servicing Lui Xiao Yee, she shared that through the film, they wanted to show that not everything old is bad and that not everything old should be thrown away. 

“As we all know Karcher sells professional cleaning products, basically cleaning equipment and tools. We thought that it’s really relevant for the brand as well as the end consumer to tap into this spring cleaning kind of tradition,’ she said. 

Top 1: Malaysia’s The Content Forum names Astro Radio’s Kenny Ong as new chairman

For our top 1 story for the month of May, we have another news from Malaysia. The country’s independent self-regulatory body, The Content Forum, has recently elected Astro Radio’s CEO Kenny Ong to be its new chairman

The Communications and Multimedia Content Forum, or simply The Content Forum, is made up of various organizations representing the communications and multimedia industry. It governs content by self-regulation in line with the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Content Code – a set of rules that are applied to all content in the networked medium such as radio, television, audio text, and internet content from the country, as well as electronic boards, and public transport, among others.

The appointment will see Ong assuming the position for a two-year term, succeeding outgoing chairman Y.Bhg. Dato’ Khairul Anwar Salleh, the CEO of Media Prima Television Networks. In his new role, Ong will be bringing over 25 years of knowledge and experience across different industries to lead the council that sets the agenda on building a strong and agile self-regulatory framework for the communications and multimedia content industry. Together with members of the council, he is charged with executing strategies to achieve the vision of the Content Forum, which includes facilitating self-regulation and establishing best practices necessary for the growth of the content industry and the protection of its consumers.

When we caught up with Kenny to tell us more about the role, he said that the change in leadership will give The Content Forum a fresh start with new ideas and a new agenda. He further shared that one of the priorities of the forum would be the revamp of the content code. 

“Getting a revamp will be important because of the new changes that are in the market when we talk about content. When it was first set up many years ago, the definition of content is different from what we have now, when we talk about broadcasters, when we talk about media and a lot of things coming [out] online. We need to revamp the content code to make sure that it takes care of the current situation and what we foresee for the next couple of years,” he said. 

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.

Technology Featured APAC

CMS provider Magnolia opens Shenzhen, Bangkok offices

Basel, Switzerland – Content management system (CMS) provider Magnolia has announced the opening of its two new offices in Shenzhen and Bangkok, confirming its long-standing commitment to China and the Asia Pacific market.

Magnolia, whose main headquarters is in Basel, Switzerland, adds the two new offices in its already well-established presence in Asia, with three existing offices in Singapore, Vietnam, and Shanghai. The company also has certified partners serving customers in North Asia, India, Australia, and New Zealand.

Through the new offices, Magnolia looks to expand its offering of content management and digital experience technologies to the rapidly growing APAC market.

Tim Brown, CEO at Magnolia, commented, “Backing the expansion of our brilliant APAC team, partner community and our prestigious customers with these new offices is about the most obvious investment decisions I’ve ever had to make.”

Meanwhile, Don Lee, Magnolia’s managing director for APAC, said, “Having recognized a need for intensive personalization to provide unparalleled, unique experiences to customers, Asian brands are now investing in marketing technology designed to improve digital experiences.”

He added, “With Shenzhen and Bangkok becoming home to new local Magnolia resources and operations, together with our partners in APAC, we are now servicing brands in even closer proximity and helping them create amazing digital experiences for their customers.”

Magnolia was most recently recognized by global research and advisory firm Gartner on its annual report of top technology providers. Gartner uses a proprietary method Magic Quadrant to give tech vendors its competitive positioning, and for digital experience platforms (DXP) this year, Magnolia’s DXP Magnolia DX Core entered the quadrant, earning the status of ‘Niche Player’.

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

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.

Main Feature Technology APAC

Magnolia bolsters APAC footprint with appointments of two tech veterans

Singapore – Magnolia announces the appointment of industry veterans Vincent Jiang (pictured left) and Matthew Zhang (pictured right) to strengthen its footprint in the APAC market.

Vincent Jiang joins the company as the Head of Business and Alliances for Magnolia Asia Pacific, who previously worked on complex solution portfolios at Salesforce, Brandwatch and, said, “Joining Magnolia presents a great opportunity for me to work with a tremendous team to accelerate our customers’ digital transformation, leveraging our market-leading content management system.”

Jiang will be responsible for providing customers with insights on how to build a modern, adaptable and experience-focused MarTech stack in the constantly evolving technology landscape.

Matthew Zhang joins Magnolia as Technical Operations Leader for Magnolia Asia Pacific. Previously, Zhang worked at Accenture, where she spent four years driving and delivering complex enterprise solutions for Accenture’s top strategic accounts and ensuring customer success. Zhang who will be responsible for engaging with all facets of IT, said, “Magnolia is a first-class content management platform, perfect for building best-of-breed marketing technology stacks. I am privileged to join in Magnolia to identify and orchestrate strategies to utilise market opportunities as well as establish systems/processes to drive growth and team building.”

The new hires will also support teams in recently opened offices in both Singapore and Shanghai.

Commenting on the new appointments, Don Lee, APAC Managing Director at Magnolia, said, “Both Jiang and Zhang have a wealth of experience across the digital landscape that will help to further strengthen our APAC teams and ability to support customers across the region.”

Lee added,

“In the age of omnichannel marketing and personalization, a flexible content management system is a powerful resource for marketers looking to deliver first-rate digital experiences.

As our business expands, these new appointments will help us to deliver those experiences, while also offering greater support and value for customers in the region.”