Technology Featured Southeast Asia

NexMind launches ‘Digital Partner Program’ to provide AI-based martech solution for marketers

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Emerging martech firm NexMind AI Sdn. Bhd., has introduced the Digital Partner Program, a marketing partnership program designed for its enterprise SEO solutions, including NexODN SEO optimization and NexWriter AI content generation. The new program is set to attract consulting agencies delivering digital marketing, SEO, content marketing, and advertising services around the world.

Francis Lui, CEO of NexMind said, “NexMind develops AI martech solutions that are competitive in the industry. Our technology automates SEO optimization and content generation tasks so users can achieve optimum results much quicker compared to when they do the work manually. We have introduced Digital Partner Program to invite marketers around the globe to experience a better approach to managing SEO and content marketing for their clients.”

Among the benefits of NexMind’s Digital Partner Program are partner-only subscription rates and first access to new product features when they become available.

NexMind’s automated solutions were developed to improve the efficiency of digital marketing activities especially for consultants overseeing large accounts with thousands of web pages to monitor for SEO purposes. With this capability, partners can scale business while operating in a lean environment.

NexODN SEO platform already supports 127 languages, and the NexWriter AI content generator now supports six languages, and the number is growing.

“So, it doesn’t matter if the consultants are taking care of SEO or content marketing for transnational corporations with websites in different languages or a single-language website in Arabic, Japanese, German, or French; our platforms can help them deliver the work effectively and efficiently,” Francis added.

NexMind’s Digital Partner Program provides proper support, including assigning a Project Success Engineer to each partner to help them understand how our technology works and help them reach their marketing targets in a timely manner.

Francis concluded, “Any partners joining us will be provided with support and guidance. It is a win-win situation.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Rene Menezes appointed as Involve Asia’s new president

Singapore – Martech platform Involve Asia has announced the appointment of Rene Menezes as its newest president of the organisation, where he will be leading the commercial development of the organisation and will work in tandem with CEO and founder Jimmy How to manage the company and its stakeholders.

He brings over 25 years of leadership experience to Involve Asia, including most recently as director for the Southeast Asian partner office of SimilarWeb, and as former CEO of ad tech CtrlShift.

In addition, he also brings an ethos of entrepreneurship with one of his first ventures as a startup founder, providing a low-risk model for the largest digital media companies to enter emerging markets, highlighted by a client list that included Yahoo!, MSN, Facebook, Waze, Spotify, BBC, ESPN, and Disney.

Speaking about his appointment, he stated that as a board member of Involve Asia over the past eight years, he has witnessed the growth of Involve’s business and value creation for both publishers and advertisers. He also added that he is excited to deepen his work with the team as they cement their position in e-commerce marketing in Southeast Asia.

“Involve Asia’s platform is already used by many of the largest advertisers, merchants, and publishers in the region as a reliable source of leads, actions, and sales. The time is now ripe to ensure that more companies are exposed to and leverage the power of our platform, its reach and our know-how,” he stated.

Menezes added, “Since the pandemic began, there has been a surge in e-commerce adoption across Southeast Asia. The market is going to see a more aggressive Involve Asia acquire new clients as the pool of potential customers which can benefit from our services has grown exponentially.”

Meanwhile, How stated, “Rene has advised the business since its inception and has been able to lend counsel through some challenging decisions and helped us take actions that had a lasting positive impact on the company. I’m excited to have him in the trenches beside me as we charge forward to build on our recent performance with far more aggressive goals for the short and mid-term.”

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

MarTech platform Involve Asia expands to Vietnam

Singapore – Involve Asia, a MarTech platform for partnership marketing in Southeast Asia, has expanded to Vietnam, marking its growing footprint in the region. 

Involve Asia, which was founded in 2014, has worked closely with e-commerce, travel, and financial services companies to handle their digital marketing campaigns across Southeast Asia. Involve Asia, based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has a presence in six countries in Southeast Asia and is backed by venture capital firms Accord Ventures, OSK Ventures International, and GDP Venture, among others.

Marketing partners in Vietnam face lengthy payment processes while working for marketers, and this is what Involve Asia aims to solve. From 60 to 90 days. using Involve’s proprietary risk assessment algorithm, advertisers are able to identify and eliminate fraudulent actions, resulting in faster payment of legitimate results. Because of Involve’s express withdrawal capabilities, marketing partners may manage their cashflows and build up their operations in as little as 15 days.

Jimmy How, CEO and Founder of Involve Asia, said that Vietnam is an important market for Involve Asia as it is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia with a vibrant and technologically savvy population. 

‘With an e-commerce market in the country that is accelerating rapidly and high social media usage, it presents a ripe opportunity for us to help brands in the country reach their customers through our proprietary MarTech solution in a cost-efficient manner, and ultimately scale their business through partnerships with influencers, apps and affiliate sites,” How said.

How added, “We are looking to expand our footprint in the region by helping advertisers grow and manage their marketing partnerships more efficiently. One of the ways we plan to do this is to enable Advertisers to leverage our risk scoring system to ensure that their marketing partners get paid quicker, without having to hire additional operational staff as their marketing partnerships scale.”

Main Feature Technology APAC

Expert Up Close: Shahid Nizami, ActiveCampaign’s regional VP for APAC

In a close interview with MARKETECH APAC Founder Joven Barceñas, Shahid Nizami, the new regional vice president for Asia-Pacific of US-based SaaS unicorn ActiveCampaign, shares the career journey he’s had in the marketing tech space, and bares with us his professional stand on current issues in marketing as well as the biggest learnings he’s gained through his longevity in the industry. 

Nizami, who is a Google, Oracle, and Hubspot alum, boasts more than 17 years of experience in the marketing tech space. 

Of what makes him stay, he shares, “All [these] years, the love for marketing has only grown, especially having been at Google, and [seeing] how marketing can really change the world and [seeing] the impact of that.” 

He continues, “Over these years, the MarTech world has changed a lot. Every single year that graph only grows bigger and bigger. This means that there are more complex problems which need to be solved.”

During the conversation with Nizami, we also didn’t let the opportunity slip to ask his opinion on the recent OCBC catastrophe in Singapore – the phishing scam that had nearly 500 customers losing their money amounting to at least S$8.5m. This drove financial bodies in the country to order the removal of all clickable links in emails and SMSes sent to retail customers – an action that has now become an important matter of customer experience. 

“As a marketer, you might think at the first go that – what does it mean for us? But I believe, and I strongly believe that anything that improves the end customer experience is actually a good thing,” said Nizami. 

“And it’s about how do you convert this opportunity where customers are losing trust in their banks? It is a problem into an opportunity where now the banks are like, how can we earn their trust back?” he added. 

Listen to the full conversation between Barceñas and Nizami over at Spotify, where Nizami shares further on what has been his biggest challenge as a marketer in the past 2 decades and whether he, in the future, also plans to join others who have decided to establish their own companies.

If you are a marketing or tech leader who wants to share your industry journey and insights, email us at [email protected]

Marketing Featured South Asia

Wondrlab raises US$7m to bolster martech growth

Mumbai, India – Wondrlab, the platform-first marketing technology start-up in India, has announced that it has raised US$7m in a round of pre-series funding.

The startup will be utilizing its newly acquired funds towards driving inorganic growth, with a sharp focus on tech, digital, and programmatic advertising, as well as building world-class martech platforms. 

Saurabh Varma, Wondrlab’s founder and chief executive officer, shared that they want to thank the investors for their faith and belief in the agency, and they believe that their differentiated strategy of being platform-first is a great value proposition for the clients. 

“We will continue to invest in building deep capabilities across digital business transformation, content, data, and marketing tech platforms. The next six months will be key to building on our incredible momentum,” said Varma.

The round was led by venture fund firm Pi Ventures LLP, private investment company Tanas Capital, digital transformation partner Prodapt Holdings, and several independent investors including Priyamvada Balaji of Lucas Indian Service and Gopal Srinivasan of TVS Capital. 

Narayanan Venkitraman, the investment advisor of Narotam Sekhsaria Family Office (NSFO), commented “We are excited about the vision of the team led by Saurabh Varma to create India’s first network. Their strategy of being platform first differentiates them. It is refreshing to see a world-class team coming together on the back of a shared ambition.”

Amit Sharma, Tanas Capital’s managing director and head of corporate finance and investments, said that the proposition is truly unique, and they are excited about being a part of this journey. 

“Wondrlab’s focus on digital communication and DBT; always being platform-first and building world-class martech products will create incredible value for clients and eventually investors.”

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Martech Techsun launches in SEA, unveils new product for SMEs

Singapore – APAC Martech brand Techsun, which provides solutions for consumer marketing, consumer data, and marketing process automation has launched in Southeast Asia with a new headquarters in Singapore. In conjunction with the regional expansion, Techsun has also rolled out a new product built for SMEs.

The new product is an expansion of Techsun’s flagship product, Social Hub, a cloud-native customer understanding and engagement SaaS for omnichannel retailers and brands. It is an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Customer Data Platform (CDP) solution and enables brands to have a 360 degree understanding of their customers by managing and analyzing relevant customer data across multiple online to offline (O2O) touchpoints such as transactions in-store and in-app, official and authorized reseller websites, social media channels as well as payment platforms. 

Deepening brand loyalty is also part of Social Hub’s value proposition via its omnichannel personalized customer messaging, automated precision marketing, and management of promotion initiatives and loyalty programs such as membership points and discount coupons. 

The expansion to Southeast Asia marks the martech’s first regional office outside of China and is considered as a stepping stone to the greater APAC region.

Ivan Zhou, Techsun’s general manager for APAC, commented that they see great potential for Techsun in the SEA region due to its growing regional economy and a strong business community. 

“With Social Hub, we aim to be the solution of choice for both the global brands and the large SME market in the region. We want to utilize the experience we gained working with numerous global brands in China and the APAC region and help businesses in Singapore as well as the rest of Southeast Asia,” Zhou said. 

Zhou added that its SaaS promises better value with less than 20% of what big companies are charging and is confident that it will go a long way in “uplifting the retail landscape in Asia.”

He also remarked on democratizing tech for SMEs, “SMEs may not be as prolific as MNCs but they are important engines of growth in Southeast Asia. Technology is a key competitive advantage for brands, especially in the new retail era, and we want to democratize access to the same cutting-edge solutions that big brands have been using for SMEs so that they can equalize the playing field.”

SMEs can sign up for a free 30-day trial of Social Hub on Techsun’s website.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

SmartOSC, Antsomi partner to offer omnichannel retail solution

Singapore – E-commerce enabler SmartOSC and marketing tech Antsomi has announced a new partnership to offer an end-to-end omnichannel retail solution for both of their clients. As such, SmartOSC will become Antsomi’s global reseller as of 2021, mainly focusing on the growing APAC market. 

The end-to-end omnichannel retail solution is powered by Antsomi’s customer data platform, Antsomi CDP 365. The software unifies multiple data sources to create a 360-degree customer view and provide an omnichannel experience. 

SmartOSC is an e-commerce solution agency that specializes in scalable enterprise services. For the agency, the partnership is significant as it allows them to continue building data-driven e-commerce solutions and comprehensive digital transformation for their clients. 

Founder and CEO of SmartOSC, Thai Son Nguyen, said, “This new partnership with Antsomi will strengthen the offering of both companies and allow us to keep delivering cutting-edge omnichannel solutions to our clients.”

Meawhile, Serm Teck Choon, co-founder and CEO of Antsomi, commented, “We are thrilled to partner with SmartOSC, which is a reputable full-service e-commerce agency. We hope such partnership can empower our clients with omnichannel marketing solutions, particularly from data unification, data activation, and marketing automation standpoints.” 

Antsomi is a regional marketing technology company that launched CDP 365 in June 2020. Antsomi helps clients unify and activate their customer data via CDP 365 with custom solutions, when necessary, on top of clients’ existing martech stack. The new partnership allows Antsomi to access SmartOSC’s extensive client coverage, covering key markets in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia as well as in Vietnam, and Thailand. 

For their first regional client, the partnership has recently won ASUS Singapore. SmartOSC and Antsomi will be working together to deliver a data-driven omnichannel retail solution to the tech brand.

In June, Antsomi has officially announced its entry to Indonesia with Ilona Juwita appointed as country director.

Technology Featured ANZ

Cloud-based martech platform Brandvas officially launches in Australia

Melbourne, Australia – Brandvas, a cloud-based marketing technology platform, has announced its official launch in Australia, marking it as well with partnerships with market research firm Roy Morgan and the Australia Post.

The partnerships entails Brandvas utilizing Roy Morgan consumer data and Australia Post parcel insights data embedded in a brand strategy system to ensure strategies target the right markets.

The Brandvas tool kit allows agencies and marketers to increase capabilities, supercharge productivity and streamline projects, launching with seven modules: ‘Creative Brief’, ‘Media Brief’, ‘Script Template’, ‘Creative Competitive Overview’, ‘Competitor Mapping’, ‘Research Data’, including customer personas and their primary module ‘Brand Strategy’.

For Brandvas founder Jodie Catalfamo, who has worked in the advertising industry for more than 22 years, Brandvas not only assists with the process of developing brand strategy, but is backed with access to deep consumer data insights and a suite of tools to streamline the way agencies and marketers work.

“When I worked at BADJAR Oglivy, research played a huge role in understanding a brand’s competitive context with data-driven insights, strategy and creativity. Working with brands, research was not always utilized, which often led to projects being led by assumptions and educated guesses. The team and I built Brandvas to democratize brand planning for agencies and marketers no matter what their size to increase capability and productivity and provide a crucial competitive edge,” Catalfamo said.

She added, “It was really important for the team and I to have reputable data partners for Brandvas to give agencies the opportunity of accessing robust and insightful data. Providing our agency and marketing clients the ability to validate or dismiss any assumptions. The data not only provides category insights which can direct the brand strategy, it also assists in marketing and creative recommendation.”

The Brandvas platform is project-based and built to dovetail so once a brand strategy workshop has been completed, the creative and media briefs are already pre-populated, making the management of projects and creative teams simpler, more efficient and effective.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Brandvas to enable small creative and marketing businesses to develop strategies based on trusted and accurate research data. Given the challenging times we are all in, this will ensure that any decisions are based on the most up-to-date market intelligence,” said John Ellenberger, head of partnerships at Roy Morgan.

Meanwhile, Ben Franzi, general manager for e-commerce platforms and marketplaces at Australia Post, commented, “The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a seismic shift in consumer behavior, and it is more important than ever that businesses of all sizes are able to easily access up-to-date industry data. We look forward to continuing to work with the Brandvas team to expand the range of Australia Post insights available through their platform in the months ahead.”

Catalfamo adds that although they provide the methodology and smart tools along the way, Brandvas is white-labeled and completely customizable, so if an agency has proprietary questions, tools or processes they can easily include these and make it their own. 

“While we know even the smartest software can never replace creative genius, Brandvas amplifies talent and makes the best planners, facilitators and strategists elevate whilst streamlining the leg work,” she concluded.

Main Feature Technology Southeast Asia

Why MarTech is still a black box in 2021

In today’s digital era, most businesses already have some form of marketing technology – also known as MarTech – in place. It is within this frame that MarTech is seen to be a key component for recovery, with over 60% of leaders planning to increase spends on technology in 2021, according to Gartner.

However, even with all its potential, MarTech still presents a myriad of challenges for businesses. While leaders understand that integrating a MarTech stack generates immense value-add for their operations, they do not necessarily understand what is required after the very first stage of implementation. 

Accelerated Demands in Southeast Asia

As the world continues to become more digital, MarTech is likely to continue thriving. According to Gartner Inc’s CMO Spend Survey, 26% of the total 2021 marketing budget will be dedicated to tech, making it a top priority for most Chief Marketing Officers.

In Southeast Asia alone, there is strong demand for MarTech solutions in the past few years. Some businesses have already successfully implemented five to 10 different systems on average, but tend to neglect them halfway. Therein lies the problem; while brands have managed to convince business leaders to invest in the technology, they may not necessarily have the time or resources to ensure they are utilizing the solutions to the fullest extent.

What’s the Hold Up?

These brands are sitting on a lot of value. While the global COVID-19 pandemic has definitely been a driver for brands to understand how to best utilize these solutions to their full potential, one key challenge is linking MarTech back to the business’ broader strategy. Many leaders miss a critical next step of building a capable team, which is an investment that is actually harder to justify.

In addition, while demand is growing for tech-savvy marketers in Southeast Asia, we are still seeing a shortage of talent today. Nearly 70% of tech hiring managers in the region say it takes more than three months to fill an open tech position on their team, according to a survey by Robert Walters. Moreover, LinkedIn finds that the top three fastest growing job categories in Southeast Asia for 2021 are digital content, data analyst, and software technology.

Tapping on MarTech’s Full Potential

There is a natural instinct for leaders to get caught up on the “next big thing.” They tend to focus more on getting the tech up and running but lose focus on the entire lifecycle after the initial launch. The challenges mentioned above can be addressed by first identifying specific pain points to tackle with and understanding which aspects of the business need solving. After all, a solution is only useful if it can be integrated with existing infrastructure and translated to business outcomes.

Here are a few ways to unleash MarTech’s full potential:

  1. Expand the team. Most businesses have very lean teams; more often than not there is only one person responsible for running the entire MarTech stack. Leaders should focus on investing in and building a core team to ensure continuity in the long run.
  2. Build specific return on investments around MarTech. Clear ROIs will help the leadership team to better assess the investment and become open to new opportunities that lie ahead. Getting organizational buy-in also helps create a stronger digital mindset among employees across different departments beyond the core MarTech team.
  3. Update and integrate systems as early as possible. With thousands of MarTech solutions to choose from, and new products and features emerging daily, redundancy within a business’ MarTech stack is inevitable. However, marketers need to take a strategic approach to avoid siloed operations. According to Gartner, only 33% feel their existing tech is useful, while over 80% are sitting on a short-sighted or outdated MarTech roadmap. Thus, examining current MarTech stack and employing efforts to either maximise, improve, or even re-evaluate their current stack are critical. This is also a signal that it is high time for many MarTech stacks and roadmaps to go through a level of audit to accommodate innovation, emphasis on business differentiation, or even just simple updating for records.
  4. Explore MarTech-as-a-Service and its benefits. MarTech-as-a-Service provides an opportunity for businesses to analyze operations holistically across the sales and marketing funnel. This also helps businesses choose the right solutions that match the business’ maturity level and to optimize current stacks.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach because all businesses are different. From objectives, company size to business priorities, MarTech can help solve challenges across departments and teams where relevant. 

With a dynamic set of MarTech solutions to choose from, it will be key for businesses to adopt a strategic approach — aligning the right tools to their processes and ensuring best-in-class technology in all data-driven decisions. As we forge ahead into the next half of 2021, it is worth considering the dynamic trends that are shaping the current and future environment of MarTech to stay ahead of the curve.

This article was written by Christopher Wiseman, head of marketing technology at ADA.
Technology Featured ANZ

AU-based martech IntelligenceBank secures US$37m growth investment

Sydney, Australia – IntelligenceBank, an Australian-based marketing technology company, has secured a US$37 growth investment, which will help fuel the continued growth of IntelligenceBank, fortify its market leadership position, and support global expansion plans.

Made possible by global growth equity firm Five Elms Capital, said funding will also accelerate IntelligenceBank’s innovative product roadmap which includes initiatives such as next-gen AI, flexible integrations and powerful content governance and compliance features.

The $37 million (USD) investment comes as brands and enterprises have realized that outdated technologies, disjointed data sources, and manual processes make it challenging to efficiently manage essential marketing workflows and ensure compliance across the organization. 

IntelligenceBank digitally transforms manual processes and poorly stacked systems with a purpose-built platform to improve marketing efficiency, increase speed to market, and minimize marketing compliance risks. 

Speaking about the investment, Tessa Court, CEO and founder at IntelligenceBank, stated that the funding will help the company to scale its platform and further support its rapidly expanding global customer base.

“We are looking forward to working with the Five Elms team to accelerate our growth during a time when marketing departments are undergoing massive digital transformations. There is a growing need for IntelligenceBank’s marketing system of record to better manage content, deliver go to market efficiencies, and streamline approvals as well as brand and regulatory compliance. The new funding will help us move faster and leverage global market opportunities that will serve our customers’ needs,” Court stated.

Meanwhile, Joe Onofrio, Managing Director at Five Elms, commented: “We have gotten to know Tessa and her team over the last four years, and during that time they have efficiently executed on their plan to build a world-class organization helping clients access, manage, deploy, and control their digital assets at scale. IntelligenceBank has an evangelical customer base across numerous industries and continents. 

He added, “The company’s platform is leading the way as organizations manage digital transitions and increases in remote workforces. We could not be more excited to support IntelligenceBank in their quest to deliver innovative solutions that enable marketing organizations to be more collaborative, efficient, and strategic.”