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MARKETECH APAC’s Top Five Stories For October

For this month of October, two of our top stories emanate from the gaming industry: a recently launched eSports platform by an all-Filipino team of developers and a recently announced team expansion in APAC of a streaming service for gamers. 

Marketing strategies were also in this month’s spotlight. With influencers continuing to share space with big-time brand endorsers in consumers’ attention, a forecast on influencer marketing trends is one of the stories that led readership. While another one – a marketing agency’s intricate review of Malaysian cinema brands’ engagement on Facebook also hooked readers the most. 

Marketing leaders also continue to inspire. The #MARKETECHMondays episode of ShopBack Philippines’ Country Head Prashant Kala, which was filled with meaningful advice on leadership and success also made it to the list.

Based on Google Analytics from September 16 to October 15, here are the top stories for the month.

Top 5: ShopBack Philippines’ Prashant Kala on #MARKETECHMondays

Every Monday, we take out an inspiring marketing leader and talk to them about the journey they’ve had prior to their current position. This month, our episode with ShopBack Philippines’ Prashan Kala got your interest the most. 

Kala is currently the country head of the said discounts and rewards platform, beginning in 2018, and before that, he was the vice president for sales of restaurant aggregator Zomato for three years in the Philippines. In the #MARKETECHMondays episode, he recollected his leadership experience and shared some very insightful advice on team management.

“You should not be a captain, you should be a coach. Don’t direct. A captain will tell what to do, but a coach will tell how to do it, and even if something goes wrong, a coach will fix it.”

Top 4: Influencer marketing trends in 2020 and beyond by INCA

In an article by influencer marketing solutions INCA, its APAC Client Development Executive Madeleine Mak shared the top ten trends that brands and marketers alike must be on the lookout for in 2020 and beyond. 

One particular trend that was forecasted is the showcase of audio-based content among influencers. It’s normal to see micro- and nano-influencers now serving the most appealing visuals, and making their way to engaging videos; but INCA says audio content, especially podcasts, might just be the next big thing. 

Further, Mak said, the potential popularity of such format comes from audio’s ability to hold listeners’ attention for extended periods, thus, allowing native ads to be easily integrated.

In an additional comment, Mak dove deeper into what might be in store for marketers: “We are seeing brands and audio platforms partnering with relevant influencers to voice audio ads and create branded podcasts. For instance, Spotify signed exclusive podcast deals with leading social media influencers like Addison Rae and Joe Rogan. The media giant also introduced the Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI) format that provides data on impressions, ad reach, and anonymized listener demographics to marketers. With data, brands can create targeted audio content that resonates with the growing number of young podcast audiences.”

Top 3: The three biggest Malaysian cinema brands on the Facebook engagement race

In a recent marketing insight endeavor, Malaysian digital marketing agency Webqlo found a convergence between two entities: Facebook and cinema brands.

With the help of its social media analytics platform Adqlo, the agency unearthed how the three biggest big-screen firms in Malaysia – Golden Screen Cinemas (GSC), TGV Cinemas, and MBO Cinemas – fare in Facebook engagement stats.

With people still carrying fears of visiting cinemas amid the virus, we reached out to Webqlo’s Head of Digital Cherrie Koay to tell us what can these firms do to their social media strategies to encourage footfall.

She spoke of 3 C’s: Community, Cleanliness, and Creativity.

“Community refers to the people who follow your brand, and also your customers. Get to know these people, talk to them, try to build a meaningful relationship with them rather than trying to sell them products, or push them promotions,” she said.

With cleanliness on the other hand, “Cleanliness is the most priority. We need to show people the efforts, and the measures to keep each other safe.”

Cherrie emphasizes that creativity, being the most “fun” part, is brands’ window to try new things and stretch their creative muscles.

“So go out there, try other things that work nowadays. Most of us are online, and with a lot of people now working from home, and staying indoors, social media has been the number one source for updates, news, and entertainment. So that’s actually a lot of things [you] can try and explore. So try to see the latest things that are trending, what your audience likes, and what they [don’t].”

Top 2: eSports platform Kalaro by Filipino-led The-Asiagroup.com Inc.

Almost making it as the topmost read story is the launch of eSports platform Kalaro, which had its roll-out in October in the Philippines, by an all Filipino team from software development firm The-Asiagroup.com Inc.

Kalaro, which means playmate in the country’s language, is an end-to-end platform that runs tournament management, one-on-one challenges, and team competitions as well as coaching, piloting, and buy-ins.

Such a well-placed time for the company’s launch with eSports becoming all the rage, but with other gaming platforms in the market, what does make Kalaro different from the others?

CEO Basilio “Jun” Lasco sheds light, “The main problem of this industry is that the applications or software, or technology available are usually quite old, and they’re not integrated, and they are mainly designed for the Western market. So that is where Kalaro will come in.”

“Kalaro is designed specifically for the Asian market. At the heart of it is a tournament management platform, wherein a team or even individuals can organize a friendly match or a nationwide tournament.”

Top 1: Amazon’s streaming service Twitch further expands APAC team

And for our top story comes news from Amazon’s streaming service Twitch. Between the period of August to October, Twitch has announced a number of key appointments, roping in industry veterans to lead its team in APAC. In August, it just named a new marketing chief, and then just very recently – two valuable leads: Sunil Yadav as Agency Development Lead, and Mandar Kambli as Programmatic Enablement Lead, both of which previously an international head at Dentsu. 

With Yadav and Kambli in the middle of settling in their roles, we wanted to know what are some of their priorities as they head on to manage twitch’s agency partnership and programmatic arrangement. 

Yadav shared that first and foremost, he wants to let brands and agencies know more about Twitch’s platform.

“Twitch has recently started building teams in the APAC region. Twitch is quite different from any other streaming or video service, delivering highly engaged connections with consumers for brands,” he said.

“Not many agencies and brands are familiar with all its possibilities at the moment. In this role, I will focus a lot more on driving education about it, as well as work towards building joint initiatives with all our key Agency partners.” 

For Twitch’s programmatic activity on other hand, Mandar said that amid the huge potential and increasing demand of programmatic in APAC, his objective is to ensure that Twitch integrates well with clients to deliver best in class results and build long term partnerships.

“Twitch is interactive, live, engaging and that’s what makes it so unique. Traditionally programmatic has been looked at as a performance channel, but that needs to be challenged. It’s the most efficient, data-driven way of buying media across the consumer funnel, including branding and awareness.”

“At Twitch we not only provide an immersive experience for brands to engage with users but also focus heavily on user experience. This elevates the brand value to a completely new level as users are a lot more receptive and engaged.”

Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.

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Main Feature Marketing APAC

#MARKETECHMondays: Prashant Kala, Country Manager, ShopBack Philippines

Before joining rewards and discounts platform ShopBack in the Philippines, Prashant was with the Philippine arm of India-grown restaurant aggregator Zomato for five years. 

What made him do the big shift? In Prashant’s words, he said he wanted to do something “different than what he was used to working on.” Having always been on the B2B side of things, he was looking for a project that will make him work on both B2B and B2C and stumbling upon Shopback, the opportunity on the platform gave him the challenge of not just building its partners but growing its users as well. 

Now the country manager of ShopBack, we sat down with Prashant to know more about his humble beginnings and the journey he took before becoming the head of one of the leading shopping platforms in the region.

First foray into marketing

Fresh out of a master’s degree, Prashant didn’t veer away too far from roots, and in fact, had his very first job right in the university he graduated in, as an assistant manager for sales and marketing in the Institute for Integrated Learning in Management (IILM) – Institute for Higher Education in Delhi, India.

Working with students as a target segment, he shared that the type of marketing the role had him doing was not in the likes of big advertising projects, but rather, more personalized.

“I was handling marketing for the college across North India and a couple of international markets. The whole focus was to attract a huge student pool to apply for our courses and finally assisting them with their admissions and courses,” he said in the #MARKETECHMondays interview.

“It was more about talking to people, [more about] community building; It was a lot about knowing exactly what people are looking at, [and more] of career development.”

On Mentorship: “Everybody has taught me something.”

When asked about his role models, Prashant struggled to name one particular person and said that he’s the type who seeks inspiration from every person he meets.

“Professionally, I have had a chance to work with some amazing people over the years and I would say everyone that I meet has been able to make me learn something new. I don’t really have one mentor for all aspects of my professional development but I seek advice and guidance from multiple role models in my life.”

That is at least, professionally. But when it comes to his personal values, he didn’t have to think hard and said he owed his good ethics to his parents and uncles.

“In terms of personal growth, I think my parents and my uncles have always been the biggest source of inspiration in my life. I have learned the value of hard work and most importantly, I have learned the value of how to be true to people who expect your feedback and suggestions in life no matter how harsh the truth is from my father and my uncles.”

“I’m still waiting for the greatest career success.”

It would be naive to say that with Prashant’s experience, he still hasn’t claimed success, but for him, there is still a greatness ahead that’s yet to be tapped.

“I really hope I find it later in life and not very soon as I really want to keep getting that rush of trying to get smaller successes, and I want to keep dreaming of [greater success]. I think that thought drives me every morning so I wouldn’t want to achieve it that fast.”

Of course with successes also come the failures. And still within the context of “great,” he believes there is no such thing.

“I won’t call any failure a great failure [as] every failure comes in with disappointments, and I don’t think we can categorize something [as great].”

“Instead of failures, I would say I had many challenges where I was unable to find a solution quicker which would have been ideal.”

Making that more specific, he said that the most critical setbacks were when good people leave your team.

“I have lost a few teammates in the past and that always sets your plan a few feet back but I think every situation teaches you something new, but one takeaway that one such setback gave me was to have a plan B but not to rely on it and give plan A 100%.”

He added, “Also plan B cannot be a totally different plan from A and they both have to be interconnected, else you are going to start from scratch which will push you to take a lot of reverse steps.”

Prashant’s words to live by: “Be a best friend to yourself.”

For Prashant, the secret to success need not be too far away from oneself, and the key is to be your own best friend, an honest and frank one at that.

“Keep it real, no matter how difficult it is, and be your best friend so you can talk real with yourself.”

“Best friends don’t shy away from telling you harsh truths. As a team lead, I try to be as real as possible with my teammates, clients and even [the] people around me. I don’t shy away in giving or taking feedback and I try to keep it timely, as well as even [to] myself.”

How about for those who are eyeing to enter the world of marketing?

Prashant said, “Read a lot, follow great brands and their campaigns, [and] take risks but always calculate what you want to achieve out of it. Always have the eye on the goal and do backward mapping, or back designing to achieve it.”

Watch the full video of this interview on our YouTube channel, going live today at 5:30 pm PST.

If you’re a marketing leader and you want to share your career experience to inspire the marketing industry, please reach out, we want to hear your story.