Main Feature Marketing APAC

What’s NEXT: How brands can connect with Asia’s next generation of culture shapers

As countries across the Asia Pacific learn to live with Covid, Asia’s youth are reemerging from two years of restrictions and lockdowns with significantly altered perspectives that are set to redefine culture in the post-pandemic world.

Today’s youth are not sitting around doing nothing, waiting for the pandemic to pass. Instead, they are rewriting the rules and with it, the next chapter of culture. What is clear is that we are not going back to normal and for brands and marketers, this means a major rethink on how to best connect with this cohort.

Across Asia Pacific, Gen Z and millennials are reevaluating their relationships, careers and mental health as a result of the Covid crisis. They are making significant changes to how they live, socialise, and consume, reshaping a world that will be living with the virus for a long time to come. 

According to the study by VICE Media Group, ‘The Next Chapter – Re-Emergence’, which was conducted among 1,740 Gen Z and Millenials from the different markets in Asia Pacific, seven in ten say the pandemic has changed their perspective on what’s important in their lives, with more than nine in ten making lifestyle changes they plan on maintaining.

Meanwhile, almost sixty per cent say the way they work will be the most lasting societal change, with half reporting that looking after their health has transformed forever. These are fundamental shifts with significant implications on how brands should be marketing to them.

Media – from consumption to contribution 

One area of particular concern for young people in APAC is their relationships with the media. Both online and across social media, attitudes have changed markedly over the course of the last two years.

While the pandemic has dominated coverage across traditional media channels, other issues such as those around social justice, climate change, and misinformation that have been running alongside it, overwhelming young people and making them aware of their overconsumption of online content. One in three say the media and news have caused them the most fear and anxiety during the pandemic, with just four per cent trusting the media more since COVID-19 started. 

As one millennial respondent in Indonesia from the said study commented, “I change the way I view media. I used to believe what the media said. But now, I realised media is such a fear-mongering outlet and that’s how they make money, causing panic in public. I really hate the media now and I don’t want to listen/read/watch news ever again.’’

As an escape, they have sought solace in entertainment. According to the study, six in ten have sought out more entertainment content since the start of Covid-19 and 65 per cent say entertainment helps them take their mind off everything else.

In Southeast Asia, 41 per cent have subscribed to a new streaming service and 36 per cent have downloaded a new social media app, with 30 per cent attending a virtual content or event, demonstrating the continued growth and pivoting to alternative communication and entertainment channels. 

Reimagining brand content beyond passive consumption

Young people no longer want to mindlessly consume media. They are seeking content that provides truth, allows for respite and builds resilience. Almost seven in ten want content that provides information based on facts and uncover stories that others aren’t telling them. About 68 per cent want content that makes them laugh and helps them escape, while just almost two-thirds want content and information that inspires self-growth, gives them hope and will enable them to make a positive impact on the world.

Brands need to reimagine content that allows the region’s youth to go beyond simple consumption. There is a clear desire for content and information that is both based on truth and can enable them to make informed decisions to help create a world that reflects their hopes and aspirations. The successful brands will create safe experiences and spaces for young people to connect with them in a meaningful way, providing a sense of belonging and connection. 

As they re-emerge from the pandemic, the region’s youth have changed and their intentions are plain and are here to stay. We have known for some time now that brands are no longer just competing for attention with other brands. They need to look for a visible and valued role that is based inside culture, rather than looking at ways to interrupt it. The after-effects of the pandemic on Asia’s culture shapers is only set to accelerate this further.

This article is written by Lesley John, managing director at Virtue for APAC.

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.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

What’s NEXT: Top tips for CRO this 2022

It’s not just e-commerce businesses that can leverage the power of conversion rate optimisation (CRO). Higher conversions mean more sales, so why wouldn’t you want to invest in optimising your conversion rates? Whether you’re an online retailer, a startup with a valuable B2B product, or an entrepreneur selling your expertise, CRO could be the key to a bigger profit margin in 2022. Here’s how.

What is CRO?

Conversion rate optimisation is all about boosting the number of people who visit your site and end up making a purchase (i.e. a ‘conversion’). That could mean they buy a physical item, sign up for a course you are offering, or anything relative to your business type – essentially, whatever you are ‘selling’ you want them to ‘buy’.

Improving your conversion rates can be done through a range of strategies, and Google Optimize is a great place to start. It’s easy to integrate on a website and will be useful as long as you have enough traffic visiting your site.

We often find brands are great at testing creative or various media tactics but fail to consider how to improve their website experience. Implementing a tool such as Google Optimize – there’s a range of others that can be used as well – allows brands to A/B test to identify ways to improve conversion rates, and ultimately drive a more profitable outcome.

Here are three tips for greater conversions:

1. Test, test, test!

Testing is the beating heart of CRO – namely, A/B testing (or split testing). This provides businesses with an opportunity to test out two or more scenarios to see which are more successful at converting website visitors. For example, if you create bespoke beauty products for a high-end brand, you may find you have more success when using high-quality imagery compared to big, bold ‘50% discount’ images, which may be more appropriate for lower-cost brands.

Whatever you decide, it is recommended you always work within a detailed framework that is specific to your business and product offering.

One great way to do CRO effectively is to build out a testing framework. You can plan ahead of time for certain things to test on-site, such as button colours (i.e. blue vs red), or changing the copy on the homepage to speak to ‘Product Feature and Benefit 1’ vs ‘Product Feature and Benefit 2’. You can then analyse the performance and incorporate the best performing button, copy, image etc. (whatever it may be) on the site whilst you continue to test and improve performance on an ongoing basis. 

2. Promote sales and offers in real-time

One of the most effective ways to convert a potential customer into a buyer is to get them excited about your products. This can be achieved by incentivising purchases through real-time awareness of promos and sales.

Though much-maligned in the early days of the internet, pop-ups on your owned site are now a critical tool for converting customers and expanding your email sign-ups. For example, you can include a pop-up for first-time shoppers that gives them a 10% off code if they enter their email. This can ‘instigate’ further exploration of your product range and incentivise them to make a purchase in a timely manner – especially if the 10% off code is only valid for a short period.

You may also consider publishing real-time sales as they occur. Whenever someone makes a purchase, a small notification will pop up on the screens of everyone else who is visiting your website. This shows your products are popular and can increase the urgency of a sale.

3. Convince potential buyers through testimonials

Especially if a potential customer hasn’t purchased anything from you before, there’s nothing more convincing about your legitimacy than a testimonial. In fact, a whopping 88% of online customers trust reviews just as much as a recommendation from family and friends.

So make sure you gather as many positive testimonials from previous buyers as possible, and then set them front-and-centre when visitors are viewing your products. It creates instant credibility in your brand and may even turn a tentative lead into a conversion.

A continuous strategy

Like most optimisation strategies, CRO isn’t a set-and-forget solution. Instead, it’s important to regularly reflect on your strategy and use analytics to find out whether it’s still working a month, six months or a year later.

Ongoing testing is a great way to continuously drive strong performance on the website whilst learning more about a brand’s audience. It’s not limited to e-commerce businesses and should be a consideration for a range of brands in various categories.

This article is written by Charlotte Ward, director of Agnes Media.

Agnes Media is a measurement-first marketing agency that drives profitable business outcomes through effective and data-based marketing efforts️.

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.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

MARKETECH APAC prepares marketing industry for 2022 with What’s NEXT series

Over the past two years, the pandemic has transformed the consumer, the brand, and the advertiser. The absence of physical interactions created a ripple of massive changes that have either brought sectors down to their knees, or proved to be a boon for others.

If anything, the upcoming year is presenting a better promise for business as social restrictions further ease down and travel reopens. But despite this remains the challenge of unearthing and uncovering who the consumer will be – What will please him and what will fall off his radar? 

MARKETECH APAC, the digital media who itself was born in the mid of the pandemic, aims to take the intimidation off the new year and instead help marketers focus on the potentials for innovation through the thought leadership series, ‘What’s NEXT’.

What’s NEXT is a collection of expert insights by marketing leaders which aims to present predictions and insights on forecasted trends in 2022 and help future-proof brands’ strategies coming into the new year.

“As a watchdog and a dedicated content hub for the industry, we know how fluid trends in this part of the world could be. Metaphorically speaking, we want to hold marketers’ hands and be with them as we step into a new chapter in this global situation, and see how the pandemic – now endemic – will change the way brands and consumers interact with each other,” said Shaina Teope, regional editor of MARKETECH APAC.

The series which ran from December 2021 to February 2022 gathered marketing leaders coming from different domains to present ideas on how to stay ahead of the marketing game this 2022. 

Check out the full line-up of insights by marketing leaders under the series:

What’s NEXT: The top personalization strategy for the increasingly nuanced consumer

  • In the recent webinar by MARKETECH APAC on the future of digital marketing in the Philippines, AirAsia PH’s Head of Marketing Allenie Caccam; Anvey Factora, the head of marketing communications, e-commerce, and retail at Canon Philippines; and Mark De Joya, chief operating officer of Max’s Restaurant – all agreed on one personalization strategy that would remain constant in relevance no matter what the changes the new year will bring to the market and the consumer.

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

  • It’s now no question that any platform or tech that help push brands’ digitization further is worth being the centerpiece of brands’ marketing strategies. Don Lee, the managing director of CMS provider Magnolia for APAC dug a little deeper on how DXP, specifically a composable DXP, can best help brands not just adapt to the changes in the consumer today, but how such type of platform can 

What’s NEXT: Moving beyond static ads by leveraging programmatic creative management platforms

  • Travis Teo, executive director of adtech adzymic, shared the different possible hindrances that are keeping brands from providing optimum digital creatives – and deep dived on the root cause of all of them.

What’s NEXT: Predictions for customer experience in 2022

  • In this read, Shellie Vornhagen the CXO at CX platform Emplifi, enumerates the ways CX is going to transform itself as newer trends firm up in the market in 2022, such as social commerce, conversational chatbots, and most especially, metaverse. 

What’s NEXT: How can platform businesses supercharge their loyalty programs in 2022

  • In the pilot article under the series, we roped in Loyalty & Growth Leader Henry Christian to talk about how on-demand businesses, which has surged in need among consumers during the pandemic, can leverage their present demand to deliver highly-retaining and -converting loyalty programs.

What’s NEXT: Guide to help you master the art of content marketing in 2022

  • Who better to share insights on forming the best content marketing strategy coming into 2022 than a marketing leader from leading Asian news publication South China Morning Post. Its Regional Sales Director for APAC Darryl Choo shared how brands can refresh their content marketing strategies, imparting helpful insights on how to successfully work from internal process to delivery.

What’s NEXT: How mobile is redefining shopping experiences

  • We have become mobile-first even before the pandemic struck, but with stronger demand for fast and on-demand shopping experiences by the consumer, the mobile platform is now opening up more greenfield opportunities for brands to explore and innovate. Check out the thought leadership piece by Karam Malhotra, global VP at SHAREit Group

What’s NEXT: What the future looks for marketers beyond the cookie

  • When Google earlier announced that it will be phasing out cookies by 2022, the advertising community was brought to a standstill, suddenly overcome by the urgency to re-calibrate ad targeting strategies Then the community had some kind of dejavu when this was further delayed to 2023, providing a breather but at the same time asking of brands and advertisers to do better in their preparations. Let this insight on cookies by Cheetah Digital’s Billy Loizou, further add to your cognizance on dealing with a cookieless digital environment as there is no such thing as overpreparation.

What’s NEXT: Why brands must focus more on customer retention than acquisition this 2022

  • David Harling, the managing director of MoneySmart, touches base on the state of growth marketing now that we are about to navigate a digital world without cookies. His top piece of advice – brands may want to lessen dependence on acquisition as this will start to cost more in the efforts to scale.

What’s NEXT: How businesses and brands can thrive in metaverse

  • Metaverse is now taking the digital world by storm, and marketers are at a great position to leverage this platform to turbocharge brand engagement – but how does one start? Cheelip Ong, Lion & Lion’s regional chief creative officer, shared how metaverse can be the implementation ground for other emerging trends in marketing such as NFTs and gamification

What’s NEXT: Unpacking opportunities in digital finance for 2022

  • Of course with the surge in digital activity this pandemic tags along the supercharged growth of digital finance. Superapps in SEA is leading the way with financial services, becoming the anchor by which consumers can have a brand as top-of-mind across all services. UM APAC’s Elizabeth Shie and Abygayle Brani share the ways fintech marketers can leverage its growth this 2022.

What’s NEXT: Why brands must adopt a multi-platform strategy for social advertising

  • According to Stewart Hunter, the director of for customer success in APAC, each social media platform has grown to serve a different role in the funnel, posing a challenge to the brand message and format in various platforms. Hunter shares why brands must start adopting a multi-platform strategy for their social advertising and where to begin in their efforts.

What’s NEXT: Top tips for CRO this 2022

  • Whether you’re an online retailer, a startup with a valuable B2B product, or an entrepreneur selling your expertise, CRO could be the key to a bigger profit margin in 2022. Charlotte Ward, the director of Agnes media, shares her top three pieces of advice in achieving greater conversions.

What’s NEXT: Shoppable Content: The convergence of content and commerce

  • In narrowing the gap between commerce and consumer, big brands are moving from a publisher model into an e-commerce one. Sven Lung, CEO of Green Park Content, takes a look at some of the best case studies of previously launched shoppable content initiatives and shares how brands can successfully deliver said efforts on their own.

What’s NEXT: What to expect in influencer marketing in 2022

  • What’s the next phase of influencer marketing? We’ve seen the power of influencers in brands’ marketing in the past period, and now, we need to prepare for what’s to come next in this area. Ace Gapuz, CEO of Blogapalooza, shares what she believes the 5 forces that will drive influencer marketing forward – including the phenomenon that will start streating content creators as individual media companies.

What’s NEXT: How brands can connect with Asia’s next generation of culture shapers

  • How has the pandemic changed the youth? In this insight, Lesley John, the MD of Virtue for APAC, shares the consumption and lifestyle changes that have occured among Gen Zs and Millennials in the past two years, and shares how brands can get under the skin of this cohort moving forward in the pandemic.

What’s NEXT: How BNPL can be a merchant enabler for retailers in Asia

  • BNPL services have increased in adoption in the past year with the pandemic seeing a surge of consumers jumping into digital consumption. Moving forward in 2022, Jeremy Wong, head of strategic partnerships at Atome, shares the ways BNPL is expected to evolve, and what retailers can do to leverage its power in enabling sales among merchants.

What’s NEXT: 2022 will see the evolution of corporate purpose

  • As consumers become more conscious about their impact to society, they have grown to demand more accountability from the brands they consume. Mel Panabi, business director of Red Havas Philippines, shares on what has become of this new resolve and how brands must act in accordance to this new value-laden consumer behavior.

What’s NEXT: Welcome the age of reimagination

  • Virtual events are here to stay, and it’s time we step up these online interactions beyond standard online meetings and gatherings into something more powerful. According to Cathy Song Novelli, SVP for marketing and communications at Hubilo, it’s about creating a supportive ecosystem to enable innovation among event marketers.

What’s NEXT: How the ride-hailing industry shifted gears to meet market demand

  • Ride-hailing services is no longer a luxury and the pandemic has further pushed for its value with the recurring limitations on social interaction. Ryde’s CEO Terence Zou and PR Lead Katrina Adrianne takes a look at this transformation over the past two years and shares what we can expect from the industry as we move forward in 2022.

What’s NEXT: The state of dine-in, food aggregators moving forward in 2022

  • When food aggregators cushioned the downward growth of dine-in during Covid, it has gradually stepped up from being an afterthought to becoming F&B players’ top business model. KFC Malaysia’s CMO May Ling Chan reviews the current opportunities and challenges as brands further strengthen their strategies on food aggregators.

What’s NEXT: The future of CTV measurement and transparency

  • Connected TV (CTV) and over-the-top (OTT) has overtaken the linear TV experience over the past two years. Laura Quigley, SVP for APAC at IAS, talks about what has been these changes in media consumption and the opportunities that lie for advertisers and publishers in programmatic technology.

If you are a marketing leader and would like to share your insights and predictions under the series, email us at [email protected]

Marketing Featured APAC

What’s NEXT: Predictions for customer experience in 2022

Retail has been challenged on every front over the last year and a half, and as a result, there have been significant changes to customer experience (CX); from livestream shopping and social commerce to supply chain disruptions. All of which has pivoted towards digital transformation. 

While customers have adapted to new digital models, it’s important to note that offline shopping isn’t going anywhere. The future of retail will embrace both online and offline shopping, creating a hybrid experience that will provide the customer with even more value. According to Statista, more than 57% of Asia Pacific (APAC) consumers will shop in physical stores post-COVID restrictions. Foot traffic will still be just as desirable as it is now but overall CX will take center stage.

Meet the metaverse

In late 2021, Facebook changed its name to Meta to reflect its growing focus on the metaverse. But what exactly is the metaverse? It is a shared, persistent, 3D virtual space where people can meet and interact. Augmented Reality (AR) and VR technologies are essential parts of the metaverse. These advances in digital imaging, display, and output devices are what make the metaverse possible. Bloomberg Intelligence forecasts that the market size for the metaverse could reach up to $800b by 2024. How will it impact retail in the next year?

Online shopping and deliveries quickly became the new standard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, a trend that will be accelerated by the metaverse. With AR and VR experiences, consumers will be able to explore brands and products from the comfort of their own homes. Consumers will no longer need to frequent physical stores to try new products before purchasing.

The metaverse will also enable more interactive-in store experiences. For instance, in Malaysia and Singapore, property developer CapitaLand Investment launched ‘A Jolly Molly Christmas’ festive campaign in its malls, introducing shoppers to the AR world allowing them to interact with Singapore’s virtual influencer, Rae, in the physical world. Real-world stores are now becoming the gateway to the metaverse and will be the next evolution of omnichannel experience.

Surge in social commerce

In 2022, social commerce will continue to bring fun back into the digital shopping experience. Social commerce sales in the region are expected to surpass US$4t by 2024, expanding 25% year-on-year. 

According to the Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics Benchmark Survey, 2021, 85% of APAC consumers are using social media to discover, 83% to research, and ultimately, 76% are buying products. The number is projected to grow as features such as livestream shopping draw more engagement than other types of posts.

B2C social commerce investments are paying off: B2C companies in APAC have generated 10% of revenue from social media as cited in Forrester Global Marketing Survey, 2021 (B2C). Not only that, 55% of marketers increased their social media marketing budget in 2021.

Moving forward, brands investing in social commerce must provide more personalized customer interactions and care, such as virtual agents who can instantly answer questions, share the latest offers, or recommend additional products with the consumer. We’ll see more brands providing a connection throughout the customer social journey. They will begin employing one-to-one video shopping, implementing conversational commerce, and launching virtual video boutiques. Above all, brands must provide excellent care on social channels, using the right technology combined with the human touch.

Conversational chatbots

Advanced conversational technology will be key to providing such experiences at scale. Chatbots will play a key role in the next year, as more and more brands deploy advanced chatbots in their social shops that can handle sophisticated queries — and escalate to human agents when needed.

Most brands are employing bots that can provide routine answers to basic questions. While they don’t respond to more complex customer queries, this will change as more companies add AI-powered bots with advanced contextual and consultative abilities. In the next 12 to 24 months, Forrester reports that the vast majority of B2C brands plan to implement or are interested in developing advanced social bots that can provide a higher level of assistance.

Such advances in automation will enable more effective and satisfying care throughout the customer journey — before, during, and after the purchase. In many cases, social bots will respond to queries that used to require a human agent. More and more, shoppers on social channels will be able to access personalized answers, recommendations, and resolutions to their problems, whenever they need help.

Looking forward

Over the next year, brands will take what they learned during the pandemic and leverage technology-driven solutions that help build deeper connections and relationships with their customers. By creating immersive, personalized, and hybrid experiences, and always keeping CX at the heart of everything, retailers can excel in 2022.

Shellie Vornhagen

This article is written by Shellie Vornhagen, CXO at CX platform Emplifi.

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.