Archive for February, 2012

South Korea’s Digital Marketing: Donald Trump Or Sean Connery?

Siva Ganeshanandan, Director, Digital Marketing Suite, Adobe APAC – @sivagatwork

The first time I looked at Alexa it was 2000. I was living in London and I got a bit of a shock that the number one website in the world was not Yahoo!, but in fact Daum. I was already looking at moving to the APAC region, so had heard about South Korea’s online penetration but this really shocked me.

After I moved to the region, I was in South Korea a fair bit to visit customers and learn more about the market. It was immediately obvious that the internet industry there was a true global leader. Fast forward by 12 years and, while South Korea leads the world in many areas, much of that early promise at the turn of the millennium was not fulfilled.

First let’s look at the positives.  South Korea continues to have the highest broadband penetration of any country in the world.  With its population, it was never going to be the biggest in terms of size for very long, but in sophistication it has led in some areas. The culture of online commerce is woven into the fabric of society more than anywhere else, with over 90% of the population having bought something online. According to a recent IPSOS survey, 65% of South Koreans actually prefer buying things online to buying them from a physical shop, which makes them the direct opposite of the global average, which sits at around 35%.

Donald Trump

But in many areas the country’s online industry missed several significant opportunities to continue leadership in areas such as digital advertising. It was almost as if the industry grew complacent, as the amount of business available through digital channels was significant enough for innovation to decline.  So while South Korea was third behind only Sweden and the UK in terms of the Internet’s contribution (4.6% of GDP in 2009 according to a McKinsey study) it fell to 7th place on McKinsey’s Internet Leadership supply index – letting the likes of Japan, USA and even China take leadership positions.

It’s important to note that it’s still well ahead of some developed markets like France and Germany, which is impressive. However, when I was asked last year to characterise each of the APAC digital markets by comparing them to a celebrity, I decided South Korea was the national equivalent of Donald Trump. Why? Clearly Mr.Trump has a lot of traits that can make this analogy inaccurate, but on a very basic level here is a man who is established – he has been at the top of his game and very successful for quite some time. However, he is also widely considered to be unsophisticated. So, the analogy has nothing to do with gaudiness or reality TV shows, but rather: Established, yet Unsophisticated.

Sean Connery 

Since joining Adobe last year, I have had the opportunity to spend more time in South Korea, meeting with Adobe’s customers, which include some of the big digital publishers as well as the country’s biggest brands.  In this time I’ve come to realise some interesting statistics – like the fact that despite being so mature, South Korea’s digital marketing spend is set to increase by 20.8% this year according to the Korea Online Advertising Association. This will be the first time digital crosses the 20% mark in terms of increase in overall ad spend.

Last week I spoke at IDG Korea’s Digital Marketing 2012 event, attended by over 500 digital marketers. There, I realized the conversations we were having were far more “Sean Connery” (in other words, mature and sophisticated), than Donald Trump.

No Room for Apprentices

For brands targeting South Korea, digital just got more important.  Actually, it was always important, but the bad news is that it’s just got more difficult. The competition keeps raising the bar. Moreover, given the maturity of the market, I see South Korean brands using these technologies in remarkably innovative ways that challenge the market.

When marketing to the South Korean digital audience, you will need the fullest possible range of tools to maintain competitive advantage along with the ability to understand local nuances and innovate specifically for that geographic market. Everything from real-time bidding on display advertising, to portfolio bid management on search will be needed for campaign optimisation. Your competitors are offering personalised engagement across their owned media and getting results from Multi-variate testing, behavioral targeting, automated recommendations and more – and these approaches are working.

We are seeing the results of these initiatives. CPAs are being driven down through better post-click analysis of ad effectiveness. We are also seeing our customers increase conversion rates by double digits by better engaging their audience. But this is not China or India, where such increases can be sustained by the overall growth of the market.  To get these results, they are growing market share, and they are growing at the expense of their competitors. In fact, what I’m seeing may mean I need to come up with an entirely different celebrity comparison for the South Korean digital market in the years ahead. Watch this space ….

Mark Phibbs to tell all at iStrategy Sydney Conference

Imogen Riley, Digital Marketing Senior Manager, Adobe APAC – @IERiley

Adobe’s Mark Phibbs will share his deepest marketing secrets when he presents his “Confessions of a Digital Marketer” keynote at the iStrategy conference held in Sydney, Australia on February 21 – 22

The brainchild of a team of passionate digital marketers from Bristol, UK, the conference brings together marketing professionals from around the world to discuss the constantly evolving digital media and digital marketing landscapes. Now in its fourth year, the iStrategy Conference has quickly developed into a hugely popular bi-annual event staged in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

In line with the theme of this year’s event – results-oriented digital and social media strategies – Mark’s “Confessions of a Digital Marketer” keynote will cover the trends that are driving the massive disruption and changes in our field, and taking a close look at how to take digital campaigns to the next level with the latest techniques and tools available to create, measure and monetize content, delivery and engagement.

This year’s conference will also cover:

  • the rise of social gaming
  • how to harness  the power of augmented reality
  • social media in a B2B context
  • overcoming challenges in e-commerce and
  • mobile campaigns and the future of online video.

It’s going to be a terrific line-up, so get your registrations in now.

The iStrategy Sydney conference runs from 21– 22 February at ANZ Stadium. For information on registration, pricing, programme and accommodation visit the iStrategy Sydney website.

We’ll see you there!

The Importance of Optimising Customers Online Experiences: How HTC and Samsung Card Co discovered the power of optimizing their customers’ experiences

Julie Cleeland Nicholls, Senior Group Manager, Corporate Communications Adobe APAC – @jcnsingapore


Last year, we saw some really innovative examples of how the role of the customer is changing as it becomes a much more central focus for digital marketing campaigns. This is happening because of the changing ways customers choose to interact with brands, using devices to consume information anywhere, anytime.

Some brands, such as HTC picked up on this change very quickly and sought ways to gather actionable, real-time intelligence about their customer’s behaviour across multiple marketing channels. To do this, the company implemented a global roll out of Adobe SiteCatalyst to optimise their customer’s experience.

John Starkweather, Global Director of Digital Marketing, HTC, said his company’s priority was to build brand value for its innovative products. “We operate in an incredibly fast-moving sector,” he explained. “Growing so quickly in such a competitive space, it’s imperative for us to continue to invest in creating better customer experiences – whether that be across, our communities on social platforms such as Facebook or YouTube, and through applications and services.”

“After significant evaluation and a successful implementation in the US market, we were confident that Adobe SiteCatalyst would give us the insight we need across all of our markets globally, enabling us to remain in a leadership position by giving our customers more relevant information and engaging experiences,” said Mr Starkweather.

Another organisation quick to pick up on this shift to customer-centric marketing was Samsung Card Co, Korea’s largest credit card company.

Through the implementation of Adobe Test&Target, Samsung Card Co. was able to determine the most effective content and make changes that increased its card sign-up rate through the website by up to 20%. The tests focused on the main page banner design and size, and on the order in which various products were displayed.

“Samsung Card Co. is very satisfied with Adobe Test&Target. It helps us discover how to enhance our web performance more effectively,” said Park, Chang-Min of Samsung Card. “The solution is expected to help us increase the productivity of our web channels and to provide an objective evaluation tool that will help us decide on the most effective activities within the online operating process.”

Digital and social media – friends or foes of Government?

Paul Robson, Managing Director, Adobe ANZ


You often hear the phrase “the customer is always right”. It may be old but in government, as in business, it contains more than a grain of truth. Citizens are the customers of today’s government officials, and we are more connected and tech-literate than ever before. The opinions we form have always been part of the political process – and now we also have a host of media channels through which to express ourselves – loudly.

With more data at our fingertips, we increasingly seek a more personal experience that is tailored to our needs, and responsive to our feedback. Giving this level of service is a challenge for government as they move to address us in an appropriate and effective way. The explosion in media channels and information means that governments have to work even harder to stay relevant and retain public support for their policies, and these policies often relate to critical national issues like health, public safety and our quality of living.

This is where Citizen Experience Management comes in. Citizen Experience Management involves governments giving citizens the content most relevant to them, in the most effective way possible. So, how do they do that?

Governments need to measure two things:

  • First of all, they need to measure the reach of their messages, to find out whether they’re actually getting through to us
  • Second, they need to measure the impact of these messages. Advanced analytics can track granular data such as how long we spend on a webpage; how we interact with content and links; and even how we access content, whether that’s through a PC, smartphone, tablet or some other media device.

Then they need to use that information to develop better content. To build better experiences for us, governments need to not only measure how we respond to information, but also analyse what these measurements mean.

Ultimately, governments need to address our values if they are to effectively serve and maintain their constituencies. They need to provide information and services which are contextually relevant to us, and tailored to the precise needs of each individual citizen. They need to sort and filter information so that the message which gets to us is in its clearest, most pared-down form. Most of all, they need to figure out what content works, when, where and why it does so, then act on this knowledge and adapt as quickly as possible. Governments are in the business of supporting their citizens. Providing us with memorable and affecting experiences is an essential part of achieving this.

Adobe Australia Exceptional Digital Experiences Tour

Tony Katsabaris, Sales Director – Digital Marketing, Adobe ANZ


The art of successful customer experience management — and the key to competitive advantage-  is to consistently deliver exceptional interactions for your customers through rich enterprise applications and easy-to-use interfaces.

Watch this video for a quick snapshot of the Adobe Australia Exceptional Digital Experiences Tour held in Sydney last year, along with some intriguing insights from leading marketers into what customer experience means to them.