Archive for July, 2014

Nobody Said Reinvention Would Be Easy

Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing, CMO Council -@lizkmiller

Confidence is growing. Sophistication is escalating. Marketers are advancing digital like never before across Asia-Pacific and Japan. But now comes the really hard work.

Today’s marketing organization is at an impasse. We must all make the active decision of whether we are going to cling to the branding and advertising tenets of the past—filled with loose measurements and traditional tactics—or venture into the fast, often out-of-our-control space known as our customer’s digital reality.

Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /



Here is the singular point of truth to remember: Our customers are already digital. Consider this:

1,621,000: The number of active mobile consumers in Asia

969,583,240: The number of active social media users in Asia

1,255,745,291: The number of active Internet users in Asia





While marketer confidence is growing, so is a sense that we are just at the start of one of the hardest journeys that the industry has ever seen: catching up to our customers. We are facing a reinvention, a renaissance of marketing that will usher in a new era of business-minded, data-driven, social and mobile-savvy marketers.

When I look at the findings from last year’s “APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard 2013,” conducted by the CMO Council in partnership with Adobe, two items immediately jump out as things we must stop doing immediately as this reinvention takes off:

• Stop accepting less than exceptional measurements. We cannot afford to market without measuring. According to last year’s survey, only 17 percent of marketers feel they have an excellent or very good grasp on digital marketing measurement and analytics, with 34 percent admitting this area needs improvement. We need to measure marketing outcomes and results against the businesses we are being tasked to drive.

• Stop hedging your digital bets…allocate! Global marketers are investing between 25 and 35 percent of their overall marketing budgets specifically to digital, and we are seeing this number shift and grow dramatically year over year. However, marketers in APAC are spending far less as only 14 percent of survey respondents are spending on par with their global peers. We need to invest properly in the engagements, experiences and channels that are yielding measurable and profitable impact for our brands. It will be hard, but it can and should be done. Consider Molendez, the company behind brands like Oreo and Trident, which will allocate 50 percent of its budget to digital by 2016. Will it be easy? No. But Molendez rightly believes it needs to go where its customers are engaging.

As we prepare for the upcoming Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium, I challenge all of us in marketing to take a hard look at what we need to stop doing in order to spark this reinvention of marketing. What role will each of us play in this advancement?

If you thought the data points I shared in this post were interesting, I’d like to invite you to be part of our 2014 study by taking a short survey that will ask where you are in your brand’s digital marketing maturity. As a thank you for your time, we will share a complimentary copy of the report with you once it is published later this year. Take the survey here.

Personalization: The Dark Art to Engaging Crowds

 Scott Thomson, Senior Manager Industry Strategy APAC, Adobe Systems

Scott's blog 1

There’s a dark art to talking to or performing in front of crowds. Bands do it. Magicians do it. Politicians and inspirational speakers do it. They personalize their performances and their messages.

A politician enters a crowded auditorium and as she walks down the aisle she stops to warmly shake hands with a few people on the aisle and shares a few friendly words with each.

The lead singer in a band bounds onto the stage of a packed arena, punching the air with energy. He pauses at the stage edge as if he’s caught someone’s eye in the crowd. He smiles broadly, points and waves at what appears to be a fan he’s spotted. He then calls out to the whole city all the time maintaining a pointed finger to his “friend” in the crowd.

Once you stop treating the crowd as a crowd and start focusing on individuals, the crowd notices! The more you do it, the more the crowd engages.

One by one, the experience and expectation in the crowd becomes, that this isn’t just a one to many thing. It’s about the performer and me, a unique, unrepeatable, magic moment shared. Even people who don’t get individually called out still start to believe this.

As the market matures it moves its practices from broad reach & frequency, multi-channel communications and starts focusing strategically on customer journeys and customer centric communications, we begin to see the imperative of getting into the crowd, waving and smiling and connecting with our customers where they are.

Quite simply, we are moving from an enterprise centric marketing approach to a customer centric marketing approach.

Scott's blog 2

Scott's blog 3








Two potential challenges for the near term will be if we see the bulk uptake of addressable TV and the predicted mass uptake of wearables. Not long to go, we were saying, “Next year will be the year of mobile”. We kept saying that year in, year out – 2007, 2008, 2009… then we got to 2010 and uptake passed critical mass and people were scrambling for mobile resources and desperately trying to get apps to market.

Think about the “year of connected devices”, including TV and wearables. When do you think that will be? – 2015, 2016, 2017? Especially with TV, what happens when the bulk of TV marketing and content suddenly has access to address their audiences individually?

Are marketing and content teams laying down the foundations and skilling up their teams to have personally addressable conversations? Are they working towards addressable conversations with customers across TV, tablets, mobiles, wearables and the potentially dizzying array of addressable Internet of Things we are promised? Are we being wise or will we be left scrabbling?

There are now and will be in the near future more ways than ever before to use all this to listen, predict, assemble and deliver all kinds of content in near real time to our customers. We could also match the context and journey of the customer to meet them where they are most engaged and most receptive to our messages. How are you coping now and how are you preparing for the future?

Join my colleague, Kevin Lindsay, and me at the Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium 2014 in Sydney and Singapore where Kevin will conduct a deep dive into personalization and I will cover Data Management Platforms – Your Audience Matters.

Also, find my presentation on personalization (with the Australian spelling) as well as data driven advertising on my slideshare:

Confessions of a marketer – the truth is out

photo (3)

For those of us who work in marketing day-to-day, there’s no denying that so much has changed. But many of our CMOs and industry peers just haven’t kept up. Do you agree?

We took to the internet to ask marketers across Asia Pacific (APAC) what really goes on in their organisations and here are some of the results:

  • 54% of APAC marketing leaders base decisions on what management wants, rather than data
  • 39% of marketers believe their team is not aligned with all the business functions, including IT, customer service, and operations, to drive digital programs.
  • 64% of APAC marketing leaders value digital results over traditional metrics
  • 47% of APAC marketing leaders claim to embrace social, but someone tweets on their behalf.
  • 70% of CEO’s believe digital and social can deliver business transformation.

It seems that although many marketing leaders value digital, they are still holding back and afraid to take the full leap forward. Many are still guilty of following top management decisions rather than adjusting their marketing efforts based on the data as well as claiming to embrace social but rely on others (probably an agency) to tweet on their behalf.

Here are some of the other things marketers had to say:

  • “1. The results from digital programs cannot convince management that they may need to invest more. Although feedback and results say otherwise. 2. ROI and Sales are still the main indicators.”
  • “There are times when ’conventional wisdom’, ’what the founders / investors prefer’, and ’quick fixes’ take over from decisions based on data and facts.”
  • “There is a great interest in digital at C-level thanks to social media. But on the other hand, very few marketers are trained in it or know how to use it to deliver campaigns and metrics in the right way to the C-level audience within companies. Currently the drive to show ROI has made marketers show analytics based on random apophenia rather than quality gains from marketing which are actually a mix of quantitative and qualitative metrics rather than a numbers game alone.”
  • “The cost ratios of digital marketing are attractive to senior management in a company. However, the real question is whether non marketers truly understand and buy into the value (as opposed to cost savings) that it brings. The process of internal education remains an important component of the mix.”
  • “When metrics are still based on traditional marketing, numbers generated by digital activities cannot be accurately tracked and taken into account.”

The majority of marketers agree there is an interest in digital by senior management but generally there is also a lack of understanding and skill on how to leverage it. The power of digital is endless and companies which adopt digital marketing into their overall strategy will have a better idea of their customers and how to engage with them, all in real time.

Looking to drive your company’s digital transformation or improve your digital marketing strategy? Attend Asia Pacific’s most anticipated digital marketing gigs of the year – Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium. Register now to attend the Sydney Symposium on the 22 July and Singapore Symposium on the 24 July where marketing experts and innovators will share the latest digital marketing know-how.

Delivering Delightful Experiences

mark-henleyMark Henley, Director, Transformation and Digital Strategy, Adobe Systems



I polled a room of people recently for their best customer experiences. There was a long silence. Eventually, someone said – “I can remember my worst experience really well”. Immediately there was an avalanche of similar comments.

It’s depressing that we remember the bad more quickly than the good, because it makes the job of delivering great experiences so difficult. The net promoter score mechanism is a great quantitative measure of this. As a reminder, on a scale of 1-10, a 6 counts as a net detractor, 7 and 8 are ignored and only 9 and 10 are considered loyal or enthusiasts. Further, the total net promoter score is the percentage of detractors subtracted from the percentage of promoters – meaning a negative score is frighteningly easy to achieve (if a negative can be considered an achievement?)

The point is for each customer experience, excellence is only 20% of the available range, with the remaining 80% is neutral or negative in tone. This is why my room could so readily remember the poor experiences – by definition there are simply more of them.

Image courtesy of stockimages /

But, there is another factor. The inconvenience, rudeness, lack of personal attention, and sheer incompetence of some experiences stick with us, and are being more sharply contrasted than ever before. Why? Because there are more truly amazing products and services emerging, more rapidly, and in more aspects of our daily lives than at any other time in history. Customer centricity driven by digital tools and processes is genuinely changing the nature of these experiences for the better.

Some examples – Apple is a classic of course. Uber and AirBnB work due to their cheeky disintermediation. Amazon is famed for their focus on the customer – manifested not necessarily in user experience, but lowest price and widest choice. High end travel innovates constantly to preserve and extend the ‘special’ factor. You will undoubtedly have your own favourites – precisely because some part of the experience was memorable in the right way, and likely unique to your customer journey.

What are the hallmarks of a delightful interaction? I think they can be categorized thus:

  1. Reducing friction of an existing and regular transaction – eg Uber, Paypal, etax (Australia). As an aside, wearable tech is going to extend low friction interactions even further.
  2. Creating a genuine relationship where the consumer cares enough to engage with the brand, due to a combination of product AND service. Part of the draw may be brand cachet too, but rarely is it the product in isolation that creates the attraction. Retail examples abound in Apple, Nike, Facebook, Harley Davidson, Cartier. It’s not just premium brands either – daily commodities can succeed in creating advocates too – Tetley tea, the Sydney Morning Herald (or South China Morning Post). These are all high frequency and high touch B2C experiences, and they drive the customer expectations of what is ‘normal’. For lower touch, and lower engagement services such as banking, finance and insurance, the customer expectations formed in retail experiences are applied indiscriminately- why aren’t all experiences as good as…?
  3. Surprise – Offering the customer or user an experience they didn’t know they wanted, often at the right time and in the right context. Google Now is doing a good job of this predictive utility behavior. Each of these mirco experiences that are clearly in the 9 or 10 range for NPS will tend to stick with us. I suspect that this ability to accurately pre-empt the customer will become a clear differentiator for brands, as long as the result is useful rather than intrusive or ‘creepy’. (A word whose definition and application is yet to be fully quantified, and seems context dependent)
  4. Interconnections: Each encounter leaves a ripple. Only when all those ripples are known can the experience work at its best. Online/offline retail, my fitbit logs, supply chain optimization for an iron ore mine – all these depend on the en-clouding of the customer state and their data. Interconnections also matter in the social sense – a good meal is improved by the presence of good company – and so a pleasing experience becomes more so when confirmed by your social circle.

Ultimately, we all crave recognition of our identity – not in the narcissistic sense, but at the deep, human level that seeks out other genuine human interactions. For too long we have had to accept impersonal best guesses as digital substitutes for relevant and useful encounters that meet both our needs and desires. Happily, that world is passing. We now have the tools, the data and the processes to make the best of each opportunity to hit a 9 or 10 rather than a 5 or a 6. Great customer experiences are within reach, and Adobe can help you on the journey toward them.

Join me at Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium where I will be covering the importance of a great customer experience and the tips and tricks to implementing the right tools to help you achieve it.

Data Management Platforms: Your Audience Matters

scott-thomsonScott Thomson, Senior Manager Industry Strategy APAC, Adobe Systems 


Data management platforms, or DMPs, promise to be an enabling audience engine for digital ad technology and content personalization. But given all the hype around them, what can and can’t they do? What should you look for in a DMP?

Firstly, DMPs need to support easy ingestion and normalization of data from multiple sources in a secure and privacy compliant manner. Not only the myriad of internal (1st Party) data sources such as your data warehouse, CRM & onsite analytics but also a vast array of ad tech partners such as premium publishers (often referred to as 2nd Party) and other partner enterprises and data suppliers (3rd Party).

Secondly, DMPs need to be able to manage insights derived from audience activity and targeting to audiences. Based on a predefined set of audiences, DMPs need to be able to intuit look-a-like audiences and also allow the predefined audiences models to evolve as new data is on-boarded, especially in near real time.

Thirdly, and most critically, DMPs need to support integrations to multiple channels and many partners within those channels and they need to maintain the highest possible audience match rates with those partners.

DMPs aren’t just a cloud based data mart. They maintain ongoing, best practice integrations with tens or hundreds of other partners and in doing so they manage all the legal relationships & operational costs those integration incur to maintain.

DMPs also maintain the greatest audience match rates to those partners. If your partner DMP has a low match rate, say 30%, it means only 30% of the audience you worked to long and hard to create is going to be matched.

When done right, a data management platform can be the key stone of your digital marketing program – finally allowing marketers to lead with a customer-centric, rather than channel-centric, approach to marketing.

Join me at the Adobe Digital Marketing Symposium 2014 in Sydney and Singapore where I’ll cover more on what DMPs can and can’t do, how they fit into the digital advertising and personalization ecosystems and what are the best practices for deploying and managing a DMP.