Hisamichi Kinomoto, VP Mar­ket­ing, Japan and Asia Pacific, Adobe Sys­tems– LinkedIn

Join the con­ver­sa­tion via #APDash

The APAC Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dash­board returns in 2013, reveal­ing the emer­gence of a two-tiered approach to dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing as some coun­tries gain in sophis­ti­ca­tion while oth­ers con­front the tough real­ity of low bud­gets, skills short­ages and inad­e­quate agency sup­port. The research was car­ried out by the CMO Coun­cil in part­ner­ship with Adobe, and since its launch in 2012, the Dash­board has exposed sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in the dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing land­scape across the Asia Pacific region.

All across the region we see pos­i­tive signs that dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is com­ing of age and increas­ingly tak­ing its place at the heart of the mar­ket­ing mix as a highly account­able, flex­i­ble way to gen­er­ate cus­tomer engage­ment and interaction.

Across APAC, 28% of mar­keters rated them­selves as highly evolved and a leader in their field, com­pared to 23% in 2012. Con­fi­dence was high­est in India (42%), Aus­tralia (37%) and Sin­ga­pore (29%). How­ever, the data included responses from Japan for the first time, and revealed a very inter­est­ing con­tra­dic­tion. Japan’s mar­keters rated their organ­i­sa­tions highly in response to this ques­tion, with 28% con­sid­er­ing them­selves a leader in their field. Fur­ther­more, mar­keters in Japan lead the entire APAC region with 72% believ­ing that dig­i­tal will help build a more customer-centric orga­ni­za­tion, com­pared to 50% in APAC.

Yet while Japan­ese mar­keters are brim­ming with con­fi­dence and enthu­si­asm for dig­i­tal, the truth is that they lack the senior level sup­port to truly exploit the dig­i­tal engage­ment oppor­tu­nity. They lack a strong dig­i­tal cham­pion to help advance the call to action. While 38% of mar­keters in APAC say there is a cham­pion among the exec­u­tive team (this num­ber is as high as 62% in Aus­tralia), not a sin­gle respon­dent from Japan could agree. One pos­i­tive thing is that Japan organ­i­sa­tions are now see­ing greater advo­cacy for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing from the sales and chan­nel team, with 22% push­ing for an increase in dig­i­tal spend on par with the APAC average.

With sim­i­lar pat­terns emerg­ing in Korea and China, mar­keters in these coun­tries face a sit­u­a­tion where they must heed the call of their cus­tomer for to deliver dig­i­tal engage­ment, while still edu­cat­ing senior lead­ers about the grow­ing dig­i­tal expec­ta­tions of the mar­ket. Only then will they be able to speed the adop­tion rate and accep­tance of dig­i­tal marketing’s more advanced and lucra­tive opportunities.

Won­der­ing how your own dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing efforts are match­ing up against other coun­tries in APAC? Here are some key points that stood out from the 2013 Dig­i­tal Dashboard:

  • APAC mar­keters  shifted their pri­or­i­ties in 2013 to focus on con­tent strat­egy and social optimization

–          75% said they were strength­en­ing their dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing con­tent strat­egy this year com­pared to  36% in 2012

–          59% are pri­or­i­tiz­ing social media opti­miza­tion com­pared to 52% in 2012.

  • Although a strong major­ity of APAC mar­keters are mea­sur­ing and test­ing dig­i­tal cam­paigns, lack of access to the right skills means they are unable analyse the data and tap into the business-driving met­rics that will help con­vince senior man­age­ment to increase investment.

–          69% are mea­sur­ing and test­ing dig­i­tal cam­paigns, with 80% con­firm­ing they are using mar­ket­ing ana­lyt­ics and report­ing technologies.

–          APAC mar­keters are lever­ag­ing stan­dard met­rics but are fail­ing to rec­og­nize crit­i­cal per­for­mance indi­ca­tors such as cus­tomer life­time value (only 15% are mea­sur­ing), churn rate (9%) and mar­ket share improve­ments (12%).

  • Invest­ment in APAC remains below the global average.

–          APAC dig­i­tal spend is still below global aver­age, which is between 25%-35% of total mar­ket­ing spend. Only 14% of mar­keters in APAC are spend­ing on par with this global baseline.

–          Region­ally, 71% spend less than a quar­ter on their bud­get on digital

Dashboard graph

  • Skills short­age con­tin­ues to be a sig­nif­i­cant issue across APAC

–          53% said their cur­rent employ­ees don’t have the right skills and expertise

–          48% say­ing they lack bud­get to hire skilled senior staff

What does this mean for dig­i­tal mar­keters in APAC?

APAC mar­keters need to advance a more defin­i­tive busi­ness case to win higher invest­ment in dig­i­tal. The only way to do this is by demon­strat­ing return on invest­ment via the right met­rics and ana­lyt­ics tech­nolo­gies and skills. Cur­rently, mar­keters are still heav­ily reliant on data that shows cus­tomer pref­er­ence for dig­i­tal engage­ment, ana­lyt­ics on lead yield and return and the strate­gic assess­ment of busi­ness impact. Instead, APAC mar­keters should pro­vide addi­tional insights around cost sav­ings and per­for­mance improve­ment prac­tice, which only 25% are doing today.

The other key learn­ing, is that mar­keters are try­ing to fill the in-house skills gap with agen­cies but this is prov­ing to be unsuc­cess­ful. Only 12% of APAC mar­keters rate their agen­cies as excel­lent with the major­ity (69%) stat­ing their agen­cies deliver mixed results.

Four next steps for APAC marketers

1. Con­tinue to invest in mea­sure­ment and opti­miza­tion tech­nolo­gies, cou­pled with ongo­ing staff train­ing, and make sure your orga­ni­za­tion is mea­sur­ing the right ele­ments in order to demon­strate ROI. Focus on crit­i­cal per­for­mance indi­ca­tors and business-driving met­rics to help con­vince your senior man­age­ment increase investment.

2. Build a case to gar­ner sup­port from senior man­agers. Among many of Adobe’s regional cus­tomers, we see the power of a dig­i­tal cham­pion on the exec­u­tive team, busi­ness lead­ers with the vision to see cus­tomer expe­ri­ence at the heart of the busi­ness, and the under­stand­ing that dig­i­tal is at the heart of con­sis­tent, com­pre­hen­sive, cross-channel cus­tomer engagement.

3. Boost your own skill sets and those of your team – we can­not rely solely on our agen­cies for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing analy­sis. With­out the abil­ity to deeply analyse data and apply insights to strate­gic exe­cu­tion, mar­keters won’t be able to close the gap that exists today and start to prove ROI.

4. Increase the sense of urgency around dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing. APAC ‘s mar­keters must con­sider dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing a neces­sity, not an addi­tional com­po­nent or a nice-to-have strat­egy. The value of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing con­tin­ues to be rec­og­nized, and cus­tomer pref­er­ence and depen­dence on dig­i­tal is clear.

The advances that some APAC coun­tries have made in the last 12 months are evi­dent and they are show­ing the way for­ward for all mar­keters to con­tinue to take steps to broaden their skills, apply business-critical met­rics, build an irrefutable busi­ness case and cre­ate truly digital-centric mar­ket­ing organisations.

We’re launch­ing country-specific find­ings across the region this week. Keep vis­it­ing Dig­i­tal Dia­logue to read in-depth coun­try find­ings from the 2013 Adobe APAC Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dashboard.

Down­load the com­pli­men­tary exec­u­tive summary

APAC Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dash­board Info­graphic 2013

Japan Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dash­board Info­graphic 2013

2012 APAC Dig­i­tal Mar­ket­ing Per­for­mance Dash­board Blog