Adobe Digital Dialogue

November 18, 2013 /Digital Marketing /

Asia Pacific marketers are gaining in digital confidence, despite budget and talent deficits

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

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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

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