Skill shortages in Hong Kong hinder digital marketing growth

Digital Marketing
Adobe Asia Pacific President - Paul Robson

Paul Robson, President, Adobe Asia Pacific

The third annual APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard by Adobe and CMO Council reveals that the development of digital marketing in Hong Kong is still struggling as skill shortages continue to bit. Across the region there are widening gaps in digital marketing maturity and while all countries understand the importance and value of digital, no country has managed to take full advantage of the opportunities that exist in this area.

Jointly conducted by the CMO Council and Adobe, the third annual APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard was derived from a survey fielded across Asia-Pacific during the second and third quarters of 2014. The study benchmarked the levels of adoption, traction and maturity of digital marketing across Asia-Pacific which includes Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and India. It included a six-month in-field programme comprising quantitative surveys with over 800 marketing executives, the largest gathering of marketing insights over the years. Senior marketers within the Asia Pacific region from a range of industries took part, with 44% holding a title of Vice President or higher.

The Dashboard has found that the overwhelming majority of the respondents (93%) believe digital marketing can bring competitive advantage to their organizations. Although most of the executives in Asia Pacific recognize the role of digital marketing, the survey shows that countries have different performance on various indicators. Countries such as Singapore, Australia and India are pulling away with strong executive support and digital champions, while South Korea, China and Hong Kong struggle with executive support and skill shortages.

The role of stakeholders in driving digital marketing

The Dashboard identified that those countries with strong support for digital marketing from senior executives are moving to leadership positions. In Australia, Chief Marketing Executive ownership is at 54% in 2014, followed by India (42%), Hong Kong (41%), South Korea (39%) and Singapore (37%). Having a strong digital champion within the leadership team remained steady across the region at 38% between 2012 and 2014; however, Australia is pulling away with 62% in 2014, followed by Hong Kong (46%), Singapore (41%) and India (39%).

Unfortunately, some leadership teams are not convinced of the ROI of digital marketing, and although they are open to learning more, this skepticism is holding back adoption rates in some countries. Across Asia-Pacific, concern about ROI has risen slightly from 17 percent in 2012 to 21 percent in 2014 while Hong Kong (19%) is slighltly above average.

As for Hong Kong, 36% of marketers think that there is very strong support for digital from the leadership team, compared to 6% in 2013. 46% of marketers in Hong Kong say they do have a strong champion within the leadership team, which shows second highest levels of support among other countries across Asia-Pacific.

Channel partners and sales teams appear to be strong advocates for digital marketing with more calling for increased digital spend across Asia Pacific. Since 2012, the number of lines of businesses who are calling for increased investment in digital has increased from 15% to 25% in 2014. Channel partners and sales teams who are doing so have more than doubled from 15% in 2012 to 34% in 2014, while there is a tremendous increase in Hong Kong which has rocketed from 9% in 2013 to 40% in 2014.

According to 25% of the respondents from Hong Kong, IT is a big contributor and active partner in selecting and deploying solutions while 41% express functional heads and Line-Of Business (LOB) leaders are providing input and advice, and both rank second highest across Asia-Pacific. Relatively, IT experts, functional heads and LOB leaders serve as more supportive facilitators in Hong Kong when compared to other countries in APAC.


Slight improvements in skill levels but leaders pull away

There has been a small improvement in skill levels across Asia Pacific with dedicated digital headcount increasing from 13% in 2012 and 2013, to 15% in 2014. However, gaps are continuing to grow between countries which have a dedicated digital headcount in 2014:

  • Australia – 26%
  • India and Singapore – 18%
  • South Korea – 13%
  • China – 9%
  • Hong Kong – 7%.

Across Asia Pacific, use of analytics and reporting technologies has remained generally steady (72% in 2012 and 74% in 2014), but leaders are pulling away. In Australia, 91% of marketers are using analytics and reporting tools, followed by Singapore (79%), India (77%), Hong Kong (73%), China (70%) and South Korea (60%).

The Dashboard also found that marketers are not moving beyond more basic measurements. Asked whether they are measuring throughout the life of campaigns, only 4% of marketers in Hong Kong said they were, compared with an average of 13% across Asia Pacific.

Despite the lack of analysis throughout the life of campaigns, the skills and awareness of Hong Kong marketers are improving as proved by the fact that 60% of marketers in Hong Kong express they are currently measuring and testing the results of their digital marketing campaigns, up from 47% last year.


Interested in finding out how else marketers in Hong Kong fared in comparison to the rest of the APAC? Check out the links below:

Download the complimentary executive summary

APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard Infographic

Digital Marketing

Posted on 10-29-2014


  • By John - 2:56 AM on October 29, 2014   Reply

    Im surprised to see Hong Kong lagging behind to be honest and even more surprised to see Australia leading the pack. It would be interesting to know how the UK are doing and the rest of Europe 🙂

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