Marketers tapping trends

Looking for opportunities in a challenging environment

WITH the prospect of a slower economy next year worsen by the volatility of the ringgit, marketers are eagerly tapping on trends and opportunities to promote their brands in the wake of a challenging environment.

Towards this end, ad and media agencies have put their thoughts and acts together on the trends which they foresee will help marketers next year to better plan and strategise their branding initiatives.

Business outcomes and audience insights

With budgets not expected to grow much next year, IPG Mediabrands executive director for digital Abhishek Bhattacharjee says an inordinate amount of importance will be put on measurability of marketing communication.

Media which doesn’t drive business outcomes will prove redundant and digital advertising will need to be seen through the lens of clear goal setting, backed with analytical prowess to be able to measure the impact on outcomes.

“Ultimately, growth of the digital space will be driven by agility in churning out data driven insights, backed with technology, automation to optimise media allocation almost in real time, and the expertise to analyse results not in terms of “cost per link click or cost per 1,000 impressions”, but goals,’’ he adds.

Abhishek: ‘2017 will be the year when digital story-telling will surge.’
Abhishek: ‘2017 will be the year when digital story-telling will surge.’

Dentsu Aegis Network Malaysia chief of group insights and strategy Sue-Anne Lim says the advent of digital data uncovers micro-truths about different behaviours depending on the moments. “In a nutshell, Moment = time x location x need. Marketers’ strategy will now be heavily driven by the insights team. What insights to deploy will depend on the context of the behaviour,” she explains

Lim notes that it is important for marketers to merge communication and commerce as what Tesco did in South Korea a few years ago, adding that it is better to convert audience at a point of engagement rather than driving them somewhere else.

Lim says people who will buy a particular brand are those with money and a need for the product. But what you mean to them is another thing, she notes. “You will always mean something to people who believe in your brand, but sometimes for others, they just want to buy because they have a genuine functional need for it. And sometimes, not even for what you intended it to be. So how do you customise your stories and proposition to the right person at the right time, but stay true to your purpose ?” she stresses.

Abhishek points out that 2017 offers a fantastic opportunity to leverage on the power of story-telling, particularly in the space of custom dynamic video content, whose creativity is guided not by whims and guesses, but facts and data.

“Audiences turn a blind eye to ads, we are often told. But that very same audience loves a good story, and 2017 will be the year when digital story-telling will surge, riding on the fundamentals of data and get validated by end-to-end analytics,’’ he says.

Mobile will be the magic wand

Mobile is already ruling the roost in terms of media consumption amongst all brackets of audiences, and that’s only going to rise, Abhishek notes. He adds it is interesting to see how 95% of users on the widest reaching media platform, Facebook, are mobile-first users. That presents a phenomenal opportunity for marketers who don’t have to be bound with media choices in scheduling or by affinities, he says but rather be driven by moments that the audience experiences across their day.

“Couple that with the data driven targeting and custom storytelling opportunities that the mobile platform offers and we have a win-win situation for advertisers and audiences alike. Advertisers get more impact, reduce inefficiencies and leakages, while the audience has a more enhanced and relevant brand experience,’’ he says.

Middle-income millennials, Gen Zs, empty nesters and blue collar workers

The highest growth of population in the coming years are the middle-income millennials who also have the highest disposable income in the country (and highest rate of bankruptcy), Lim says. This is followed by the Gen Zs who are completely opposite when it comes to persona and mindset, and the aging empty nesters who are now wired in technology, no income but has disposable retirement wealth, she notes.

“Not to mention, the blue collar workers who recently turned expectations upside down - from US Presidential election to Brexit voting. Brands need to recalibrate themselves and question if they truly understand the motivations of these emerging groups and find new ways to engage with each of them meaningfully,’’ Lim says.

Jobscopes will be redefined/growth not in silos

Lack of automation has, for many years, been the silent serial killer of human resource potential and productivity in the agency world. Far too much time is spent on generating reports than spent on analysing and generating learnings or insights.

Abhishek envisages 2017 will be the year which will force “automation at work” as a survival tactic.

Automation of processes to take care of mindless manual functions will be the key to driving talent productivity towards thinking more, innovating better and creating boundless value for clients, he explains.

In the same way that agencies will need to assume the role of ‘growth partners’ rather than just execution partners for advertisers, media owners will increasingly become ‘growth partners’ for agencies to thrive in the ecosystem where each stakeholder has its own distinct strengths.

He says ”Media Owner collaborations to drive new product offerings which add value to advertisers will be the cornerstone for success. With agencies in the driving the seat, partnerships across media owners, tech partners and data companies is imperative to be able to offer a meaningful solution to advertisers.”

Media alone, as we have known it, will not be enough if agencies are vying to be growth partners in these exciting times.”

True versus fake news

Print media in its traditional form may be declining but strong journalism brand will never go out of fashion. Lim says fake content sites are burgeoning because audience are naturally drawn to sensational news with a click bait and blurring the lines between truth and impression.

Print should see a revival if print media owners are ready to break out from their paper prison and understand that their brand spirit actually resides on its journalistic style and content and not on the physical material, she stresses.

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