MarCom in the new decade

Making his point: Elazab speaking at the event.

PETALING JAYA: The MarCom Tech Live Virtual Conference held on June 8 and 9 was the first of Star Media Group’s #digitalXdata 2022 events series.

It was powered by 23 multinational speakers who shared and discussed how technology empowers businesses across various industries for public relations, branding, marketing, and communication functions.

Future of MarCom

Among the speakers was the Asia School of Business assistant professor of Marketing Willem Smit, who dealt with the global emergence of social networking that has enabled networked-based predictive modelling and new forms of targetting and referral strategies, based on the preferences of consumers’ peers.

The session continued with LinkedIn’s senior sales leader, Sammy Elazab, who spoke about building communities with organic and paid strategies.

The industry panel discussion, moderated by Smit, included Institute of Marketing Malaysia president Datuk Sharifah Mohd Ismail, LinkedIn Apac & China content solutions manager Daniel Hochuli, Mah Sing Group head of strategic marketing & brand experience Bernard Yong and Ogilvy Philippines head of technology solutions Francis Joseph Dy.

Yong said the key to amplifying efficiency is getting a good return on investment on the small scale, but that covering larger geographic regions and large target audiences prove to be more challenging.

“We don’t implement technology for technology, it’s all about the customer. Technology has the biggest capability of getting more data on what’s happening,” he said.

Sharifah pointed out that for small and medium enterprises to gain more customers, marketers and business leaders need to adopt omnichannel communications, focus on digital connections and empathise with customers.

Joseph added that technology has not just accelerated, but that marketing plans are now executed on a more short-term basis, as technology emphasises more on customer experience and personalisation.

Campaign measurability: data and analytics

Kantar Malaysia’s client partner, brand guidance and customer experience Maslina Mokhtar spoke about the challenges of getting the right information and data for businesses that need solutions, and not just database and structure, but also insights and solutions that can be taken to customers.

It was followed by ADA’s regional head of Consumer Products (Business Insights & Analytics) Dr. Wong Chin Chin on converting data for demand and marketing strategies to drive revenue.

The industry panel discussion was moderated by Maslina, and the panellists included Edelman Malaysia chief strategist Sailesh Wadhwa, Teads heads of sales Sathish Sanmugavelu and Sea Gamer Mall senior marketing manager Raymond Foo.

Sailesh pointed out that in getting customer data correct, one way is to utilise a media platform. Leveraging data helps with the right content, while active social monitoring, helps clients, brands and business in decision-making.

“We also have a multitude of data mentoring tools that help internally, where we look at business growth, solutions, adoption, partnership insights, client advertising campaigns, and business trends for the company to grow rapidly,” added Sathish.

Raymond said his business is online eCommerce, internal data, for example, product information, customer purchase history,and sales performance, and for external data, Google analytics and Google inquiry can help with that information in the business.

Integrated and omnichannel strategy

IPSOS Regional Service Line leader of Market Strategy and Understanding (APAC), Jane Lattimore’s keynote presentation showed that the shifting dynamic of shopping behaviour has changed over the past two years as commerce evolved rapidly through multichannel, omnichannel and convergent commerce.

Following that, ADA Regional Head of consulting, marketing technology Yih Cheng Yak pointed out the right experience, right fit and right return on investment to find the right technology to deliver to customers.

The industry panel discussion was moderated by Lattimore, with panellists Lee Lim Meng from Abbott Nutrition Malaysia, Group chief merchandise and marketing officer at AEON Co Malaysia Bhd Ngai Yuen Low, Qoni, Country Manager Deryk Yap and Trapper Group CEO Sue-Anne Lim.

Meng said consumers are more attached to brands they are familiar with, depending on how authentic the brands are.

Every affiliate or local needs transparency of their product, so customers can check on notifications when the product comes in and how long the products have been in Malaysia, and accessibility to how the products are actually made.

Low added “The emergence of the QR code makes it easier to buy products through television.

“Just scan and they deliver the product. At the end of the day, it’s all about functionality.

“It is not as easy as it seems, with the packaging, delivery and material, but we as the affiliate, try to deliver the best service possible to customers.”

Meanwhile, Yap commented that the pandemic that caused everyone to become digital-savvy so it kind of helps the process of contributing to the product.

When you give more value to clients, you also drive more take-up.

“I think the first thing we did was to maintain business continuity for the client because their access to customers is officially distracted so we have to think of ways to help the client to get back to the client’s mindset,” Lim added.

Brand image and media

In his keynote, Frost & Sullivan, Global vice-president of customer experience Shahed Amanullah said traditional media from a customer’s perspective has a high risk of bad experience, while digital media can be entertainment and they appreciate the personalisation of the brand.

“Marketing today is not what it looked like before. You need to embrace digital marketing, and you need to restructure marketing teams by specialty and find the spaces where your customer lives,” he said.

Boustead Properties chief operating officer Eason Phan said brand image and media are learned through an experimental journey while undergoing digital transformation.

“Leadership must be there to support the journey. And, when that comes in, you build credibility, you build trust and that is very important,” Phan said.

The industry panel discussion was moderated by marketing communication director of Asia Pacific Li Ping Chwa from Frost & Sullivan, Golden Screen Cinemas chief marketing officer Shirley Low, vice-president Kausen Hieu from the Malaysian Digital Association, and region head of South-East Asia Haikel Fahim from Telum Media.

Haikel noted while journalists had a harder time reporting through the pandemic, it also became a challenge for companies promoting their products and services, especially where their products are intangible.

“Networking was a big part of media strategy, as it helped our approach in general, in accelerating the pipeline to digital work quicker.

“But, clearly, there’s much more to explore for the media industry,” he said.

Low said during the Movement Control Order, that they focus on planning, strategising, pivoting businesses, and creating revenue streams.

“GSC’s transformation started before the pandemic, but we do believe in investing. Innovating and long-term plans are very important for organisations to move fast and efficiently in uncertain times,” she added.

Hieu said in the marketing industry, what makes the company different is that the marketing strategy goes through DDD – discovery, design, and delivery.

“Discovery is to discover what really the client wants, and from there move on to designing and experience.”The conference’s exclusive Tech Titan sponsor was LinkedIn, the Tech Tutor sponsor was ADA, and the Tech Trooper sponsors were Qoni, Teads and Telum Media.

The Knowledge partners were Frost & Sullivan, Ipsos, and Kantar Malaysia.

It was also supported by the Institute of Marketing Malaysia and Malaysian Digital Association, with The VIP Pass as prize sponsor and eLearningMinds as the E-Learning partner.

Rewatch any of the sessions at

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