PETALING JAYA: As the technological landscape evolves, marketers need to incorporate the latest technology into their marketing strategies in pursuit of an effective brand-building strategy.
While conventional marketing strategies are still relevant, experts and agencies said the combination of marketing technology (martech) with conventional marketing would be the best fit to promote and build brands.
Branding Association of Malaysia honorary president Datuk Eric Chong told StarBiz, martech, which combines marketing and technology, is highly effective in enhancing and promoting brands.
He said it allows for data-driven decision-making, personalisation, automation, and efficient customer engagement.
“Conventional marketing strategies still have their place, especially in building brand awareness, but integrating martech can significantly amplify their impact.
“The best approach depends on the specific goals and audience of a brand but a combination of both is a better option to reap the full benefits of an outreach,” he added.
It is important for marketers to continuously adapt to changing consumer behaviours and preferences, Chong said.
He said keeping an eye on emerging technologies and understanding how they could be integrated into marketing strategies would be crucial for staying competitive in the evolving landscape.
Additionally, he said maintaining a balance between martech and traditional marketing methods can be a powerful approach for a holistic brand promotion strategy.
Malaysian Digital Association (MDA) president Eileen Ooi said martech empowers marketers to harness powerful insights from data, identify cohorts of audience segments, and deliver marketing effectively and efficiently at scale to these cohorts or individuals.
Thus, she said good marketing needs to take a balanced approach in building brand fame while delivering on brand relevance.
To do so, she said there is a need to leverage marketing technologies to enable this delivery at scale and more accurately.
“However, this does not negate the importance of building brand equity and brand fame. It is in good marketing fashion that a brand needs to be able to tug at the heart strings and still win over the minds and wallets of consumers.
“Doing this requires both the conventional marketing approaches as well as leveraging technology-enabled marketing delivery,” said Ooi, who is also chief executive officer (CEO) of Omnicom Media Group Malaysia.
Malaysian Advertisers Association president Claudian Navin Stanislaus said, to put it simply, martech is just about making marketing efforts more effective and efficient, and adapting the technological solutions that can enable this.
“It is like making rendang, but using a blender and a pressure cooker instead of pounding the spices and cooking for hours. It is definitely more efficient undoubtedly, but does that mean you are not making a rendang?,” he asked
“Of course, you’ll need to fine tune the process to retain those imperfections that add those nuances which make an authentic rendang, likewise martech solutions need to be gauged and tuned too, to capture those similar nuances tell us a more refined story of our customer, which best matches the flavour of each brand’s unique recipe.
“It is not a one-size-fits-all solution, just as brands are not generic or devoid of their own value to consumers,” Navin said.
When used in balance, he said these solutions can ensure that every mouthful, or in marketing terms, every consumer engagement, is perfectly seasoned to delight.
“The crux of the matter isn’t about which is superior, but how we can get the best result by leveraging on a harmonious blend of marketing principles, solutions that technology provides, and the data at our disposal,” he noted.
He said while martech equips marketers with an ever increasing array of solutions, its greatest strength is the ability to enhance the fundamental principles of marketing – much like any innovation, he said, adding that it must be understood, adapted and integrated in the most effective way.
“The objective of any marketing solution, old or new, analogue or tech-driven, is to provide the most efficient and effective output for marketing at this moment in time. It will not, however, do the marketing for you – not yet at least.
“We also can’t expect a solution to last forever just like our customers are evolving. And so will the solutions used to serve them better,” Navin said.
Elaborating on the outlook of martech for this year and next, Serm Teck Choon, who is the co-founder and CEO of Antsomi and former MDA president, said brands have started to pay more attention to the technology since 2021, and the trend would continue next year and beyond.
He said while brands have moved massively into digital during the Covid-19 pandemic, they have started to go deeper with how they collect, organise, analyse and activate the data in an omni-channel world.
Serm added the growth drivers that would propel martech this year and next are technologies such as customer data platforms, marketing automation, personalisation and the related technologies.
Antsomi, is a regional martech company with clients in several countries in South-East Asia.
Chong said the outlook for martech in the upcoming years remains positive. Growth drivers are likely to include advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, increased adoption of marketing automation, emphasis on customer experience, and the need for data-driven insights to optimise campaigns.
According to the Marketing Technology Market Growth Survey 2023, marketing technology growth outlook is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.19% globally with an estimated total of US$420bil by 2028.
Ooi noted that with rapid digitalisation across the globe, especially in emerging markets like Asean, and coupled with rising data-privacy concerns and policies, demand for martech would continue to grow tremendously.
“Brands’ increasing need to strengthen their first-party data management will become more critical in the long run and will power the scale for personalisation to consumers.
“As emerging markets catch up on data-privacy governance and policies, this will also further propel the rise of martech adoption.
“Google’s impending cookie deprecation and increasing walled garden platforms will also further fuel the need for brands to get on board in taking their data management more seriously,” she said.
Commenting on martech trends over the next few years, Serm said while current martech trends are all data and automation related, the next big wave is how current capabilities would be further enhanced with the latest technologies such as Generative AI and other AI-related technologies.
“Bill Gates said in a blog post: Entire industries will reorient around it (AI). Businesses will distinguish themselves by how well they use it.”
“It’s inevitable that AI will be the next utility in our daily life after water, electricity and the Internet.
“Hence, moving forward, all the martech tools and applications will ultimately be AI-enabled, AI-empowered and AI-embedded, and importantly, this has already been happening,” Serm said.
Chong said over the next three to five years, he foresees increased emphasis on AI-powered marketing solutions, greater integration of augmented reality and virtual reality, and a continued focus on customer-centric strategies.
Personalisation and automation would likely play an even more significant role, he said.
Ooi said, currently what is likely to have a bigger impact on martech would be the growth of AI and machine-learning integration into martech systems to further improve the user experience, and to further automate the deployment of insights and recommendations.
“In addition, there is an increase in martech solutions being integrated to deliver on customer data platform needs together with a distribution platform for marketing activities.
“This would also possibly include content-personalisation capability to provide an end-to-end solution for marketers, ” she said.
Learning new technology
Separately, on the challenges facing marketers using martech, Navin said those employing this technology face challenges similar to a commuter learning to use a new navigation app.
It is not just about the features it has or the ease of use, but the access to more real-time data and improved AI “intelligence” that will enable the app to provide more accurate results and better solutions, he said.
“Technology is in a state of constant flux, and while it is impossible to learn how to incorporate every new solution, or we will never have the time to get any real work done, we can’t afford to do nothing either,” he said
Furthermore, Navin said the need for personalised marketing approaches demands more in-depth understanding of customers.
He said integrating martech solutions into existing marketing systems and strategies is akin to constructing a new expressway – it requires an understanding of the possible implications, careful planning and effective execution.
“Navigating data privacy and ethics is perhaps like driving according to road rules. It is about staying compliant and maintaining the trust of your passengers, the consumers.
“These solutions are also not necessarily accessible to the small and medium enterprise sector, which in this region are the lifeblood of the economy, and will most benefit from their adaptation.
“Affordability of the existing solutions is a challenge, but also the readiness of local businesses to use such solutions, as they require to be fed with the appropriate data to provide any form of game-changing solutions.
“Local syntax and cultural nuances are also a challenge, especially in a small, multicultural diverse population such as ours. Often these solutions tend to restrict us to painting within the lines, depriving the rich insights that these nuances hold for us in this region.
“The idea is not to hold out for the perfect solution, because if that would be the case, we would still be working on typewriters waiting for that perfect computer to be made,” Navin stressed.