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Finding digital maturity

The very definition of what digital means to a marketer is changing.

Five years ago, it could have been argued that digital marketing was online advertising, social media and – for those on the leading edge – analytics and customer intelligence.

For savvy marketers in Hong Kong, digital has grown to include a network and infrastructure that doesn’t just connect to the external customer. It is an ecosystem where creativity, the company and the customer must be aligned and completely in sync. Digital is now a holistic universe that binds creativity to content and connects and results in a brand experience that exceeds customer expectations.

These are some of the findings from Adobe’s APAC Digital Marketing Performance Dashboard, a detailed report on the state of digital across Asia and one which paints a much better view of the digitally enhanced CMO.

The report comes at a time of great disruption for brands in Hong Kong. Some of the city’s biggest advertisers, including P&G and Dairy Farm, are making deep cuts to their traditional advertising budgets and bolstering their activities in the social and digital space.

Data from admanGo shows P&G, Hong Kong’s biggest advertiser, cut its ad budget to $165.8 million, down 32% from last year, while Dairy Farm Group was down 20% year-on-year to $145.4 million.

Gillette Hong Kong

Big advertisers like P&G are ramping up their digital activity.

Looking at this data in isolation may paint a dramatic picture, but admanGo also notes that digital and mobile spending is up significantly. Data for the third quarter of 2015 shows digital spend grew 33%, while mobile saw a 52% jump year-on-year.

This trend falls into line with Adobe’s 2015 report, which shows that the age of advertising-led traditional marketing has started to disappear and is being replaced by a far more complex network of digital, content and customer insight. So much so that the questions about the importance of digital are gone and a good majority of marketers see digital as a competitive advantage.

But despite the widespread acceptance of digital, there are still challenges, particularly in China. Adobe’s research shows that while China’s marketers are embracing newer forms of marketing, support from senior management is not as forthcoming.

While some 39% of marketers in China believe their leadership is open to piloting digital initiatives, only 7% indicate they have very strong support from their leadership. In reality, it’s likely time to stop seeing digital as a great experiment. It also notes that marketers have yet to make significant strides in actually measuring the value and return of digital investments.

Content critical
Without question, customers crave content and experiences. They are making active wallet decisions and aligning with brands that excite and engage with relevant interactions while also providing seamless, frictionless digital engagements that enhance and enrich the customer’s world. From self-service experiences that enable everything from a speedy checkout to bank transactions to the customer’s call for more mobile content, it is the customer that is most clearly outlining where, when and how they want to engage.

Yes, brands are under more pressure than ever before to deliver a compelling digital experience, but achieving that can be one of the greatest challenges facing an organisation.

“Every marketer should have, as their ultimate goal, the desire to design and deliver an amazing, integrated customer experience that’s memorable in the best ways,” says Paul Robson, president of Adobe Asia Pacific.

So what’s next for this quickly advancing area? The report stresses that marketers should not fall into a digital comfort zone and continually advance and innovate their approach to digital.

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