#AOTYAwards spills: Hashtag Interactive's managing partner on the future of digital


Digital agency Hashtag Interactive walked away with a bronze award for "Content marketing agency of the year" at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE's Agency of the Year Awards 2020. Focused on helping brands reach more audiences digitally with interactive solutions, Hashtag Interactive takes pride in curating digital solutions that connect brands' online persona with their offline activities to eventually drive their business forward.

The agency also strives to help its clients get the most value out of every dollar invested, which came into play especially during 2020 when brands are more budget-conscious. We speak to Mina Sunico-Chin, managing partner of Hashtag Interactive, to find out what are some future marketing trends in a post-COVID world, and what makes great marketing these days.  

What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your agency?

Sunico-Chin: Same as before, our clients will continue to expect high-quality work and great service from Hashtag Interactive as this is a bar that continually gets raised with each passing year. It is an honour to receive the bronze award for content marketing agency of the year, and this recognition will only help to spur the team to continue creating awesome work for our clients.

How has your clients' marketing plans shifted this year? 

Sunico-Chin: Digital marketing has always been about helping our clients get the most out of every dollar invested in this segment. This year just amplified this need to be strategic with smart spending that still drives business objectives. This year, we noticed more clients willing to be more adventurous and eager to experiment with new formats and platforms, but still with a greater sense of fiscal prudence tempering these efforts.

What are some of the trends you see carrying on post-pandemic, and how are you readying your workforce to be ready with these trends? 

Sunico-Chin: Every year we have seen increased competition in the digital marketing space with more and more players vying for consumer attention for both brands and agencies. The pandemic has pushed this focus on digital more with brands needing to grow their online presence with the diminished demand for in-person transactions at physical locations.

We definitely expect certain industry trends to continue, such as the rise of TikTok as a key platform for compelling content and more creatively driving brand messages. The need to find new ways to socialise from home has also helped to drive the value of live video for getting messages across with more and more independent content creators adding their voices to the public space.

We continue to focus efforts internally on studying emerging trends and experimenting with new features being introduced across the different digital marketing channels. We’ve also worked on improving our internal processes after much reflection this year, all to continue to drive internal improvements. This pandemic has, to some degree, encouraged many clients to explore new digital solutions and we remain committed to helping them break new ground and open up new channels to engage with their target audiences.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Sunico-Chin: In our experience, especially with the diversity of the digital marketing landscape, it’s not always the biggest budget or the most elaborate productions that get the most mileage. Sometimes it’s the simplest, most practical and ultimately direct ideas that make the most impact on consumers. What is most important is to understand where your consumers are in order to get the right messages to them at the right time in order to best resonate with their priorities. Marketing is most effective when you’re able to give the consumers what they want to see or hear instead of just pushing your own agenda across your media channels.

How are you planning for 2021?

Sunico-Chin: We think Hashtag Interactive weathered 2020 surprisingly well, despite the challenges of the pandemic and other events. The Content marketing agency of the year bronze award was definitely a special feather in our cap. We also managed to onboard several new accounts this year including one for regional content development that we’re very excited about.

A large part of the Hashtag Interactive culture is embracing the need to continually try new things in the digital marketing space and grow the team in line with more creative projects in the pipeline - and we’re going to continue to do this in the next year. Internally, the team has always taken on a variety of projects that challenge our creativity, exploring new executions and platforms that we haven’t tried before. This in turns fuels the work we do for clients, in terms of stretching our skills and also educating clients on the many creative ways to realise their objectives.