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Study: 59% of Asia marketers unprepared for cookieless world

Study: 59% of Asia marketers unprepared for cookieless world

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There has been significant chatter over the past few years about a post-third-party cookie world and how brands should prepare for it. While it is a known fact that brands should double down on first-party data, a recent study by Adobe found that 45% of practitioners in APAC don't feel prepared for marketing in a world without cookies.

The majority of industry players in Asia (59%) rated their preparations for a post-third-party cookie marketing environment as "ineffective/highly ineffective". Meanwhile, 30% of their counterparts in ANZ as well as 25% in India said their preparations were ineffective.

On the flip side, industry players in India seemed to be more prepared than their other counterparts in Asia and ANZ, with 47% of them stating their preparations for a post-third-party cookie have been effective. Only 33% in Asia and 42% in ANZ said the same. Overall, Adobe found that Asia is lagging behind India and ANZ in shifting towards a post-third-party cookie marketing environment and managing first-party data.

The companies in APAC have also had to navigate a complex regulatory landscape. For example, China became the 17th country to introduce a new customer data privacy law last year that is akin to Europe's GDPR. As the regulatory landscape continues to evolve, almost 70% of industry players in APAC consider their organisation "effective/highly effective" in giving customers control over how their data is used. In Asia, this number is 55% for "effective/highly effective".

Industry players in APAC surveyed have also placed a greater onus on businesses to create real value for customers by using data respectfully. The majority of them (60%) consider their organisation to be "effective/highly effective" in using first-party data to personalise the customer experience. 

That said, the majority of senior executives in Asia Pacific (86%) and EMEA (86%) said the sunsetting of third-party cookies is pushing them to create first-party relationships.

While these senior executives see the need for first-party relationships, 83% of them in APAC are concerned about employees having the key skills necessary to deliver effective digital experiences.

For industry players, Adobe found that the lack of digital skills (50%) is considered the joint top barrier impeding APAC successful experience delivery, along with "poor integration between tech systems" (41%) and lack of customer insights (41%). This was more or less similar to last year's sentiment where most companies listed workflow issues (48%) as their main challenge followed by a lack of digital skills and cacapabilities (43%), and legacy technology and systems (37%)

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According to the report, CMOs need to put skills development much higher up on their agendas and seek ways to better automate routine tasks and operations. This will help free up key personnel for higher-value work.

In this aspect, industry players in Asia appear to be heading in the right direction this year. Nearly half of them consider improving the digital capabilities/skills of marketing teams a key operational priority in 2022, and 42% consider driving operational efficiencies through automation to be a key focus this year.

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The constant debate about marketing vs IT

There is still a debate about whether the marketing or IT department should oversee customer data strategy. The report found that 32% of individuals surveyed believe this function should be under marketing while 36% said IT. Meanwhile, 54% believe that IT should take the lead on customer privacy while only 19% feel the same way about marketing taking charge.

Despite this debate, 92% of IT executives say their teams are working more closely with marketing teams, and 88% are involved in decision-making for CX technology. Also, 77% of APAC businesses have a shared vision across marketing and IT.

The pandemic has led to a surge in existing (78%) and new customers (77%) through digital channels in APAC. As a result, 59% of APAC senior executives surveyed plan to boost spending on customer experience management. According to Adobe, this number is the highest compared to their counterparts in Europe (53%) and North America (57%). At the same time, 60% of APAC senior executives surveyed plan to increase spending on customer data technology this year.

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In general, digital customer acquisition is prioritised in APAC over increased customer retention. However, Adobe found that this is not the case in ANZ, where 52% picked increased customer retention as a top two marketing goal. Only 30% of their counterparts in the rest of APAC felt the same way.

Scott Rigby, chief technology advisor, Adobe Asia Pacific and Japan, said understanding and serving a new breed of online consumers, many with mobile-first preferences, has become the new competitive battleground for APAC businesses. "While many organisations are responding decisively by fast-tracking investment in improving the digital experience, spend alone is unlikely to set the leaders apart," he explained.

"Given that 84% of APAC organisations expect the rate of technological and social change to continue at the same or higher levels, developing the skills, agility and innovation required to keep pace should remain a top strategic priority," Rigby added.

Photo courtesy: 123RF

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