This year wasn’t easy for any of us. But we made through it. As an industry we pivoted, we diversified, we went virtual, we pushed boundaries, we grew, and unfortunately, at times we also shrank. But most notable of all, we all survived. Despite all the changes that this year presented to us, one thing that remained consistent for us was the resilience and collective spirit of the ad industry – which we thought was stronger than ever.
For us at the MARKETING-INTERACTIVE Southeast Asia team, this year has indeed been a challenging one with many of our flagship conferences and award shows having to pivot during the circuit breakers and movement control orders. While we make it our resolution every year to push boundaries, this year the push to grow and innovate and adapt came to us this year as a catastrophic force.
And innovate we did. We kicked of this spirit of innovation with the launch of our podcast in April amidst the circuit breaker. With most of us working from home and border lines darkening, we used the opportunity to kick off our MARKETING CONNECTED series on Spotify. We’ll admit, initially it wasn’t the most sophisticated of means to the madness, but over time we refined our tools, we learnt to adapt and today we have a healthy cult of listeners sending us their recommendations, thoughts and ideas. We also would like to give a special shoutout to our client partners who came on board to lend us their ideas and support on this growing platform.
We also adapted our conferences starting with our renowned Content360 conference which we ran in June. We won’t lie. It was nerve-wrecking given our skills had largely been honed in physical conferences – and trust us, speaking to a camera was by no means easy. And while our Content360 conference was deemed a resounding success (thank you for your support to our clients and attendees!!!), we knew we had a long way to go.
So when we were allowed to head back to the workplace under limited capacity, we decided to convert one of our meeting rooms into a green room. This allowed us to execute our events much more efficiently and allowed for better coordination of the working teams.
With our location set, we turned our focus on to our flagship Digital Marketing Asia conference which is generally held in-market across Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand. With travel conditions still dire, going virtual was our only option. However, what we were cognizant of not loosing was the localised element which is the essence of the MARKETING-INTERACTIVE brand. Our production teams went on an overdrive ensuring we uncovered the hidden gems across Southeast Asia and we launched our first mega conference spanning three weeks - each week covering a different topic pertaining to the world of digital. Over 18 of our client partners stepped in to lend us a helping hand and their support drew us close to a 1,000 attendees across the region.
The experience was phenomenal.
But to be frank with you, our biggest challenge probably came from our awards vertical. We at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE have over the years built a fantastic reputation for our awards for its credibility, experience and networking. With large gatherings unable to get the green light, we wrecked out brains to bring value to our winners and finalists.
After much deliberation, we decided to give our winners and finalists something they are unable to attain during a live award show due to time constraints – an in depth understanding as to why a certain brand/agency came out on top. So we got to action. The team broke down the wins and the works of each of the submissions post our virtual announcements and showcased to the marketing community why a certain brand/agency was deserving of the recognition. We enabled our community to learn and we leaned on our judges for insight. So over the next few months, you will be presented with these case studies through our Brand Highlights segments.
So you see, just like you, we’ve had a busy and somewhat crazy year.
But none of these would matter, if not for your support and your words of encouragement. You’ve showed us your true strength amidst adversity, and we were inspired by each and every one of you. So thank you for opening that daily newsletter blast that lands on your inbox at noon, for your tip offs, for following us on Instagram, and listening to us on Spotify.
Thank you for attending our virtual conferences, round tables and master classes, and sharing with us what you’d like to learn more of. And thank you for your enthusiasm and support in us going virtual with our awards. All of this is truly possible because of you!
So, as the year winds down and comes to a close, we will be taking a short break to recharge and reflect. We’ll be away from the 23 of December 2020 to 4 January 2021. In the meantime we wish you an fantastic holiday with your loved ones, filled with laugher. Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us!
The MARKETING-INTERACTIVE team