Marketing Excellence Awards judge Jack Wong to focus on insight-driven work

As a marketer who has experience on both the brand and agency side, Jack Wong (pictured), Celcom Axiata’s head of digital and consumer brands, is experienced in strategic planning, brand management and event management. Wong, who currently oversees consumer and digital marketing at Celcom, also has a knack for digital and shopper marketing. Before joining the telco, he held marketing and brand building roles on both the client and agency side in Astro, Permanis, Philip Morris International and OgilvyAction.

Wong is a well-known industry figure with over 15 years of experience and as one of the judges for A+M‘s upcoming Marketing Excellence Awards 2019, he said entries that grab his attention are those with a concise and distilled articulation of the business and communication challenge it aims to solve. He also shares with A+M his expectations when working with agency partners.

A+M: What do you hope to see in the submissions for Marketing Excellence Awards Malaysia 2019?


I look forward to see younger home-grown talents and local agencies taking their creative to the next level.

A+M: What type of work stands out to you as a marketer?

Wong: I always look for a concise, distilled articulation of the business and communication challenge it is trying to solve. In essence, the entry will be judged on how creative the solution is, based on how it has defined the challenge.

The next connection points to the entire strategy and looks at how well the insight is articulated. Typically for any challenge, there are several insights that the creative could leverage on.

However, the key consideration for me is why a particular insight is selected over the others. So, articulating why this particular approach is selected over others is always helpful.

Lastly, I look for a magical factor that is simple yet fresh in its execution, an execution that will almost make me say to myself “Wow, this is so simple and yet I haven’t thought of it before”. After looking for that magical moment, I will look for an outstanding result in solving a real challenge.

A+M: What do you look out for when working with agencies?

Wong: Partnership chemistry, being bold and hungry, and having flexibility. I expect to have external marketing partners who are broad-minded and strong in consumer data and insights; a team that can elevate the brand and have digital at the centre of all marketing strategies.

As a marketer, I would also encourage all agencies to say no and step up to reset, rethink and reinvent the clients’ business objective with a ten-fold growth in mind.

Knowledge gaps between clients and agencies are prevalent in this fast-paced ever-changing environment. Hence, the ability to communicate well and learn from each other is critical. Our mindset and openness is the key to unlocking consumer behavior. We need to change by embracing the “new” – new technologies, new way of working and always strive to upskill.

A+M: What do you feel is the biggest challenge marketers in Malaysia face today?

Wong: As a telco marketer in a digital-first culture, although the basic principles of marketing have not changed, I strongly believe that the implementation of marketing strategies is now significantly dependent on technology.

In this age of digital disruption, the two biggest challenges marketers face are upskilling talent to keep up with the fast paced development of digital technologies; and having digital at the centre of our marketing strategies.

A+M: Where is the standard at for Malaysia’s marketing industry? How else can the industry improve as a whole?

Wong: Our craft as a marketer is changing with similar shifts in consumer behaviors. There is a real opportunity for those individuals or an organisation that is dynamic enough to evolve their practices by adopting digital strategies and technologies.

This involves creating new roles and collaborative workplaces that engage and extract the optimal output from these new waves of talent, including developing a sense of value exchange with an ongoing mentorship.