Marketing talent in SEA care about completely different things than global counterparts

According to a study by WFA, the most important attribute a company's marketing team can have to attract the best marketing talents in this post-COVID era is strong consumer centricity and obsession. Other important traits globally were strong product innovation pipeline (#2), highly-regarded marketing talent reputation (#3), and falls under a world-class insights organisation (#4).

However, not all marketers are on the same page on this. Unlike their global counterparts,

Southeast Asia marketers were more concerned with the work marketing teams produced, instead of the culture.

Besides having a strong consumer centricity, Southeast Asia respondents are more attracted to marketing teams that deliver very strong creatives, advertising and activation, as compared to other regions globally. When viewed from a global perspective, this attribute ranked fifth in the list. Meanwhile,

Southeast Asian marketers also find it more important that their marketing teams are known for strong digital marketing competencies, instead of whether it has highly-regarded marketing talent reputation.

The latter ranked third globally, but found itself in the bottom three attributes among Southeast Asian marketers.

Southeast Asia also ranked important attributions companies should have differently from the rest of the world.

While global marketers are most attracted to companies that have a strong purpose and mission, respondents from Southeast Asia ranked the number one trait companies should have is a portfolio of strong brands.

Additionally, marketing talents in Southeast Asia are less concerned with companies being sustainable and ethical, as compared to other regions in the world. This attribute ranked third last for Southeast Asian respondents in WFA's survey, while it came in as the fourth most important attribute companies should have globally.


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Attributes for marketing teams globally:

Although marketers from different regions differ slightly in which attribute attracts them most in marketing teams, one attribute emerged as the undisputed champion: having strong consumer centricity. This is even more pertinent for experienced marketers who have been in the industry for more than 20 years. Thus, it is the attribute to work on, should brands want to attract the best talent no matter which market they are looking at.

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According to WFA, this shows that it is crucial for brands to create a culture around their customers and their needs. Besides being able to attract top talent, such a approach will also benefit the company by enhancing customer loyalty and improving business growth, specifically by up to 60% according to Forbes. WFA also brought up examples with Apple and Amazon, which WFA said understand the unique problems and expectations of their customers and offer a cohesive customer experience that meets those expectations. This includes constantly innovating with new design and functionality for its consumers, as seen by Apple's focus on a handful of core products, and Amazon's one-day shipping and easy returns, the report added.

Traits companies should embody globally:

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Although WFA reported that globally, companies that have a strong purpose and mission are the most attractive to respondents, when broken down to different regions it only applies to Europe and Latin America markets. A breakdown by WFA showed that other than Southeast Asia, the MEA and Oceania region also ranked a portfolio of strong brands as most important. Meanwhile marketers in North America ranked solid track record of performance as their most important attributes in companies. 

It is also worthy to note that there are different expectations between female and male marketers. While female marketers ranked a company's strong purpose and mission as their top attribution to consider, male marketers said a strong brand portfolio is the top of theirs.

Female marketers, WFA reported, are also more concerned if the company they work for is sustainable and ethical. However, this attribute was also found to be one of the bottom two attributes that concern marketers at the level of vice-president and above, or those with a career time of more than 20 years. Separately, having strong diversity and inclusion credentials (#6) is also more imperative to female marketers globally.

Data from WFA's report was found through an online survey with 20 questions it conducted in Q3 2020. The respondents were 432 client-side marketers from around the world who were employed at over 200 different companies within more than 15 sectors. These include food and beverage, beauty, finance, automotive, retail, transport, and more. The respondents were made up of 56% female and 42% male marketers

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