#MarketingExcellenceAwards spills: Construct Digital builds plans to ready for post-pandemic era


Construct Digital took home the silver for Excellence in Perfomance Marketing and bronze for Excellence in B2B Marketing for clients NUS at this year’s Marketing Excellence Awards. For its clients, the team was able to successfully get students to choose NUS as their institution of choice for MBAs.

Charanjit Singh, managing partner of Construct Digital share with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE a sneak peek into 2021 plans.

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners and finalists’ interview series for Marketing Excellence Awards 2020. To find out more about the awards, click here.

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

Singh: The one expectation that remains a constant in our world is delivering value. Value might mean different things to different clients -- some measure it through metrics such as Return On Ad Spend (RoAS); while others find value in the validation of our combined efforts through wins like the Marketing Excellence Awards. Either way, delivering value has always been Construct Digital’s raison d’etre since we came into existence a decade ago.

A good part of bringing value to our clients comes from delivering innovation, and this year that expectation has shifted from what was previously a ‘want’ to now an absolute ‘need’. It’s been a disruptive year to most businesses and people, many of whom see the adoption of digital marketing strategies or platforms as the solution. So we see a fundamental shift in expectations now where clients don’t just expect us to solve their marketing problem, but rather their business problem – and that’s an expectation we take great pride in meeting.

How has your marketing/your clients marketing plans shifted this year?

Singh: There was an early onset of uncertainty around marketing campaigns and budgets towards the middle of the year, right after the Circuit Breaker was announced in Singapore in early April. We also had clients who had events indefinitely postponed – so suffice to say many plans were shifted, or at least adjusted. But as we all got into the groove of the ‘new normal’, we found that marketing plans began to normalise as well. More than ever, our clients knew that demand generation campaigns were key to sustaining their bottom line so after a small speed bump they too were keen to continue racing ahead.

A big shift that occurred for many of our B2B clients was in their Enterprise sales teams and workflows. What was predominantly ‘face-to-face’ communication was now forced into becoming a ‘screen-to-screen’ experience. Hence, instead of just engaging with Marketing departments, we also found ourselves offering our expertise to their Sales counterparts and helping them engage with their leads/clients more effectively online.

As for our own marketing campaigns, we’ve made adjustments that have enabled us to be more personal in an increasingly impersonal world. An example would be our annual Christmas greeting to our clients this year – which went virtual with a twist: https://christmas2020.constructdigital.net/   

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? 

Singh: Remote working has clearly emerged as the biggest trend of the pandemic era. It’s something we’ve always been keen to explore; and the situation accelerated things for us. We feel it’s here to stay and we’ve been putting measures in place that would allow us to effectively and efficiently WFH moving forward. We’ve also made adjustments to our physical spaces; bringing hot-desking culture to the office and converting more spaces for team collaboration (with the appropriate social distancing measures in place, of course).  

Besides pandemic-driven changes, plenty of trends have emerged on the back of advancements in tech and platforms. For example, Facebook’s recent moves into the Social Commerce space is a trend that we’re following closely and actively developing solutions for. With everyone getting more accustomed to ‘indoor-shopping’, it’s definitely a trend set for incredible growth – a precedence that has already been set in China.

What do you think makes for great marketing these days? 

Singh: That’s a pretty loaded question; and certainly one that can be interpreted in many different ways. From the perspective of a digital marketing agency I suppose in today’s attention-starved world of fast-scrolling Insta-feeds, one could deduce that great marketing is about successfully delivering the right message, to the right audience, at the right time – and triggering the right response; be it a purchase or brand recall.

At its very core however, great marketing produces great outcomes. The latter tends to be the object of our focus when we embark on any marketing campaign. As long as we remain laser focused on delivering a great outcome, great marketing happens naturally.

How are you planning for 2021? 

Singh: There’s an adage that goes “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. But if there’s one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that even the most meticulously laid out plans can sometimes be thrown into whack by forces that are beyond anyone’s control (or even wildest imagination, for that matter). We’ve made changes to how we operate this year, but more importantly, we’ve made changes to how we think about solving problems for both our clients and ourselves. It’s all about adaptability and a willingness to embrace change.