Merkle has been making its presence felt all across Singapore. In 2021, the agency took home the bronze in Excellence in Loyalty Marketing and came in as a finalist for Excellence in Influencer / KOL Marketing, Excellence in Marketing to a Specific Audience, Excellence in Search Marketing.
In this interview, managing director of Merkle Singapore, Sanchit Mendiratta (pictured), shares that one crucial change brought about in 2021 for the agency, which propelled its growth is how consumers interact with brands and how they expect brands to handle their data and privacy. "Consumers are expecting more from brands, but they also wait for no one. It’s very competitive out there and every brand is fighting for consumers’ dollars (and attention), so brands need to meet their customers where they are and do what is needed to be effective for their customers. In the end, we learnt that we need to pay attention to capture attention," he said.
In 2022, the agency has also been laser focused on its rapidly changing face of marketing. "Our plan is simple – we will help brands make the most of the available demand in the market," he said. That will be done by being hyper agile to help clients find creative solutions to make that happen across:
- Platforms - AdTech, MarTech and service stack
- People - we build capabilities
- Process - create operating models to help complex organisations work well across functions
This interview was done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners’ and finalists’ interview series for Marketing Excellence Awards Singapore 2021. To find out more about the awards click here.
Borders and markets are now opening up. How are you leveraging this to your advantage?
Mendiratta: On a personal level, it is great to be meeting clients face-to-face and doing business reviews in person again. Whiteboarding is something that we missed. At Merkle, we deal with some of the most complex use cases relating to customer experience, measurement, and performance marketing, and it’s just so much more efficient to be in the same room to brainstorm solutions to clients’ challenges.
And as an organisation, the face-to-face discussions have helped with our sales effectiveness, because being in a room and the ability to read faces, the excitement, and apprehension, certainly helped us with the consultative approach that clients really like.
What was one shift in the marketing space that caught you by surprise? How did your team pivot?
Mendiratta: During the pandemic, we saw some clients go through budget cuts, but we also enabled some clients to double down on digital marketing and implement a better marketing stack. Our clients in the insurance industry, for example, realised the need to dominate presence digitally when they couldn’t meet customers face-to-face.
With the need to pivot quickly in the digital marketing space and with so many moving pieces, it was difficult for any marketer to keep abreast of all that was happening at any given time. So here’s where we came in to roll out our digital marketing, sales, and service offerings, allowing organisations to bring all things marketing and sales onto one page. It not only helped us to expand the repertoire of offerings but also elevated our approach to components outside of marketing - such as sales, servicing, loyalty, and advocacy. In the end, the client organisations win because of the added capabilities and new understanding.
What is one trend you are excited about which you think will carry on into the new year?
Mendiratta: The immense pressure for brands to care about data and privacy is pushing for brands to take action in their privacy evolution journeys. As third-party cookies stop being supported soon, we see a lot of challenges for brands to adapt. But at the same time, I see this as a good opportunity for brands to take a hard look at their first-party data and ensure that they are getting accurate reporting in the face of privacy regulations and tracking changes. Only when brands work with their technology teams to prioritise working with their first-party data and crack their zero-party strategy, will they be set up to deliver exceptional customer experiences to stay competitive.
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