#MobExAwards spills: How ADA is gearing up to further push digital agendas

Stealing the show at the MobEx Awards 2020 is digital agency ADA, which bagged a total of six gold awards, four silver awards, and six bronze awards across various categories. On top of that, the agency took home the prestigious title of "Best of Show - Agency". 

Operating across nine markets in South and Southeast Asia, ADA is a data and artificial intelligence company that designs and executes integrated digital, analytics, and marketing solutions. The agency aims to provide data-driven creative marketing strategies, as well as end-to-end digital marketing solutions to help its clients grow their businesses. 

In an exclusive interview with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, Srinivas Gattamneni, CEO of ADA, shares the agency's thought processes and how its clients' expectations are increasingly digitally-driven. Gattamneni (pictured) also shares some key marketing trends that he thinks are here to stay in the post-COVID era, as well as what the agency will be focusing on this year to help clients drive their digital agenda even further. 

More on the interview here.

1. What are some of the expectations your consumers now have for your brand?

Gattamneni: Our client requirements have sky rocketed in the new digital world; they are increasingly asking us to fulfill all their digital requirements from analytics, to digital marketing to marketing technology and eCommerce enablement. They expect us to be a valuable business partner that builds a greater future with our data and insights with impactful digital solutions. Some aspects where they are looking for help includes providing a sustainable digital strategy and solution to drive digital maturity, as well as measurement of important metrics such as cost per lead, return on ad spend (ROAS), and more. 

2. How has your clients' marketing plans shifted this year?

Gattamneni: Our clients are making substantial changes across the entire marketing funnel. They are increasing their budgets in the insight generation as the marketing mix models and consumer insights of yester-years are less relevant anymore. Hence they are allocated more budget towards actionable consumer insights.

On creative, the budgets have been cut across the board. Hence clients are re-applying existing creative assets with more adaptation instead of embarking on new production. As for media, there is a higher focus on bottom of funnel marketing to drive tangible revenue outcomes. This means lesser spending on awareness campaigns.

Finally, there is heightened focus on eCommerce enablement leveraging own and third party digital channels. Clients are allocating substantial budgets towards licensing and implementing marketing tech to manage their customers engagement on their apps and websites. Ultimately, clients are all focused on demonstrating tangible value from marketing investment and defend budgets.

3. 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?

Gattamneni: Four key trends that we think are here to stay are:

  • Audience activation technology to produce audience insights
  • AI tools to propels velocity of content production
  • Audience platforms to automate much of the media planning workstream
  • Integrated eCommerce enablement and digital distribution approach with media and content

With that in mind, ADA is focused on the following main themes:

  • Investing in technology: We have earmarked over US$30m to invest in data and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, especially in areas of business insights generation, marketing technology and digital distribution.
  • Upskilling our talent: We are helping our workforce learn more broader skills beyond the digital marketing knowledge. This includes areas such as digital psychology, customer funnel optimisation, platforms and algorithms, digital lead generation, digital content marketing and various data-led research tools.
  • Enabling automation: We are orchestrating an ecosystem of marketing technology partners to enable automation leverage tech in creative automation, customer data platforms and measurement and attribution.

4. What do you think makes for great marketing these days?

Gattamneni: To achieve great marketing, marketers have to be agile and open-minded to new ways of engaging with their consumers. They also have to focus on generating more original and incisive ideas typically focused on personalisation to target their audiences. Marketers should also engage in rapid experimentation of the ideas to find which ones deliver maximum ROI. Following that, they can double down on the high ROI experiments to extract value from the marketing investment.

5. How are you planning for 2021?

Gattamneni: We will be launching eCommerce enablement for our clients across all sectors in telcos, banking and financial services, insurance. The focus is to help them shift their revenue from traditional to digital channels. Additionally, we will be working to instill dedicated customer experience and marketing technologists in every client team to help drive the digital agenda for the client. Last but not least, we will be investing heavily in data and AI capabilities from audience creation to rapid audience activation.