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Speakers face the facts at Hong Kong’s first Digital Marketing Asia & Smart Data Summit

At Marketing’s inaugural Hong Kong “Digital Marketing Asia & Smart Data Summit” – a number of speakers examined the roles of data in marketing, the importance of storytelling, influencer marketing, and how to leverage data to achieve goals within the present day digital ecosystem.

Kicking off the conference was a keynote speech by industry leader at Google, Eva Ng, entitled “10 years is an age in digital marketing”.

Ng said during her talk, “In 2010, Eric Schmidt (then-CEO of Google) said Google would be mobile first. However, things had changed in less than a decade. Just seven years later, current CEO Sundar Pichai said Google had switched from mobile first to AI first,”.

Ng went on to explain that – in the age of unified marketing – the marketing landscape has changed significantly. She went on to describe how the evolution from 3G to 5G has opened up opportunities to marketers such as instant response to consumers and streaming services.

After the keynote speech was a panel discussion moderated by Marketing editor Rick Boost on the oft-contentious subject of growth hacking. The panel members included head of marketing at foodpanda, Alex Law, growth strategy manager at HSBC PayMe, Agnes Li, growth lead at Neat,  Iris ten Teije, and , head of digitalisation, Asia Pacific at Schindler, Anna Choi. The panel agreed that the definition of growth hacking had changed throughout the years when it came to mechanics but had retained the same mindset.

“It’s also about the mentality of testing hypothesis. Growth hacking enables us to evaluate our efforts and make changes rapidly, and we can track the performance of our efforts easier compared to using traditional media,” Law said.

Ten Teije said a team of employees with all-rounded skills – particularly in data analytics – were crucial to growth hacking.

Before the networking lunch session, William Hung, business development director of Prizm, gave a talk that laid out how tracking and personalisation was the key to success.

“In the digital world, we can do tracking even before your target audience turns to your customers. Tracking gives you the raw data over the target audiences’ social footprint, behaviours, social ID, and channel engagement, and I believe the true value is to make your customer happy through personalisation,“ Hung said.

Power lunch sponsor of the conference IBM hosted a private lunch for selected participants. Jojo Cheung, chief marketing officer of HKSTP, spoke on how she used the technology hub in Hong Kong to engage citizens, telling them what they have been doing, and persuading them on how the HKSTP could help Hong Kong become an innovation hub.

“We have done too much on sharing facts. Now we narrate the HKSTP brand stories, including our purposes and how we serve our partners and engage stakeholders via technology-enabled interactions and experiences,” Cheung said.

HKSTP had also hosted events to engage with Hongkongers. In late March, the park launched a two-week “Work. Live. Play.”-themed experiential event to showcase the dynamic and vibrant culture present at the science park.

In the afternoon, the event’s focus moved on to influencer marketing. Instagram influencer Tina Chan said brands and marketers need to better reward influencers, as they have spent a great amount of time and effort on research and post-production. Chan also advised brands to create a unique experience for influencers to post genuine content.

Eduard Castell, a delegate of LaLiga Global Network Hong Kong, said that although the audience size of influencers was important, engagement was the clearest indicator as to the loyalty of their audiences.

The final speaker presentation of the conference “Being smart with data” was presented by Akina Ho, head of digital transformation & Innovation of the Great Eagle Company. Ho stated that successful marketers needed to jailbreak the traditional marketing framework.

“Individual personalisation, dynamic and proactive interaction with data – and correctly leveraging machine learning and AI for breakthroughs – are the crux of jailbreaking,”

“Don’t imprison yourself based on what is the proper way of marketing. Right now nothing is proper and everything is open for discovery and exploration. There are no limits,” Ho explained.

The summit closed with a panel entitled, “The digital future, centred around how customer service and customer experience have changed in the age of digitalisation”, which was moderated by chair of the Marketing Society Hong Kong  Darren Chuckry, and featured the panelists: former head of customer engagement for Bluebell Olivia Kosasih, chief digital officer for Dah Chong Hong Holdings Ravel Lai, general manager of HK Express Eric Thain, and director, marketing and customer experience of Hysan Development Co Tiffany Lam.

Lam said that digital technology has changed the behaviours of customers. The estate company now creates unique experiences to make purchases feel more complete, as well as improving touchpoints online and offline to improve ROI. Kosasih added that brands needed to offer on-demand information, as customers have been suffering from information fatigue.

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