While digital is a core component of communications, communicators gave an average rating of 7.25/10 when asked how well digital capability is integrated within their communications workstream, said a new report by BCW. When asked about their organisation’s use of AI or machine learning to drive and manage content, the rating plummet to 5.72/10, suggesting a need for third-party counsel to help maximise the opportunities new technology such as content labelling offers.
These findings were uncovered by BCW in a study across nine Asia Pacific markets, with 182 senior marketing and communications professionals surveyed. While 98% of communicators in the region are confident in their understanding of digital transformation, only 47% claim to understand it very well.
What are communicators investing in?
Around 71% of Asia-Pacific companies also plan to increase their digital transformation investment by 2025 despite ongoing global economic certainty. This is driven by a need to prioritise effective and efficient engagement with external audiences (56%), planning and implementing effective strategies (54%), and enhanced cross-team collaboration (41%).
Communicators identified digital tool integration (32%), content development and creativity (27%), and cross-team synergy and collaboration (26%) as key areas for investment.
“While digital integration within the communications function in the region has matured in recent years and adoption of new technology tools is continuing at a startling pace, there is a lot of room for improvement,” said Matt Stafford, global president, practices & sectors, and Asia-Pacific President, BCW.
“For businesses to move they must move people, and this data tells us exactly how and why digital transformation is critical to demonstrating how communications can add value to organizations both now and in the future.”
Challenges faced by communicators
This transition will not be without its challenges. While communicators claim proficiency in the use of digital tools, the findings uncover an inability to draw meaningful insights from the wealth of data available.
Half (50%) of those surveyed revealed a need to enhance their digital measurement and evaluation capabilities – indeed, 43% of communicators say they are still adopting data analysis tools – without which they are unable to draw useful insights and drive effective recommendations in real-time.
According to Joe Peng, chief digital officer, Asia-Pacific, BCW many companies across APAC have already built a multichannel engagement strategy that drives the right content through the right digital channels, but that is only one part of an organisation’s digital transformation journey. It is critical they have the right digital ecosystem – the tools, processes, and channels – in place to deliver their strategy and drive meaningful results.
Interestingly, only 31% of communicators surveyed cited insufficient budget as a key barrier to digital transformation.
The findings instead show a widespread lack of senior management direction and participation in the process (49%) to be a greater barrier to success, regardless of the leadership’s ability to recognize the importance of digital transformation.
“The invaluable new data from this survey will enable us to more accurately and effectively help our clients align their communications objectives with their business goals; adopt digital innovation and new technologies, where critical, to improve their audience experience; and deliver more meaningful and long-lasting results," added Peng.