The changing role of digital marketing


This post is sponsored by Mercury.

With the ongoing digital evolution, the functions of public relations and event management have gone through a drastic change over the past decade. Today’s most successful PR and event agencies have embraced savvy and key digital strategies and capabilities to attain a much broader audience that can’t be reached with traditional offline tactics.

COVID-19 has accelerated the reliance of digital resources for the media and marketing landscape with digital migration now a new challenge for businesses to overcome.

With the ongoing digital transition in mind, some of Singapore’s most respected senior marketers across several industries, including finance, healthcare, logistics, retail, luxury, and marketing consultations, gathered on 7 July 2020 for a virtual roundtable discussion on Digital Marketing Transformation – organised by Marketing magazine, and supported by Mercury Marketing and Communications.

Juliana Chu, digital and analytics director for the Asia Pacific region at Kimberly-Clark, said: “Digital has now become the default, especially after COVID. Very few markets even still do TV or offline marketing. Since COVID we’ve gone 100% digital. What is left (of physical) are our hospital programmes where we provide Huggies samples. But now we use Facebook for online acquisitions. We don’t see it as traditional versus digital, but instead: within digital – how do we change?”

Added Mandeep, regional marketing director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Johnson & Johnson eye care: “Ninety five per cent of our marketing budget has now disappeared. Overnight, the engagement model has had to shift online. It’s all new for us, but thankfully we invested in digital resources last year. We try to recreate a similar experience online (compared with face to face). Thankfully our team is willing to learn and grow. 

“The tools we had invested in allowed us to measure engagement success and identify leads for further discussion. We feel that now we’re coming out ahead, as things start to open back up.”

Tjin Lee, managing director at Mercury Marketing, commented: “Everything has become tactical, and this is a challenge to awareness and branding. But this is a timely shift, and we need to tie our strategies to sales. With our high-end clients, we try to be deliberate about what we want to achieve and put out there right now.”

Given the current business climate and technical abilities, Mercury was quick to accelerate digitalisation and now offers several core digital capabilities, including digital and social campaigns, SEO management, digital content marketing, digital re-marketing tactics and advice on an overall strategy for digital transformation.

Today’s consumers embrace digital technology and are socially connected through various digital channels. Singaporeans spend an average of 12 hours a day on digital devices. Recent data revealed that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated five years worth of consumer and business digital adoption over a period of just two to three months.

The COVID-19 crisis has instigated the world to resume most of their life activities through virtual channels. Businesses have also made the necessary transition with most to all communicating and functioning through digital infrastructure, including large conferences, events, and business transactions. 

Substantial marketing efforts have mirrored consumers’ shift to a digital-first/digital-only landscape with the average marketing budget reflecting at least a 70/30 split in favour of digital methods.

Digital marketing offers businesses a new online marketplace, bestowing them with the power to influence their fellow consumers’ purchasing habits of products and services. 

Building the right digital marketing strategy will be crucial to reach targeted customers and generate business revenue. Businesses who can embrace new technology efficiently and renew their business model rapidly will be the ones that stay ahead of their competitors in the near future.

Mercury Marketing’s Lee advises that in the coming months, business leaders need to focus on understanding their vital customers, which has become more crucial than ever to observe how their needs and behaviours have changed.

Meanwhile, companies advancing new digital transformation capabilities need to benchmark their performance against their competitors to establish a ground basis that will eventually help create successful digital marketing strategies in the long run.


Established in 2001, Mercury Marketing and Communications is a full-service integrated agency that offers public relations, social media campaign management, content creation, influencer outreach and management, and creative services. Click here to find out more!