iMedia Brand Summit: Day Two

Simon Kemp

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Last week’s iMedia Brand Summit in Bali was an action-packed event, with a host of presentations, panel discussions and roundtables. This post summarises my key take-outs from the second day – you can find a write-up of the opening keynote from Kellogg’s Bob Arnold in a previous post.

Integrating Online and Offline Activities

A the start of day two, I moderated a session on the challenges and opportunities associated with integrating online and offline channels, with marketers from Mondelez, Nokia and Tiger Airways sharing their experiences and questions with a number of other agency participants.

A common theme in the discussion was participants’ difficulties in tracking and measuring the conversion of digital activities in offline channels, although Alex from Nokia shared some invaluable insights into his brand’s use of mobile coupons in Indonesia to drive actual sales of their new Lumia phones.

Rudi from the Mondelez team also shared some insights into their use of attribution modeling on Oreo, explaining how they’re building systems and processes to correlate audience activity in social media with offline sales of the brand’s cookies.

Tiger Airways’s Yingchun said that her brand has also been trying to tie consumers’ online travel research to eventual offline sales in markets like Indonesia, where online purchase of air tickets is not ubiquitous. This prompted a wider discussion about the challenge for marketers in developing markets in Asia to build momentum in eCommerce, due to low levels of credit card penetration and continued low levels of trust in digital payments.

The overall consensus from the discussion group was that traditional purchase funnel models are now redundant, with ‘always on, everywhere’ devices like smartphones – which one participant called ‘new outdoor media’ – completely changing the dynamics of how people move through the cycle of awareness, interest, desire and action.

As a result, the brand marketers in the group stated that they usually don’t have enough data to to make confident, big decisions, and as a result are resorting to quite tactical activities, particularly those that use conventional approaches like coupons but translated to a digital setting.

However, they all agreed these activities  fail to take advantage of the bigger opportunities that broader integration would bring, and concluded that this was one of the areas they are most keen to explore in the coming months.

Digital Strategy in Asia

A little later in the day, the BBC’s Babita Sharma brought marketers from Nike, BMW, Philips and Kao together for an insightful panel discussion on the challenges of planning and creating content for Asia’s diverse audiences.

All participants highlighted the vital importance of cultural understanding, insight and sensitivity when trying to connect with audiences, whether that’s in Asia or anywhere else in the world. Nike’s Brooks brought this to life succinctly by sharing his brand’s experiences in the running category, highlighting some of the stark differences between the way men and women view, and take part in, running throughout the region.

The collective recommendation from the panel was for global brands to stop looking at Asia as ‘one market’, and to invest in building a much richer understanding of the region’s audiences.

BMW’s German also stressed that marketers can’t take anything for granted in Asia; we often make assumptions about audiences, but that often leads to missed connections and opportunities. To illustrate his point, he noted that the youngest average age for buyers of BMW’s top-of-the-range 7 Series in Asia are in Vietnam – a surprise given the country’s ‘developing’ status.

Kao’s Homma extended this point by stating that half of all Pampers buyers on are ma

.36.9w4sle – something that surprised many in the audience.

Philips’s Ashton noted that context and relevance are also vital to creating meaningful digital connections, stating that Philips have been focusing considerable attention on crowd-sourcing and CSR activities in order to build more audience-centric communications.

The concept of the ‘dynamic purchase funnel’ came up during this panel too, with e-commerce being one of the most important – but disruptive – changes to the current ecosystem. The panel agreed that there’s still a long way to go before Asia’s markets become fully ‘e-sales enabled’, but all said that they were very excited about the opportunities digital transactions would bring.

However, the panel all agreed that there is still a considerable ‘expertise gap’ when it comes to digital in Asia. Kao’s Homma said that, despite Japan’s image as a highly digitally-savvy nation, many of its marketers are still incredibly conservative, with the majority of Japanese brands spending just a tiny fraction of their budgets on digital media.

Even at Nike, Brooks said that the brand’s current 60% : 40% budget split between ‘traditional’ and digital channels didn’t go far enough to take advantage of the wide variety of digital opportunities at their disposal, nor did it factor the actual amount of time the brand’s audiences spend on activities across all digital media.

The collective recommendation was to look at new product launches as a golden opportunity to try new marketing approaches, and to trial new ways of harnessing digital channels. However, the secret to success is to balance real audience insights and strategy with technology, and brands need to be careful not to get distracted by ‘shiny new toys’ at the cost of adding real audience value (something we’ve talked about before on the We Are Social blog).

The consensus was that digital still needs greater support from senior management though, and the panel concluded that the greatest challenge in coming months will be to build that top-level buy-in. However, panelists conceded that brand marketers need to get much better at measuring the right things in order to make it easier for senior stakeholders to understand the tangible value that digital marketing can offer.

Nike’s Brooks wrapped the session up by encouraging all attendees to spend some time understanding attribution modelling, and challenged everyone to identify at least one way they could start using it as soon as possible.

Sponsored Sessions

The rest of the day involved specific presentations from agencies and vendors, but a few key themes recurred a number of times:

Programmatic buying was clearly the hot topic of this year’s iMedia Brand Summit, with agencies and client-side marketers alike agreeing that it offers a variety of opportunities to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of digital media buys.

On a related note, many of the presenting agencies stressed the importance of, and opportunities associated with re-targeting. While privacy issues around cookies continue to muddy the waters here, it’s clear that re-targeting has the potential to dramatically improve ROI efficiency across the digital spectrum, including areas like social media and email marketing.

The importance of focusing on people rather than technology echoed in a number of presentations too – something we take every opportunity to stress here at We Are Social as well.

Lastly, here’s a great little social case shared by Phalgun Raju from InMobi:

We’ll share the final summary of day 3’s activities soon, here on the We Are Social blog.