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jan-mar’17

Decision Making:

USE DATA OR INTUITION? PLUS+

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12 Big Data Trends in 2017 20 Winning Big with the customers using data analytics 24 Big Data’s Black Holes The Official Publication of the Marketing Institute of Singapore, the National Body for Sales and Marketing


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Editor’s Note Dear Readers Happy New Year! The celebration is over and many of us may face 2017 with excited anticipation of how big data analytics will enable amazing innovations that create new industries or reinvent others. Others look ahead with anxiety and apprehension, unsure of what the New Year holds for big data.

THE SINGAPORE MARKETER

January - March 2017

Editor Mickey Hee Contributing Writers Chan Yi Wen, David Sanderson, Charles Phua, Veronica Lind, Donald Tan & Rana Banerji, Zoe Lawrence, Robin de Rooij and Bill Salokar MIS EXECUTIVE COUNCIL President Roger Wang 1st Vice President Bhavik Bhatt 2nd Vice President Dr Roger Low Honorary Secretary Gerry Gabriele Seah Honorary Treasurer Jackson Chua Asst Honorary Treasurer Freddy Tan

To shed some light on the road that lies before us, experts from across the big data landscape weigh in with their views for what we can expect in the world of Big Data Analytics in 2017. Before the time of data analytics, marketers use intuition predominantly in making crucial business decisions. Now that we are in the digital age, are you still persistently relying on gut feelings? If you are, it’s time to move out from your comfort zone. I am not telling you to abandon intuition, but to strike a balance between the two. I know it is easier said than done so we are here to help. In this issue, Chan Yi Wen, Head of Content Strategy at Bolt gives you some tips on achieving equilibrium between data analytics and human judgement. Furthermore, with multi-channel engagement becoming a must for marketers, the question is: How do we win big with the customers? The answer is Data Analytics. In Dr Donald Tan’s article, he shared various ways to help marketers to systematically engage with the customers. Building a single customer view and segmenting integrated channel customers are some of the ways that he recommended. There are some really exciting interviews covered in this issue! We managed to invite Roger Graham, Director of Growth & Marketing, Asia Pacific, Hootsuite Media Inc, to get his views on the usage of content to drive organisational success. That’s not all, we also took this chance to interview Darshini Santhanam, APAC Product Marketing Lead, Search Advertising, Microsoft. When we talk search advertising, most of us think of Google. In this interview, Darshini shared how Bingads, could also value-add to companies and some major developments for Bing in year 2017. Darshini is also a new member of Marketing Institute of Singapore. As we embark on a new year, The Singapore Marketer would like to wish you a successful year ahead! Happy flipping!

Co-opted Council Members Lee Kwok Weng Mark Laudi Design & Layout Kelvin Wang Production, Advertising & Circulation Joreen Yee joreen.yee@mis.org.sg Publisher Marketing Institute of Singapore 51 Anson Centre #03-53 Singapore 079904 Tel: (65) 6327 7580 Fax: (65) 6327 9741 Email: singaporemarketer@mis.org.sg Website: www.mis.org.sg

Mickey Hee

Editor

The Singapore Marketer is a quarterly magazine published by Marketing Institute of Singapore. Tel: (65) 6294 7227. Subscription is available upon request; please contact Joreen Yee at joreen.yee@mis.org.sg. The views expressed in The Singapore Marketer do not necessarily represent those of the Marketing Institute of Singapore. No responsibility is accepted by the Institute or its staff for the accuracy of any statement, opinion, or advice contained in the text or advertisements, and readers are advised to rely on their judgment or enquiries, and to consult their own advisers in making any decisions which would affect their interest. All materials appearing in The Singapore Marketer is copyright. No part of the publication may be reproduced without prior written permission of the Marketing Institute of Singapore. The Marketing Institute of Singapore welcomes contributions and letters. These might be edited for clarity or length. Articles, letters and requests to reproduce articles appearing in The Singapore Marketer should be sent to the Editor, Marketing Institute of Singapore, 51 Anson Road, #03-53 Anson Centre, Singapore 079904 or write to singaporemarketer@mis.org.sg.

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Content Page

04 COVER STORY Do we trust our intuition or data when making crucial decisions?

A MARKETER’S STORY

8

Interview with Roger Graham, Hootsuite Media Inc.

FOCUS

12

Big Data Trends in 2017

BUSINESS SCHOOL

24

Dealing with Big Data’s Black Holes

DIGITAL DIGEST

28

A Step-By-Step Guide to Building a More Effective Mobile Marketing Campaign

FEATURE

16

The Smarter Marketer: Analysis in his / her DNA

GURU TALK

20

LEARNING SITE

32

MARKETER@WORK

36

Interview with Darshini Santhanam, Microsoft

Optimising a Brand’s Offering in a Market of Overwhelming Choices

Winning Big with the Customers Using Data Analytics

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Cover Story

Do we trust our

intuition or data

when making crucial decisions? » By Chan Yi Wen

In the digital age, relying on gut instincts or experiences in decision making seems to be a foolish bet. After all, the right data, when used in correct ways, is a powerful tool that packs a punch in marketing. But as the pool of analytics and metrics grow larger, marketers run the risk of over relying on the hard numbers, and may eventually find themselves swimming aimlessly in a massive pool of data chasing down one sparkling data trend after another. Striving for equilibrium between these two contrasting factors is a challenging feat — how can marketers walk the tightrope between data and intuition?

Data-based decision making: It’s a numbers game There’s a tendency for marketers to focus on what’s quantifiable or measurable. And there are good reasons for doing so: data provides reasons that support our stand and gives us the facts we need to present convincing arguments — a critical factor in getting the approval of the board or making a case for an increase in your marketing budget. Data also imbues us with the confidence to make bold and drastic decisions — as was the case for Spotify and Pinterest. Before making the decision to switch from a white background to a black one, Spotify had results of A/B testing (sometimes called split testing) indicating that the change would help improve their bottom line.

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Data is just one part of the input that you take in when thinking about your marketing decisions.

At Pinterest, usage data showed that collecting and curating items online were more popular than making purchase transactions, which was what the platform was originally designed for. This led to a pivot for the company — from “Tote”, an app that was designed to make mobile shopping a fun and easy experience, to what we know as Pinterest today. Other factors come into play too... But it’s all too easy to tumble down a rabbit hole in the pursuit of data-driven marketing. Before you chase after the metrics, stop to ask: “How and why would this benefit our customers? What’s the relevance and accuracy of the data? When and how was it collected? How are we interpreting the data? Does the data represent the reality — or are there other non-data trends and patterns that we’re missing out on?”

Here’s where other “human” elements, like intuition and creativity come into play. Data is just one part of the input that you take in when thinking about your marketing decisions. It doesn’t provide insight into why something happens — whether it is an infographic that goes viral, a social media post that garners thousands of likes and shares or one that draws an online backlash. Understanding the “why” behind these reactions requires a unique blend of critical thinking skills, skepticism, creativity and intuition. Let’s take keyword research as an example. Most keyword search volume is the average of the last 12 months. So before you decide on the right keywords to target, you’ll need to zoom in on the monthly search volume to find out if the searches are gaining in popularity, and to sieve out trends like seasonal spikes.

It’s also important to consider keyword search in a more holistic context, taking into consideration a complex combination of related activities or niche interests that your target audience could be searching for — a large majority of which you’ll miss out on if you’re relying solely on data or suggestions from keyword search tools.


Cover Story To sum it all up... Marketers need to strike a balancing act between data analytics and human judgement when it comes to decision making. Just as how a driver needs to watch the dashboard and look out the windshield when driving, it’s important that marketers achieve a similar equilibrium — or they’ll risk missing out on spotting external trends and information due to a myopic focus on the dashboard metrics. Tips and takeaways: How can you achieve an equilibrium? 1. Support data and intuition with real conversations Engage in real conversations with your consumers through reading and responding to comments, tweets and articles about your articles or company. These qualitative sources offer additional information that you can gather to support the metrics that you have on hand, as well as your gut instincts.

2. Keep the bigger picture in mind Think about how your decisions affect the business at a higher level. For example, the data may show that social media posts with emoticons or cute images increase the engagement with your social media posts. But look beyond the stats to consider other aspects: does this flow in well with your brand voice? Will it appeal to your target audience? 3. Get everyone on the same page And don’t forget to get all your team members on the same page. Consult and check in with various individuals — from the C-levels to your content producers — to find an agreement on striking a balance between data and creativity within your organisation. Moving forward, your team will feel more comfortable expressing their creativity when new opportunities or projects arise.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Chan Yi Wen is the Head of Content Strategy at Bolt, a content marketing company that helps brands create engaging stories through its network of over 1,000 experienced content creators in Asia Pacific. In 2016, she was listed in Forbes 30 Under 30 2016 in Asia Pacific for Media, Marketing & Advertising.

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Interview with Roger Graham,

Director, Growth & Marketing, Asia Pacific Hootsuite Media Inc.

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Roger Graham is the Director of Growth & Marketing for APAC at Hootsuite with over 15 years experience in digital, brand and product marketing. Roger leads the team responsible for growing Hootsuite’s online revenue, demand generation and brand awareness across the APAC region. In this issue of The Singapore Marketer, Roger shares his view points on the usage of content to drive organisational success.

Share with us about your career at Hootsuite, how did you arrive at where you are today? After 15 years leading digital and marketing at tech companies, startups and design firms, I saw the gradual shift to digital evolve into full-blown business disruption. The growth of mobile, social and real-time led to customers expecting more transparent, human and responsive relationships with businesses and brands. I saw an opportunity to be part of the solution, so I joined Hootsuite in 2013 to head

up product marketing. After a year working at Hootsuite’s Vancouver headquarters, I then moved over to Singapore to head up Online Revenue for Asia Pacific. Today I head up Growth & Marketing for Hootsuite, leading a digital and field marketing team focused on lead generation and online revenue. I love working with both creative ideas and data - which is a great fit for what our field and digital marketing teams are leveraging to deliver revenue across APAC.


A Marketer’s Story

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“ How can a brand use data to optimise its content marketing strategy?

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Data is essential to gain insights on where to improve your content marketing programme. Whether you are looking for leads or e-commerce revenue, you first have to think of what your goals are and be very familiar with the steps in the funnel to reach them. Looking at which content drives which behaviours and at what cost, are the core basics in order to optimise your program. At every point in the funnel, content marketing can be measured, with the right attribution model. Social marketing enables real-time tracking of the performance of content. Also, quality content is a strong catalyst for social sharing and employee advocacy. On one end, create free, shareable content for brand advocates to amplify. On the other, lead generation teams can create in-depth, gated content or follow-on content to increase the likelihood that the prospect can be remarketed.

Data is essential to gain insights on where to improve your content marketing programme. What has been your biggest challenge in driving content? Creating great content that delivers results is challenging for a few reasons: • The entire team - from writing to design to digital, need to ensure the whole programme is optimised. • Creating awesome content is not easy to do - and requires a great understanding of the end goals. • Content teams are increasingly important in all stages of the funnel, yet often these teams have been seen as purely writers and designers or creatives - but their role requires them to be included in strategy development - and that is an organisational change.


A Marketer’s Story

Due to manpower and/or time constraint, many content marketers duplicate their message across different platforms. What is your viewpoint on this? And what can be done better? Leveraging your content across platforms is a great idea as it really ensures your message is getting to all of your audiences and you’re saving costs on content creation. The key is to ensure you are delivering content in the format that best fits the platform. As technology and performance marketing move us closer to 1:1 marketing, a one-sizefits-all approach will no longer be effective to deliver the best ROI. It’s critical that marketers spend time to make sure their content is customised to yield the best results.

In your opinion, have data analytics and content truly become the backbone of marketing strategy everywhere? Or is there still room for more? I would argue that data and content have always been the backbone of marketing strategy. It just so happens that in today’s digital age, creating and sharing content is faster and cheaper. Data is much more readily available and more precise - but that creates a different problem. Without the right tools, developing actionable insights from data may take longer as there are so many variables. Today you can have hundreds of data points across a customer journey spanning a dozen platforms - so making sense of it all and driving clear action can be cumbersome if you don’t have the resources and systems in place for efficient analytics. Do you think there should be more than one content manager in an organisation? Why? Entirely depends on the size of the organisation and the amount of content being produced. That being said, it’s key to have your content strategist at the table when coming up with marketing programmes or campaigns.

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Focus

Big Data Trends in 2017

» By David Sanderson

Digital marketing is predicted to grow to a $185billion industry by 2017 (Global Entertainment & Media Outlook Report, PwC) and will continue to accelerate. With this growth comes a deluge of marketing data and an increasing demand for data analysis. IDC (Aug 2016) predicts revenue from the sales of big data and business analytics applications, tools, and services will increase more than 50%, from nearly $122 billion in 2015 to more than $187 billion in 2019. Current solutions are not addressing marketing needs in a scalable manner to take data to decision ready formats. However, help is at hand, as advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will be the key for businesses to stay competitive in the future. Here are three key trends we foresee in the coming year:

Small is the new “Big”

The Future is Artificial

Many of our clients are marketers from agencies and technology companies. We first identify their pain points and what information they need to be processed for decision making. What we’ve found is that Big Data, as the name implies, is becoming too big to manage manually. But beyond the volume, the problem is identifying the actual bits of information that are useful and relevant. It’s the proverbial “Finding a needle in the haystack.” Big data is the haystack, useful insight is your needle, and the one that will help marketers and brands alike, improve performance and increase their bottom line.

Intelligence, that is. Digital marketing is exploding in growth, and with that comes higher demand for data-savvy marketers. As humans, we have limited stamina and capacity to process vast amounts of data to make smart decisions. Therefore, as marketing becomes more complex, we’ve reached a critical point where the volume of small decisions required in advertising has outstripped the ability for humans to handle manually and effectively. It’s time for technology to take over. With big names such as Amazon, Google’s DeepMind, Facebook, IBM and Microsoft joining forces to accelerate the development of AI, it’s a safe bet to say that AI is going to be significant for the future.

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The importance of data analytics is widely acknowledged but not many marketers are taking genuine steps to embrace the new technologies...

It Gets Easier

Tricks (and Tools) of the Trade

In your toolbelt: Google Alerts

The importance of data analytics is widely acknowledged but not many marketers are taking genuine steps to embrace the new technologies that has emerged with this important trend. Many of such tools are developed for data analysts with coding skills and not necessarily for marketers who do not have in-depth skills. As the shortage in skilled data analysts continues to grow along with the importance of timely insights, more platforms are emerging to help marketers get to the insights they need faster. Ease of use and simple visual representations are the keys to aid non-technical marketers adopt these platforms. These platforms are already available and forward looking brands and agencies have already jumped on the bandwagon.

The reality is that marketers and analysts no longer need to spend hours or weeks wrestling data with pivot tables in Excel, or whichever platform or dashboard they use. Companies don’t need to look for unicorns to hire to make sense of their data and marketers can focus their time on what really matters most - crafting sound business strategies and making informed decisions. Doing so can help in the following important areas:

If you haven’t used Google Alerts, you’re living in the Dark Ages. There still isn’t a better alternative than Google Alerts for reviewing mentions of either your brand name, competitors or even sectors by simply entering keywords. So it comes as no surprise that it is still widely used today to get industry news, even with sites like BuzzSumo and Mention on the scene.

Social campaigns: Brands today are lucky. They can now use social listening and intelligence platforms to put their ear on the ground, then analyse the data, before seamlessly rolling out better-informed campaigns. For example, brand advocacy - these platforms enable you to monitor and strengthen your brand by highlighting positive experiences.

Customer care: Marketers can also proactively track conversations and issues. The best practice is of course to address them before they escalate. With connected technology today, brands can get more sophisticated in analysing trending issues, and even keep tabs on influencers and what they’re saying. This in turn allows them to prioritise issues accordingly.


Focus

In your toolbelt: Hootsuite

In your toolbelt: LinkedIn

In your toolbelt: Nugit

Top of the list is still the old faithful Hootsuite, when it comes to posting updates to social networks and reviewing what people are saying. Despite TweetDeck and SproutSocial aiming for a piece of the pie, Hootsuite seems to be comfortably holding its spot as the most popular free tool for posting and reviewing social media updates.

It’s surprising that many are still under the impression that LinkedIn is only good for recruitment. However, in terms of a B2B social media platform, it is probably one of the best ways to find and target both influencers and decision makers who fall within your buyer persona, effectively cutting out any middle man, especially when coupled with their Sales Navigator tool.

One of the biggest banes marketers and analysts face is wrangling data and putting them into reports that showcase the right insights. But with tools like Nugit, mind numbing reporting gets reduced from hours to just mere minutes. This allows you to focus on more important things like your business and campaign strategies.

Lead generation: When marketers use a social intelligence platform, that is integrated with a marketing automation software, they can tailor their engagement by delivering more targeted messages at the optimum buyer.

Business intelligence (BT): By including BI tools, brands can pull key performance indicators across the business into one platform. They can then benchmark the insights and data collated for better decision-making. This makes it easier to accurately measure results across multiple channels and predict efficacy and implement course correcting measures in their campaigns, thus increasing ROI.

As 2017 approaches, it will get easier for you to find that needle, all thanks to data analytics and AI. The question then won’t be “Can I jump onboard?” but rather, “Why aren’t you on it already?”

ABOUT THE WRITER

An Australian entrepreneur based in Singapore, David Sanderson has over 13 years of digital experience and is passionate about realising the potential of data and technology to deliver better marketing. He believes the combination of AI, data science, scalable engineering and visual design can create enough value for marketers and realise the gains of analytics at scale – faster, more frequent analysis of marketing data.

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Feature

The Smarter Marketer:

Analysis in his / her DNA » By Veronica Lind

There’s a very powerful force out there in Marketing and it’s called Data. Why is that? Because data provides insights. But that only happens if marketers analyse data. Analysis should be a part of every single thing you do in marketing – be it any content, any campaign launches, well - any marketing action. Analysis is a critical step towards marketing success. When you need to know what’s working, what isn’t, and how to implement new solutions and improve your efforts as efficiently as possible, the only way is to analyse your work. Analytics give you -

Goal Setting and Progress Tracking This is how you stay ahead of your lead generation goals so you can have a solid quarter. 1. Leads waterfall Create a graph that helps you visualise the day’s achievements and compare those results against your goals. With the visuals, you can spot the lags and react quickly to pick up the pace. You can use an Excel spreadsheet or a marketing software like Hubspot that provides automatic updates. Either way, you can ask me for a template or demo. 2. Traffic waterfall

• Instant Accountability for Underperformance • Undeniable and Quantifiable Proof of Success Here’s 15 marketing metrics every marketing manager should be tracking and how do you prove ROI to your business.

What to do when you’re falling behind on your web traffic? Create content that draws more readers. 3. Average lead close rate Understand your average time to close a deal. If you’re taking longer than average, you might not be attracting the right people. So consider tweaking your campaign.

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Knowing what content attracts your customers will help improve your marketing efforts.

4. Average leads per business day month over month growth

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This is important if your management wants to achieve the same target every month. But some months like February are shorter with 21 working days. So, work out what do you need to do to achieve the same results in 21 days instead of the usual 24 working days in March, for instance.

Channel Effectiveness By monitoring individual channels like Social media, SEO or email, you gain insights on what works best and understand where you’re investing rightly. 5. Month-to-date (MTD) goal per channel Assuming that you want to generate 100 leads via social media in March. By using the leads per business day metric, set daily social media goals to help you get there. This metric also helps to incentivise your blog team to hit a daily lead goal for their own channel.

6. Close rate per channel

Content Effectiveness

For customer acquisition, do you know which channel works best for your business? Maybe SEO is your best volume-producing lead generation channel for your business and social media is one of your smallest. But what’s the interplay here? Is it possible that social is driving more customers for your business? Analyse to understand the close rates generated by each channel and see the quality of leads. Of course you’d want to invest more in the channel that gives you better leads.

Metrics for your blog post, eBook and other content you have created.

7. Paid vs Organic lead percentage

The new contacts generated through the content forms tell you if you’re attracting a new set of audience for business.

Marketers need to understand the spend on “paid” (e.g. social advertising, sponsored newsletters, etc.) and “organic” (generated by your marketing team’s efforts). Keep a close watch on how much of your leads are coming from one bucket over the other and also set a goal to decrease paid channels as a lead source over time.

8. Leads generated per offer Pro tip: Gate an attractive offer behind a landing page to encourage your visitors to fill out. Track how many people filled out that offer form and compare with your lead volume or with other offers that you’re promoting. Knowing what content attracts your customers will help improve your marketing efforts. 9. Landing page new contacts rate

10. Call-to-action clickthrough rate By monitoring your call-to-action (CTA) clickthrough rate, you’ll be able to understand how valuable that offer is to incoming traffic.


Feature

11. Traffic driving keywords

12. Total MQLs per month

15. MQL conversion rate per offer

This metric evaluates keyword performance based on the traffic that’s coming to your content via your selected keywords. If you have many traffic-producing keywords, you’ve done a great job creating a piece of content that has received significant links and shares, helping it perform better in search engines. If not, adjust your keywords.

Know many of MQLs you are generating monthly. This helps you go to the next stage of nurturing and driving more sales-driven content.

This metric is your tool to measure both MQL conversion and content effectiveness. The “MQL conversion rate per offer” metric indicates the rate a person becomes an MQL, per offer. If 20% of leads became an MQL after attending your webinar versus 10% of leads became an MQL after downloading your ebook, then the webinar has a higher MQL conversion rate. Isn’t it helpful to know what content or activity works best for your business?

Marketing Qualified Leads Marketing Qualified Leads are ready to be converted to sales. The determinants of what makes a MQL will vary e.g. filling out a form, visiting your website five times, and visiting your product page. Or you might decide that a lead is an MQL once it requests a demo. It’s up to you.

13. MQLs per channel Understand the channels that deliver your strongest source of MQLs. 14. Percentage of leads that are MQLs By monitoring what percentage of your leads are MQLs over any given time, you’ll be able to understand how well MQL generation is working compared to lead generation. Ideally, the MQL percentage would grow over time while overall lead volume is increasing.

These are what my clients and I have been working on. If you’re using other metrics, I’d love to hear about them. Let’s all work together as marketers using analytics to make the smartest decisions possible for our businesses.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Veronica Lind is an expert on Inbound Marketing. She is passionate about helping businesses in Australia, Singapore and beyond, grow and connect with more customers. Having deep technology skills, marketing expertise, business development experiences, and having owned several businesses and developed markets globally, she understands how small businesses and large corporations work. Veronica is contactable at lind@vermilionmarketingau.com.

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Guru Talk

Winning big wit h t he Cu stom ers U sing Dat a Analyt i c s

» By Rana Banerji & Dr Donald Tan In a highly competitive market with evolving consumer behaviour, understanding customers is an important step to stay ahead of competition. Traditional customer behaviour has changed over the years with multichannel engagement becoming a must for marketers. Today’s customers are no longer able to interact with organisations through a single channel. 60 percent of consumers search online before making an in-store purchase, according to Nielsen Global Survey of E-commerce Q1 2014, and mobile devices are responsible for 48 percent of all online traffic, according to IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Dec 2013.

Customer-Focus Customers are key contributors to business revenue, therefore having relevant customer intelligence will enable companies to influence customers’ spending by getting existing customers to spend more, gaining new customers and convincing “lost” customers to return. To formulate a successful strategy, one must understand the following: 1. Which prospects and customers to target? 2. Which promotions will improve response rate? 3. Which marketing investment will yield most sales? Looking at customer data and conducting relevant marketing research may yield possible answers to the above questions. In principle, pulling in relevant data should provide the opportunity to improve customer knowledge and insights into their buying behaviour. While this appears to be simple and straight

forward, it may not always be so easy. The Challenges Getting all the right data to begin with may not be as simple, in reality, because different types of data exist all over the place. The data may reside in different systems, inside and outside the company, and often in different incompatible platforms and formats. For Example, Customer behaviour data - which tells What the customer does and Where he/she chooses to do it, sits in multiple transaction systems across the company. Attitudinal data - which says Why a customer behaves in a certain manner or How he/she feels about the product, comes from surveys, product forums, call centre reports, social media, and more.

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To segment, communicate with, and sell to the customers effectively, different types of data need to be blended. Recent survey of 200 business and analytics leaders found that more than 90 percent of respondents cited lack of data blending capability as the primary reason explaining why they cannot get the business insights they need promptly. Getting the right tools and team To overcome common huddles in data analytics, it is important to work with relevant tools and experts to get the best results. Typical areas needed to ensure a workable dataset includes; 1. Data access & integration

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2. Data transformation 3. Data cleansing 4. Data enrichment 5. Data joining 5 Tips on using Data Analytics to Successfully Engage the Customers 1. Build a single customer view The first step to engaging with today’s consumer starts with understanding who they are. For example, it’s important to know that the same customer who was surfing the company’s website from his or her tablet yesterday, also returned merchandise in person to the store last week, or provided product reviews on social media this morning. The true challenge for the multichannel marketer is to identify these multiple touch-points as interactions

by a single customer and to remove disconnects that frequently occur in communication. Access and blend data across various systems. The key to keeping all stakeholders happy is to identify where the insight may reside both inside and outside the organisation, and blend all the data together to build a foundation for a unified customer view. Ensure the quality of the data since poor quality data and duplicate records are a waste of time and budget. Standardising data in different systems, eliminating duplicate records and expunging common data errors, can reduce duplicate promotional materials and mailing errors that cost a company precious budget dollars, plus erode customer confidence and loyalty. Enrich organisational data with third-party insights as augmenting organisational data with third-party information such as trade area demographics and customer location data can provide richer insights to help localise product assortments, determine customers’ propensity to respond to in-store promotions based on drive times, and optimise site selection. 2. Segment integrated channel customers With the right analytical solution, a company may identify its best customers and find more of them. Marketers can segment consumers based on attributes that matter most to their business and analyse those segments to understand

that particular audience better. By gaining a deeper understanding of the organisation’s best (and most profitable) customers, company can target segments with similar attributes effectively. Savvy marketers can prioritise and focus dollars on the most value-generating activities with the best channels to reach a specific consumer segment. For some segments, this may mean more dollars spent towards improving customer loyalty and retention, while for others, it may require introducing new products and services to address unmet needs. Unify channels, platforms and processes with a common customer language to improve customers’ experience across all touch-points with a framework that classifies, describes and targets consumers with a clear, consistent and unified customer value proposition. Communicating this value proposition consistently across all channels will help attract, grow and retain profitable customers and link together campaigns intelligently through newly gained insights. 3. Personalise content, messaging and product recommendations Identify preferred channels for engagement (direct mail, email, mobile, display or other channels) when communicating with customers. Use analytically driven insights about customer preferences to optimise budget allocation across channels and maximise return on investment.


Guru Talk Effectively communicating with consumers by optimising content and delivering the right messages in the right context. Test and iterate identified preferred channels for engagement and optimised messaging. By harnessing the ability to track online data and other assets that are causing sales lifts (or cart abandonment), channel and campaign mix can be optimised more effectively. 4. Measure results, but don’t focus solely on sales “Soft” metrics — such as lifetime value (LTV) of customers, website visits, level of social engagement and interaction experience drivers, like the number of call transfers can be just as valuable as hard metrics, like conversions and call time resolution. Many analytic projects fail due to the lack of a clear outcome-based strategy. Not everything can be measured at the same time. Start with a small project focused on base metrics and use the success there to get executive buy-in. Then, add resources and more complex analyses.

Invest in the right analytics tools to streamline the sharing of data results and insights throughout the organisation. Integrate powerful reporting and file output capabilities into the same intuitive workflow used for data blending and advanced analytics. 5. Reactivate and re-engage Analysing customer data can help identify and target at risk to churn segments and create appropriate campaign strategies. Use data to help answer questions such as: Which customers respond to our campaigns? What is the level of engagement for responders? Who has purchased from us in the past?

• Low risk - customers that have no recorded activity during the last 12 months but have not reduced their overall level of activity Develop messaging strategies by using the analysis to create highly relevant and compelling offers, messaging, and imagery, as part of the reactivation campaigns. These strategies will differ depending upon the segment chosen to target. In Summary With the treated data in place, the team will now be able to gain deeper insights about the customers while continuing on the same analytical workflow. The result will allow the marketing team to

With the analysed customer data, segment it based on activity level. Activities may range from store visits to purchases, or even account transactions, depending on the industry. Here are a few standard segments to consider:

1. Identify the best target segments

• High risk - customers that account for no activity within the last 12 months, and have greatly reduced their overall level of activity (e.g., trading down subscriptions, reducing account balances)

Ultimately, with proper data analytics, the organisation will be able to achieve improved campaign response and marketing effectiveness.

2. Determine the right message and offers to deliver to the customers 3. Understand the best medium and channels to engage the respective segments

ABOUT THE WRITERS

Rana Banerji is the General Manager for Tridant Asia. Tridant is one of Australia’s most reputable specialist consulting firms focused on implementing Performance Management, Business Intelligence, Information Management, Advanced Analytics and Cloud Solutions for both public and private sector organisations. Dr Donald Tan leads data analytics initiatives at Tridant Asia. Dr Tan provides business analysis and advisory for both public and private sector organisation. In addition, Dr Tan conducts training workshops for corporate and lectures on business research and data analytics at the universities. Rana Banerji

Dr Donald Tan

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Business School

De al ing wi t h

Big Data’s Black Holes There are more ways than ever before to connect with consumers, and brands are now using multiple channels to interact with their target audiences. The rise in the number of touchpoints and the ways to connect have created a Big Bang of new digital data sources, providing the input needed to create a more detailed image of the consumers we are trying to reach. However, between these points of light, there are also black holes or gaps in our knowledge, where the data does not provide all of the answers we need. Only a re-engineered approach to research can help fill in these gaps. Where are the gaps in our understanding? The streams of real-time information emanating from the new wave of touchpoints can tell marketers exactly who does what and when, not just for a small sample of people but for everybody interacting with them. However,

black holes start to emerge when we look for the ‘why’ to go with the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘when’ of how people behave. Touchpoints data alone can’t tell you what a person is thinking or feeling when they carry out a particular action. It can’t tell you what their mindset is, what their relationship to your brand is, and whether it’s at all worthwhile spending money on advertising to them. And without this contextual information, all of the other data loses much of its value. The problems of black holes This lack of contextual understanding creates two types of problems for marketers: 1. It undermines the actionability of touchpoints data. Targeting based on behaviour in isolation tends to result in a lot of irrelevant advertising being delivered to the wrong people, with wasted budgets, frustrated

» By Zoe Lawrence

consumers and plummeting ROI. 2. It makes it difficult to optimise on the basis of touchpoints data. If marketers are to make strategic decisions about where to spend their budgets, they need a way of assessing what the relative impact of all of their audience’s different touchpoints are. To which channels should they be directing more of their marketing budgets? 1. Creating actionable insights to target better We gain much from the new streams of data that the touchpoints revolution has provided, but we lose something in exchange: a singlesource view of the consumer that allows us to relate the actions they take to the feelings and motivations they say that they have. For all their weaknesses, traditional surveys provided the opportunity to explore

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Today, data management platforms (DMPs) have the potential to create more complete audiences through combining multiple data sources together.

the context for actions at the same time as establishing what actions had taken place. This enabled us to segment audiences based not just on what they did, but on the basis of their mindsets and receptivity to brands. We need to re-engineer and scale this form of understanding to capitalise on the flood of data being released by touchpoints. Far from losing relevance in the age of Big Data, the art of segmenting an audience is becoming more valuable and actionable than ever. Once, the segments constructed from surveys were largely imprisoned within research reports and PowerPoint presentations; their value dependent on the ability of media planners to match them to audiences you could actually buy. This involved judgments about whether those segments related to people who watched a particular TV show or read a particular magazine. Today, data management platforms

(DMPs) have the potential to create more complete audiences through combining multiple data sources together. Through integrating research-derived segments with touchpoint data, we can identify the behavioural markers that indicate different motivations and mindsets, linking particular patterns of behaviour to what consumers are thinking and feeling. Then, using look-a-like modeling, we can turn relatively small segments based on motivations, consumption occasions, needs and preferences into relevant, targetable audiences that can be combined with behavioural data, and therefore targeted at immense scale. The fact that audience segments could be so much more actionable should encourage marketers to look beyond targeting based solely on behaviour. They should instead start by exploring new ways of understanding their audiences that can unlock growth opportunities when linked to touchpoints data.

This could involve identifying those who have spent with a brand in the past but are open to spending more; it could involve identifying those with the most relevant unmet needs for a new product launch; or those that buy a brand such as Starbucks coffee every morning, but could be persuaded to buy it at lunchtime as well. By identifying how these specific people behave, and when they can be targeted through different touchpoints, we start to fill in the most fundamental Big Data black holes. 2. Optimising your touchpoints To understand what touchpoints actually influence a person’s choices, we first need a more complete picture of all the touchpoints that are involved in a person’s experience of a brand. Things are made more complicated by the fact that our data-driven view of consumers’ digital journeys is far less complete than we would like.


Business School

Cookies compile information about browsing history and provide a view of the sequence of touchpoints leading up to a purchase, but regulations, device incompatibility and the difficulties of relating cookies to individuals (rather than IP addresses) leave significant gaps in the story. Then there’s the plethora of invisible touchpoints – those that take place offline, and those that take place within walled gardens (such as Facebook), which choose not to share their individual-level data externally. The solution, once again, involves upgrading the traditional techniques of research to infuse them more effectively with the flow of Big Data. Larger and more representative survey panels have a key role to play. When members of these panels are linked to user IDs that

record exposure to brands through touchpoints, we are able to explore the impact of those experiences on key brand metrics. This can be done through surveys or by observing the impact on measurable behaviours like sales and site visits. We can then model the likely impact of exposing different audience segments to different combinations of touchpoints.

Towards data agnosticism

Engaging with members of a research panel has the additional advantage of making it easier to integrate different forms of data, including those from the web’s walled gardens. By developing new listening techniques (leveraging smartphones to listen to what ads a person is exposed to, for example) we can start to integrate a view of offline touchpoints as well.

The brands with the most complete and holistic view of their consumers will increasingly be the brands that execute the most effective marketing over both the long and the short term. They will be able to direct budget towards the people that represent the greatest growth opportunities, and they will be able to feed valid insights from their different touchpoints into both their creative and media planning.

The data that we can now source from touchpoints is more representative, less prone to error in identifying who did what and when, and far more immediate in providing the information that we need. In isolation, though, it cannot provide the complete, connected view that marketers need of why people behave in the way that they do.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Zoe Lawrence works with businesses to leverage social, mobile and behavioural data to help brands better engage with their connected consumers. Zoe has been with TNS since 2010, shaping TNS’s thought leadership around the connected consumer.

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Digital Digest

A Step-By-Step Guide to Building a More Effective

Mobile Marketing Campaign Âť By Charles Phua

The dawn of mobile marketing is finally upon us and it is high-time that we leverage it to reach potential customers. However, it is easier said than done. A full-fledged mobile marketing campaign is indispensable to bring revenue for the business through smartphones. Marketing on mobile phones means promoting on the most personal marketing channel of the consumers and, therefore, they have an extremely low tolerance for bad campaigns. To execute a mobile marketing campaign successfully, it is imperative to create an experience that delights your potential customers. Below is a step-by-step guide that is sure to let you design and execute a perfect mobile marketing strategy. 1. Identify Your Target Audience: Today, a majority of people carry highend phones which can very well support the holistic mobile marketing campaign. However, mobile marketing campaigns are not designed for everyone. It is essential to mine the folks from the population who not only carry a top-notch phone but someone who is also interested in your offerings. For instance, knocking the cell phone of someone with a luxury car advertisement message without conducting research on his income or preferred car brand is no less than shooting in the dark.

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...if you know what is that one thing your customers need in order to eradicate their hassle, then it becomes a walk in the park to sell it.

2. Recognise the Needs of Your Target Group: It is very much crucial to fathom what your target audience needs. Nothing is as hard as selling something that no one needs, and efforts put in to convince someone that they need what you are offering. But if you know what is that one thing your customers need in order to eradicate their hassle, then it becomes a walk in the park to sell it. For example; It is summer time, and Mr Wang’s pop-up stall is selling world-class freshly brewed tea at a very low price. Even though the tea tastes terrific, people won’t pay heed to it because to beat the scorching heat, they are looking for something cold or a chilled bottle of water. If Mr Wang changes his product to either one of them, his sales process becomes as smooth as silk. Mobile campaigns work the same way. To make them successful, you have to offer what your customers need at that moment.

3. Align the Need with Your Outcome: “An individual on a journey without a destination is called a lost traveller.” A crystal clear outcome helps in determining the Return on Investment (ROI). An organisation initiating a mobile marketing campaign will have one or some of these agendas: • Acquiring new clients/ customers • Boosting up sales with existing clients/customers • Retaining of current customers • Creating brand visibility and awareness ‘Audi Start-Stop App’ is an example that perfectly goes with this context, which the luxury car brand, Audi, came up. It is a very simple app which detects the open apps that are not in use. After detecting one, it sends a notification to the user to close it, thus, saving the phone’s battery and processing power.

The mobile application promotes Audi’s start-stop technology which turns off the car engine when it is stuck in traffic or stationary in order to save fuel. Now this one application is used by Audi as a brand awareness tool and acquiring new customers at the same time. 4. Right Tool to Get The Desired Result Once the desired outcomes are finalised, choosing the right tool for mobile marketing becomes an apex priority. There is a plethora of tools available to execute the plan, however, only those which add value to your customers should be selected. • Direct Marketing (i.e. telemarketing): It is basically communicating your ideas to a customer directly. For instance, various banks hire telemarketers who know the ins and outs of convincing a customer over a call to purchase various services of the bank.


Digital Digest

• Text Messaging: It is used mostly by the beginners to interact and deliver their message through SMS. • Mobile Web: Customers want every business to have a responsive website (mobilefriendly) so that they don’t have to look for a desktop system or a laptop to access their website. • Mobile Advertising: It is placing the ads of your brand either on other mobile websites or mobile app. • Mobile Marketing on Social Media Platforms: It includes Facebook ads, Google Adwords Ads, etc. for those who are accessing these platforms from their smartphones. Select one of those tools which align more closely with your desired outcomes and provide value to your customers.

5. Launching It on Time: There is no pre-defined time to launch your mobile marketing campaign. Once the aforementioned is sorted, testing of the mobile media is done and the tracking metrics are in place, it is time to press the “Go” button. The mobile marketing campaign demands continuous mobile efforts. If your customers are not aware that you are doing anything on mobile, they are less likely to participate and engage in the same way. 6. Tracking and Optimisation “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” - John Wanamaker Perhaps there was no tracking tools or technique existed when John made that statement but they do now. Mobile marketing

efforts can very well be tracked with oodles of platforms and tools available today. For example, Adjust, App Flyer, Tune, App Annie, Localytics, Kochava, Grab Analytics, etc. The designing and launching of a mobile marketing campaign won’t make any sense unless there is a robust tracking metrics in place to track, analyse and optimise the efforts. Conclusion Mobile marketing campaigns work if businesses can build genuine engagement with customers by understanding them well. A wellresearched and well-structured campaign is sure to build long lasting and meaningful relationship with the customers as well as elevating the awareness and revenue of your brand to several notches.

ABOUT THE WRITER

Charles is an entrepreneur who takes calculated risk. In 2012, he started 360 Night & Day. A social-media-marketing digital company that helps SMEs and brands tell their stories and drive their business results. Currently, he consults and provides marketing advice for companies and brands throughout Asia.

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Learning Site

Optimising a Brand’s Offering in a Market of

Overwhelming Choices » By Robin de Rooij & Bill Salokar Freedom of choice. On the surface it sounds like a good thing, and in market research respondents unequivocally say they prefer to have choices. But with choice comes complexity. Anyone who’s shopped for a car knows this all too well. Diesel, gas, electric, or hybrid? Full-size, mid-size, compact, or subcompact? Which make is more reliable? Which model is best? And then there’s exterior and interior colour, entertainment and communication options, and so on. This dizzying array of options in cars and just about every other product and service today creates a decision dilemma: Consumers find it difficult to choose and even fear making the wrong decisions.

Paradoxically, freedom of choice and the complexity it brings can be paralysing. So, in a market full of choices, how can a brand optimise a product or service to give consumers the freedom to choose without creating decision dilemmas – while benefiting the bottom line? That’s what a telecom company asked SKIM researchers to help them figure out. Freedom of choice vs predefined packages The company offers phone, Internet, and TV in simple, predefined packages, or bundles, as is typical of the telecom industry. Each bundle is tiered for level of performance or features and price: The lowest tier provides basic Internet, phone,

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and TV; the mid-tier provides more robust service; and with the highest tier, customers get very fast Internet, unlimited calling, and lots of TV channels.

The results showed that it would. At first glance, it doesn’t seem to make sense for the company to offer this much choice. But this is not the whole story.

This range of only three options was easy for customers to assess. However, the company was considering offering more freedom of choice by letting customers assemble their own bundles. For example, a customer could choose the fastest Internet, mid-tier phone, and basic TV.

Consumers have preferences not only for products but also for providers. To understand the offer’s effect on market share, it had to be presented in a competitive landscape, not in isolation. The model used randomised the offerings (predefined packages only, freedom of choice only, or both) among providers. The results showed that the company could nearly triple its sales – and revenue – with freedom of choice.

How might this increase freedom impact the company’s revenue? With predefined packages, some customers are paying for a level of TV or phone they might not want in order to get the Internet speed they do want. Customers might embrace their increased freedom by spending less per month. On the other hand, if people prefer choice as much as they say they do, could the company use expanded options to win over customers from its competitors? Unraveling the issue To get at the answers the telecom company needed, several things had to be determined. First, would there in fact be a preference for customising? When presented with predefined packages and the ability to customise their own bundles, respondents clearly favoured customising. Next, would customizing reduce the average monthly expenditure compared with the company’s current offering?

Offering choice was a good move for this telecom company, not just because it satisfies consumers’ preferences without overwhelming them, but because improved understanding of those preferences led to a positive effect on the company’s revenue.

For example, consumers only consider choice to be valuable when they can meaningfully distinguish between the options being offered. Being permitted, or compelled, to choose among a vast selection of things that seem essentially similar might inhibit choice or even lead to rejection of the opportunity to choose. This precept took on added meaning for Dr. Iyengar after a research meeting with a group of Eastern Europeans, accustomed to very little consumer choice. When presented with a selection of seven sodas, these consumers interpreted their choice as binary: soda versus not-soda. The differences between these products were far less meaningful to them than the qualities they shared. Where a Westerner might see this offering as thoughtful (or unremarkable), this group found the choice artificial and meaningless. Who chooses?

What does choice mean? In the design of market research, specific questions about product mix and pricing depend on understanding people’s concepts of choice. Sheena Iyengar, the S. T. Lee Professor of Business in the Management Division at Columbia Business School, is one of the world’s leading experts on choice, and she argues that cultural factors are essential to understanding both basic marketing principles and specific research findings.

Unsurprisingly, Dr. Iyengar’s research has found that Americans believe the primary locus of choice is the individual. In one study, Anglo-American children completed more puzzles more accurately when permitted to choose the puzzles. By contrast, American children of Asian immigrants performed better when they believed that their mothers had chosen the puzzles. The act of choice implies the workings of an individual mind, but for some people, the choice to accede to the preferences of


Learning Site others is a way to establish or strengthen relationships. When individuals conceive of their choices and the outcomes of those choices as connected to the actions of others, they may choose to choose deferentially or collectively. These individuals will not welcome opportunities to choose independently and may consider them socially disruptive. From the research, we learn that it is important for marketers to think about culture and potentially other factors that affect the psychology of choice. Ultimately, we need to understand that different consumers perceive choice differently and it is important to study and understand how these different options are perceived.

Increasing telecom choice Singapore offers an example of freedom of choice in telecom services that goes beyond the case described above. Singtel, a large conglomerate with substantial market share in the mobile and broadband markets, is currently offering a very flexible plan under which consumers can choose different combinations of messages, data, and outgoing talk time. (Incoming talk time is free.) Customers purchase a quantity of “units” for a fixed amount each month. These units can be allocated to three options. A single unit can be used for 25 minutes of talk time, 250 messages, or 0.25GB of data. In addition, consumers can change their selection from month to month, with nearly complete control over what they are paying for. The question is, as we identified earlier, how this option would be perceived; whether this is more flexibility and freedom than people will find useful.

The effort required to reallocate the plan on a monthly basis might outweigh any possible savings or feelings of control. If the consumer chooses not to reallocate the units regularly, then the features of other plans may become more attractive by comparison. Trends and considerations in different markets Whether increasing choice is the right move in another market depends on what’s happening in that market – are consumers pushing for more alternatives or more simplicity? Many automakers, for instance, are trying to strike a balance between the two by figuring out the best way to bundle certain options. The ultimate balance any company should aim to strike is the one between the ideal portfolio structure for consumers and its impact on sales and revenues. That takes asking the right questions for the specific market and arriving at actionable answers through sound research methodology.

ABOUT THE WRITERS

Robin de Rooij is the Director for the brand new SKIM Asia Pacific office in Singapore. He is responsible for building up the right team and ensuring high quality research is performed for all clients in the region Bill Salokar is Vice President, Client Solutions at SKIM. For over 25 years, he has used his training as a statistician to help clients understand customer decisions and develop marketing strategies. His interests include research innovations and behavioural economics. Bill balances critical thinking and problem solving with a sense of fun, imagination, and humour. Robin de Rooij

Bill Salokar

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the singapore marketer jan-mar’17

Interview with Darshini Santhanam,

APAC Marketing Manager, Microsoft Advertising (Member of Marketing Institute of Singapore)

36

As a data-driven marketer, Darshini Santhanam has a track record in delivering adoption, revenue and market share growth through end-to-end management of quality cross-functional programme. The Singapore Marketer is very honoured to have Darshini to share more about Bing Ads and some features that marketers are missing out on.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

How has Bing Ads changed over the past couple of years?

There are many things I enjoy about my job! What I enjoy most is the ability that my job allows to switch between being a product marketer, a brand marketer and a partner marketer and often wearing all three hats simultaneously, depending on the day. The diversity of the job, coupled with the open opportunity to lead the growth of challenger ad platform across the Asia Pacific region, makes it especially exciting for me. Of course, it also helps to have great colleagues to be able to achieve this with.

Most recently, we’ve brought the entire search advertising business inhouse. We’ve expanded our teams across segments with a special focus on top tier advertisers and agencies. We aim to provide the highest level of service by taking a customer-first and agency-first approach. There have also been considerable investments in innovation for Bing users with unique real-time data insight experiences and of course, Bing’s intelligence and search functionality is integrated across Microsoft products including Windows 10 (now on over 400M

devices) as well as in Office and Xbox. Importantly, Bing is powering search across a breadth of third party platforms and services; powering Siri and Spotlight search for Apple, Kindle and Echo search for Amazon and web search for CBS Interactive, AOL, infoSpace and adMarketer globally. This rapid growth is also being recognised as a significant contributor to Microsoft’s business success with search advertising revenue growing 24% in FY16 and 9% in the past quarter. In short, Bing is bigger than you think.


Marketer @ Work

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the singapore marketer jan-mar’17

How can one advertise their business through Bing Ads? Bing is the intelligence behind nearly 11 billion PC searches worldwide. It’s inside the apps, sites and devices people rely on every day, powering search experiences from Yahoo to AOL, Apple to Amazon, and Windows 10 to Xbox. And with the Bing Network, you can connect your brand with Bing’s unique audience to drive more reach and more results.

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What’s more, it’s very easy to get started online with Bing Ads – you simply visit the site and click on the ‘Sign Up’ link on the top right corner. Setting up a new account doesn’t take more than 15 minutes, and it’s even possible to import campaigns from Google AdWords or files with campaign details into the platform and be operational right away.

What are some Bing Ads features that marketers should be taking advantage of? Bing Ads has recently rolled out several exciting updates globally, including Bing Ads Shopping Campaigns, Bing Ads for Android and Keyword Planner, and faster features on Bing Ads Editor. In addition, Bing Ads has rolled out new audience-based buying capabilities with re-marketing and an improved version of UET. Looking forward you can expect to see Bing Ads Editor for Mac, new ad products and additional cross-platform capabilities. We will have more to share later this year. What advice(s) do you have for companies that like to market to APAC customers through Search Advertising? Bing’s ROI is strong. The Bing Network is the world’s number search advertising provider and is a growing contender in the search advertising industry. Marketers should consider the open opportunity to amplify their campaigns on Bing today as it grows in scale across the region, to give themselves the early mover advantage.

What is a reasonable budget for Bing Ads, if you are just starting out? As a guide, I would suggest that it is worth considering the market share as a reasonable budget to begin testing on Bing Ads. Singapore is one of Bing’s fastest growing markets, with The Bing Network pc market share having grown in the past year to its actual 7.6%. In Australia the Bing Network has 14.1% market share and India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia are also between 5-10% and growing. In addition, we are witnessing a unique trend for cross-border investments with advertisers in India and China targeting developed markets such as the US and UK, where double digit growth is apparent – with market share at 31.9% and 23.5% respectively. It is worth remembering that no money is wasted on search advertising.


Marketer @ Work

“

Diversifying search advertising investments means advertisers have the opportunity to truly stretch their dollar and amplify their performance...

What is one of the most common mistakes you see search marketers make? Marketers tend to put all their eggs in one basket. When search marketers put all their search advertising budget in one platform, they lose out on the opportunity to diversify their portfolios and reduce costs all while amplifying performance. Bing’s rise in the industry means marketers now have a legitimate alternative that they can depend on. As can be expected, the system offers transparency around cost-per-click, demographics and other data that lead marketers to take better decisions on where to allocate search advertising dollars. Diversifying search advertising investments means advertisers have the opportunity to truly stretch their dollar and amplify their performance through a platform that is still relatively untapped.

What are the key challenges to be faced and what can search marketers expect from Bing Ads in the year 2017? The online world would be a scary place without search. Search is changing rapidly and evolving from solely providing answers to enabling machine learning, driving direct consumer actions and importantly, its pervasive integration across services and devices and developing technologies such as voice search, are leading to deep understanding of consumer intent. This is critical for marketing strategy development and for helping marketers meet the challenge of reaching consumers in ways that are accretive to their online experience, at the right moment and in more relevant contexts. In the new year, this depth of intent understanding will fuel a new native search advertising solution which could be available through various publisher syndication partners in the new year.

Mobile is obviously a big trend in the industry and continues to be a challenge. Bing is working to increase its presence on mobile through third party platforms as well as their own - but it’s getting to be less about mobile and more about mobility. And people expect technology to make their lives easier and to be able to interact with technology in more human ways. For Microsoft, the conversation of the future is Conversations as a Platform. We imagine a rich ecosystem of conversations, one that includes people to people, people to your personal digital assistant, people to bots and digital assistants to bots on your behalf. Microsoft will be investing deeply and showcasing the developing technologies of the imminent future over the coming year to inspire developers and marketers alike to take an active role in this new realm of engagement.

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