What we heard at our APAC launch

At Acoustic, we always start by listening. It’s the best way we know to really understand what marketers are facing these days so we can figure out how to help. We had another chance to listen to the challenges of marketers and our clients at our recent Acoustic Asia Pacific & Japan launch in Singapore.

To get everyone thinking about how marketing technology can be better and what it can help everyone achieve, we invited speakers from Forrester, Marketing Magazine, and of course local marketers dealing with today’s hurdles themselves. Here are three of the most interesting things we heard.

1. “Data creates differentiation and competitive advantage.”

Consumers are more connected than ever, but all the channels they can now explore means journeys are more complicated than ever too. This is why investment in data and analytics has been growing so rapidly, as Xiaofeng Wang, Senior Analyst, Forrester noted in her opening presentation, “Data-driven marketing and CMO predictions for 2020.”

Tracking and analyzing those journeys is critical for marketers who can up their game and competitive stance by personalizing interactions with their customers. “There’s been a 21% jump in bringing customer insights in house in the past year,” Wang said, “but many businesses don’t have the analytical resources or experience to mine through all the data they have. They need to find creative ways to get the insights.” This is where AI comes in: to automatically gather and analyze data while also keeping things efficient and accurate.

Revenue and ROI are obviously what we’re all ultimately going for, but you can’t chase it at the expense of long-term customer loyalty and brand value. Insights you get from customer feedback and analytics can be key in getting you specific ways to improve product design, customer journeys and engagement, and overall marketing effectiveness. And AI can start to close the opportunity gap, helping you build more personal, emotional connections with customers through your data.

2. “We need to wake up and figure out what’s important to measure.”

So we’ve got all these great tools, but how do we best use them? “Martech is saturated with noise,” said Anna Gong, Chief Executive Officer & Founder, Perx Technologies Pte Ltd. “80% of acquisition can be vanity metrics.”

In our panel discussion “How can technology make marketing more human?,” Manisha Seewal, Group Chief Marketing Officer, Carro, insightfully shared that, “We need to wake up and figure out what’s important to measure. Budgets will go up, but not everything is worth measuring or adds to a superior customer experience. Measure what matters.”

One of those valuable things to measure can be timing. Ben Tan, ex-CEO, Courts Singapore & Governing Member of Governing Council Member, Management Development Institute of Singapore said, “Everyone sends shopping emails at the end of day, all jamming in at the same time. You can’t just follow the crowd. You have to figure out when is the right time for your customer.”

But even once you’ve succeeded in getting your customer through the door and engaged, it still boils down to conversion. “The whole ecosystem is flawed, with a gaping hole we’re trying to solve,” said Gong, reflecting the struggles marketers (and even giants like Facebook and Google) are currently facing. “It’s the engagement during the last mile, and we need real-time data to solve that.”

3. “Marketing tends to be a cost center – but it should be a profit center.”

Marketers are often faced with the problem of proving their worth in their organization. People can look at it as all non-working dollars, but marketing is becoming central to how business can and should operate. “Marketing tends to be a cost center – but it should be a profit center,” Tan said. “The commercial aggression needs to come out in marketers where they say, ‘I am a profit center.’ Marketers need to look at data and opportunities that the data will give.” He offered an example around doing a potential campaign on mattresses. “Data on the apartments isn’t very hard to get,” Tan said, “so what if we get external data and use AI for that? If I delivered to all these addresses and we find out they’re apartments with three rooms, we can retarget them with a coupon to buy a bed for the next room.”

Coming up with the concept on how to use the data is the most crucial step. Much of the work can be done by the software, gathering the data and executing the plan. In his welcoming comments, Mark Simpson, CEO & Founder of Acoustic said that’s why we’re here. “Acoustic was created to help marketers with an easy solution to giving their customers a great experience.”

And that doesn’t mean that marketers all need to become data scientists. “We want to allow technology to be adopted by much more casual users,” noted Jay Henderson, SVP of Product at Acoustic. This way, marketers can be the catalyst for digital transformation.

“If the CIO is making business decisions, then you’re set up for failure. Period,” Anna Gong said. The person who needs to talk with consumers is someone who understands consumers. So, you have to decide if you’re a follower or a challenger. “The lifespan of today’s CMO is less than 18 months. If you’re not digitally savvy and data-driven, then you’re going to get displaced as CMO. Upskill yourself quickly.”