While much of the world is back to business, the Asia-Pacific region is preparing for a second round of holiday celebrations: On Feb. 19 we welcome the Chinese New Year–the Year of the Sheep.
People born in the Year of the Sheep (also referred to as the Year of the Goat) are characterized as honest, personable, and empathetic. They also are thought to be highly emotionally engaged with others and happiest when part of a crowd.
It’s an approach marketers in the region should be keen to channel because 2015 also promises to be the Year of the Customer, according to Adobe’s recently released “2015 Digital Trends” report. (Adobe is CMO.com’s parent company.) Throughout the world, marketers will be looking to technology to optimise the customer experience and to track customer movements online and offline across multiple screens and devices.
While the Asia-Pacific region shares a global focus on the customer, this region is distinct in terms of the vast opportunities for marketers who understand the mobile space: Here, Asia-Pacific consumers are more likely to connect via a smartphone than through any other interface. As a result, this year the very best marketers in the region will take their mobile strategies the next step to break down the business silos that have prevented effective personalisation.
At the same time, content marketing, which has lagged in a region with diverse linguistic and cultural traditions, is finally gaining recognition for the impact it can have in creating deep engagement with brands. This has redirected the conversation from the “inside-out” to the “outside-in,” as marketers shift their focus to what customers are saying rather than their own messaging.
Most importantly, however, in the Asia-Pacific region we’re finally seeing a higher level of marketing sophistication in the digitally savvy organisations that recognise brand messaging needs to become central at every point of customer engagement.
This, in turn, is forcing organisations to create a more integrated approach to their messaging. Marketing is no longer simply carried out by the marketing department, but at every customer touch point–fundamentally changing the way organisations deliver on their brand experience.
The conventional marketing focus on product, price, place, and promotion has been brushed aside as marketing becomes a highly strategic partner across the business in helping to design the customer journey. This experiential approach to marketing is still in its infancy, but it will become more important given the focus on customer experience.
Although technology underpins much of this transformation, there has been a dramatic change in the way it is perceived. Gone are the days when we expected technology to provide a kind of “transformation in a box,” where all we would have to do was unwrap it and turn it on. We now know that it takes time, strategy, and effort in order to secure technology-based transformation. This new level of realism is having a dramatic effect on how organisations are selecting and implementing new platforms and approaches.
Technology now has a clearly defined strategic goal, and, in this new year, mobility and customer experience will collide to create cross-channel and multichannel marketing campaigns that allow customers to experience a brand, rather than watch an ad.
So as we click over to the Year of the Sheep–and the Year of the Customer–be prepared to sharpen your strategies, break down your silos, and take your customers on a journey.