No matter how highly sophisticated their marketing analytics tools, many marketing departments across the Asia-Pacific region invariably use them to do what they already know how to do rather than unleashing their full potential.
That is, they rely on these tools to report on what was rather than predict what is to come, according to the recently released “APAC Digital Directions” report, based on a survey of 648 marketing professionals throughout Australia, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and India.
The good news: The 2015 report reflects a rise in marketing professionals’ confidence around digital transformation and the importance of digital marketing. For example, 93% of those surveyed recognised that digital engagement would drive competitive advantage for their brand. Senior marketers are benefiting from increased management support, with 60% saying they had senior management’s backing to pilot and test digital engagement.
But when we drill into the numbers, we find a profession steadily embracing sophisticated analytics to do what it has always done: report on campaign metrics and performance. In fact, 37% of respondents say they are exclusively using data to report on the past, and only 25% support the idea that customer intelligence should be tied into the development of products and services.
Data is power. It gives marketers the power to understand what happened yesterday, but it also can be used to predict what will happen tomorrow. To a certain degree, professional marketers in the Asia-Pacific region already understand this–although they have yet to use data to its full potential. Data is a time machine that we’ve traditionally used to go backward. Now we have the capacity to travel into the future, but it’s as if we’re stuck in reverse.
Adapt To The Digital Era
The “APAC Digital Directions” report also shows a region stuck in a mentality that digital is just another channel or delivery mechanism rather than the basis of strategic transformation.
The result is an industry in which digital is used to deliver a message but not engage with its recipients. We’re asking questions about how digital fits into our existing strategies, whereas the question should be about where our strategies fit into the digital era.
Yet some marketers are catching on. The research points to a small but influential group of marketers in the region who are flicking the switch forward and making digital intelligence and insight central to their overall business strategies. These business leaders are harnessing the power of predictive analytics to ensure that data informs strategy at every step: product development, design, production, promotion, delivery, and engagement.
Rather than merely tracking existing campaigns, these marketers are using data to identify new opportunities. Rather than using data for reflective reporting, they are using it to interact in real time with customers through multiple channels.
They are not using data to track failure and success; they are using it to fail fast and seek success. They are constantly learning and moving on to new techniques and approaches that make it possible to race ahead of competitors.
In the end, the “APAC Digital Directions” report makes it clear that these more sophisticated marketers are already taking substantial market share from traditional operators, and they will continue to do so as the fail-fast approach becomes more pervasive.
The future, it appears, will belong to those who use data not only to understand what has been, but also to foresee what will be.