It’s finally 2018!

In collaboration with Digital Marketing Summit Asia, the region’s largest online summit on digital marketing, we have interviewed some of Malaysia’s digital marketing experts on their views for 2018.

Take a look at what they have to say about their biggest takeaways in 2017, digital marketing focus and prediction in 2018!

Maverick Foo

Email & B2B Content Marketing Consultant & Trainer at BDlabs.co

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Back to fundamentals. With the rise of marketing automation, chatbots and drip campaigns even for simple B2C eCommerce Sites, I realised that without strong fundamentals in marketing and psychology, the average marketer and entrepreneur will be lost in the trend and wave of apps. Back to basics such as really understand the customer’s pain points, get into their behaviour and psychology, craft impactful messaging to attract their ever fleeting and diminishing attention. Psychology aside, I realised that marketers without strategies are just pedlars of hope and misguided recommendations. Strong strategies link funnel stages with effective remarketing ads and drip campaigns, so the prospects have a higher frequency of brand message.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Personally, I will delve more into refining my copywriting skills further, to craft messages that are punchier, memorable and attention grabbing. Aside from study would be on learning how religion is being marketed and as a product, shifted its message over the generations. I believe unlocking the fundamentals of how religion is propagated so effectively over the decades will enable me to function better as a marketer.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

Marketing automation. With the marketing channel growing wider and deeper, marketers and entrepreneurs need to start automating small parts of their sales funnel and marketing efforts. Here’s where those with strong 80/20 prioritisation skills will excel, focusing their attention only on the critical 20% that yields 80% of the results. The rest, can either be discarded or automated with minimal supervision.

Sharon Neo 

Co-founder of Digital Marketing Submit Asia

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

That great digital marketing always requires great fundamentals like positioning, the attractiveness of offer, understanding your target audience, etc. 2017 was a year with all the craze about chatbots, automation, and other fancy techs, but a majority of them were unable to perform well sustainably as the fundamentals were not clear.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

In 2018, my personal focus on digital marketing is to be as relevant as possible to my target audience. I hope to put years of experience and content to good use by providing the right information to the right people in the most personalized manner.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

That online learning in Asia will truly take off, something that has been building up for years and about to hit a critical mass, as people get increasingly comfortable consuming and interacting online on a regular basis. In addition, more people are also more familiar with creating content online.

Keith Liew

Brand Manager at Sushivid.com

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Embrace digital like you embrace your cup of coffee in the morning. There are so many opportunities today for brands to market themselves digitally but many are placing their money on things that don’t really work. It could be the execution or that the market just isn’t into your product or services. My biggest takeaway is that digital marketing is always a trial and error. You need to keep experimenting, combining and most importantly be patient. Digital marketing is ever changing and growing like a child on steroids. Spend more time to understand why are you doing this strategy instead of what this strategy can help you obtain. This will definitely open more doors in terms of ideas and possibilities.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Currently, my north star would be to define a strategy that will bring a better user experience and better content to the customer journey, bridging the offline and online divide. At the end of the day, customers come first and without them, everyone loses. Make customers feel like they want something without really selling them anything. All you have to do is just to plant the idea.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

Content marketing is definitely the cornerstone of digital marketing for 2018 to sharpen the customer engagement strategy. This makes sense because the percentage of adblockers is notoriously on the rise and millennials today are way more savvy to identify something that brings value instead of just being sold by a web banner or a pop-up. Digital marketers should invest more time into influencer marketing but do it only if you understand the fundamentals and only if you see value for your brand. If executed well, it can bring a tremendous amount of attention and affinity.

Ann Khoo

Head of Digital at Hermo Creative Sdn Bhd 

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

AI and machine learning is key in order to make sound data-driven decisions. Data played a key role this year in enhancing customer segmentation and ensuring accurate targeting. Paid ad channels remain the top channels and has driven a chunk of traffic into the website- but the glow from social media is wearing off as algorithms and filters are improved to only show users what they want to see- so it is crucial to always serve the right ad to the right target. Push marketing channels such as browser-enabled and app push notifications have shown great ROAS and will continue to do so in 2018. Chatbots have also been a predominant feature that has an increasing value for most product and service based online portals.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

A deeper investment into machine learning technologies is essential for all marketing channels. Also, perhaps a deeper perspective into enhanced segmentation of new and returning users and funnelling them with the right ads via the right channels. Content wise, I would be focusing on the use of more rich media formats. Performance-based algorithms will be enhanced to further stretch our marketing dollar in terms of hypertargeting. Another important pillar for 2018 is a constant refresh of web/app UI/UX features for continuous top-notch front-end experience for our users.  

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

With the increasing importance of Social Influencers/KOL marketing to generate brand awareness, new social CRM and content marketing tools and trends will be introduced. There will be an uptrend in social customer service through integrating online social CRM and automated processes and enhanced reporting dashboards that report social listening and media monitoring. Social platforms such as Instagram and Whatsapp will be the next paid platforms to look out for. and mobile app marketing software players will be making even better enhancements as the world switches over to a mobile first shift. Machine learning engineering will also be a key focus as data remains a key driver for the year.

Melissa Lee

Head of GetResponse Malaysia

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Marketers are getting more savvy and smarter. Companies are investing in new technologies a lot more, and are more willing to try new things.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

More focus on using digital marketing for retention.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

More integrated campaigns with a huge focus on integrated CRM and marketing automation.

Khai Yong

Head of Growth/Marketing  at NEXT Academy Malaysia

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

2017 was the year for videos. Those viral videos with the black borders and captions literally broke the internet. Coupled with trending topics and targeted at the right audience, many businesses were able to generate video content with high engagement in their respective niches.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

My focus will be on SaaS marketing. SaaS companies are doing great in the Valley and I want to use my skills to help more SaaS companies flourish in this region.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

There is going to be a big shift from how marketers communicate with their prospects and customers. Gone are the days of the linear email drip series or newsletters. Conversations will be more intuitive, cross-channel, multi-platform (messenger bot, live chat, WhatsApp etc) and event-driven (for example when a prospect performs a specific action on your website).

Alina Salimbayeva

Senior Brand Marketing Manager at Mindvalley Malaysia.

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Video & AI In today’s fast-paced world, customers are no longer satisfied with the traditional means of advertisement. They have higher expectations from brands than ever before. They don’t just want to be informed and sold, they want to be engaged and entertained. No wonder why video was one of the hottest trends in inbound marketing and sales in 2017. It is definitely one of the few types of online material that provides a more personal and engaging way to connect with your audiences. According to HubSpot report, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video about it and a third of all the time people spend online is dedicated to watching videos. 2017 was also the year of chatbots & artificial intelligence. Today, chatbots, fueled by AI, are dramatically changing business and transforming the customer experience. While providing more personalized content, chatbots collect a lot of data which of course translates to understanding your customers’ needs better and providing them with the best solution.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

This year we will continue focusing on quality of our marketing campaigns and create even deeper and more dynamic level of personalized engagement with our audience using chatbots & video.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

Companies should focus even more on personalization and customer experience. AI in 2018 will be the key to this personalization. Unlike people, machines are able to collect big sets of customer data and immediately identify trends that could turn into competitive advantages. This allows marketers to measure the success of their digital marketing strategy faster, and adjust it in real-time.

Fione Tan

CEO at 28Mall.com & eOneNet.com 

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Regular users can now be celebs online too and it’s no longer limited to YouTuber and Bloggers. Customers want to see what normal people also use and trust their recommendations rather than celebrity focused endorsements.

Malaysia has more SMEs keen to do export via the Internet, however, rather than being in traditional trading business, it’s time to focus on brand building to differentiate yourself from the other international competitors

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

28Mall.com online shopping deals to expand to beyond regular products, to add more service and lifestyle focused purchases.

Online to Offline Marketing continues to link more retailers with Online Audiences.

Bringing Malaysian brands to China and promoting via digital marketing campaigns in China including China live broadcast, Online eCommerce Platforms and KOL influencer marketing via our trained Miss Social Media ambassadors from Miss Talent International Competition.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

South East Asia embraces more Online Broadcast App – Live broadcast app that has been popular in China, Taiwan picks up in Malaysia.

More people want to be the next KOL (Wang Hong), where normal users can be online celebs and gain followers instead of just “celebrity-focused” KOLs

Mobile messaging apps will add more powerful eCommerce functions

Gerald Soh

Founder & CEO of GeraldSoh.com

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

My biggest takeaway this year is that consumers are getting smarter, they have more choices, they are more demanding and have higher expectations. This is a good thing because it “forces” companies and brands to focus on customer happiness and retention. If they don’t take good care of their customers, they will go to another company. Technology has made it so easy for consumers to find information online, to purchase products online within a few clicks and to voice their opinions via social media. While acquiring new customers is important, I truly believe that it is even more important to retain happy customers that will become your loyal fans for life. A great product or service with great customer service is vital to building a profitable and sustainable long-term business.  Any companies/brands with sub-par products or services won’t be able to sustain for long.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

We’ll be doing the same in 2018 for our existing businesses – focusing on creating more great quality products and providing the best service to our customers. Most of our marketing efforts are in Facebook now and we will expand more to other platforms like Instagram, Google and YouTube.Besides this, we will be launching a new brand that incorporates charity as a way of giving back to the society. Basically, a portion of our profits from this new business will be used to provide better healthcare and education for the less fortunate children in Nepal. We will be leveraging celebrity influencers to grow this brand organically with minimal paid advertising for a good cause. Influencer marketing is definitely one of our main strategy for this new venture.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

I believe that Asia and South American countries have great potential. Just look at the number of Facebook users in India, Brazil and Indonesia – their percentage of growth is amazing. These 3 countries are the top 4 countries with the most Facebook users besides the United States (at number 2). If you’re running any paid advertising on Facebook, do pay close attention to these few countries (besides just United States, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia).

Rachel Tan

Marketing Lead at Shopee

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Businesses should constantly adapt to trends to stay relevant, or they become obsolete. And user experience comes first. People have shorter attention span and plenty of options. The way to engage with users is to focus on how we make them feel as a brand and how we add value to their lives. Measuring the right data also helps with marketing as much as constant product development and innovation. When creating a campaign always have users in mind. Set clear objectives, goals and measurements so you can adapt and make changes to optimize results.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Customer experience, branding and retention will be a key focus. Besides creating the best product with a great user experience, community building will be part of our sustenance and user retention plan. We want to attract and retain the right kind of customer for our platform.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

Video and content marketing will continue to populate our screens. For 2018, I foresee more brands venturing into affiliate programs and mobile-first solutions, whereas to enhance the user experience, Virtual Wallets and cashless payment methods will be one of the primary options when people make a purchase.

Adrian Lim

CEO at VLT

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

There has been a major shift in the way content and services are consumed. We’re starting to see traditional platforms and channels are going become irrelevant as consumers become more selective, educated and focused.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Our focus has shifted to where we started, technology and innovation. Technology and innovating products or experience directly impact organizations, products, customers, user interface design and service. So delivering customer experience and user experience is key.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

My prediction for 2018 is that digital marketing becomes smarter with the rise of AI and the integration of e-commerce which can result the user gets served the content, (through data and targeting – because of user interest ), directed to chatbot, customise the service or product through automation and then purchase. Post-purchase, user may review or share, and the cycles continue. Look out for Amazon.

Andreas Vogiatzakis

CEO at Havas Media Group Malaysia

 

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

More fragmentation, and more concerns about what are the true deliverables of digital. There was an accentuated sense of urgency for going digital, which is good.There is also a massive misunderstanding of what digital can and cannot deliver. I saw a higher value put on social platforms, and a need to leverage these better. I believe this trend will continue with content becoming more critical. Relevant content that is.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Our focus will be to ensure we create and share content that is personal, relevant, add value and is meaningful. Of course, in order to do so, we will focus further on data and extract insights and knowledge that will help us in our quest of creating meaningful connections between brands and their customers.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

More focus on relevant social content. Content that tells stories to resonate in the audiences’ hearts and minds, and content that adds meaning. I envision more focus and effort on creating content that is more personalized and adds value. Brands are now understanding more & more the urgency to become meaningful and fulfil personal benefits in order to succeed. Only true engagement will enable them to do that, and since content in social platforms can be perhaps the most critical tool, I see the focus to be shifted into creating relevant, personal, meaningful content.

Derek Toh 

Founder & CEO at WOBB

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Digital marketing has much higher conversion rates than offline marketing because your audience can take action immediately when seeing your advertising. Having said that, for you to reach a large market, creating offline presence helps create credibility for your business in the long run, but it should come after you’ve exhausted a lot of the digital avenues. Social media and mobile are here in a big way, and many companies want to use digital for marketing and recruitment, but don’t really understand it, and need help.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

At WOBB, because we focus on helping employers attract quality talent via the digital space, we will continue to invest a lot of resources to create content that both job seekers and employers love. Creating great content that gets shared by your audience is both an art and a science, and it’s what we will be focusing on

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

More Malaysian companies will realise they have to embrace digital marketing in order to succeed, so it’s going to get crowded, but due to lack of experience, many won’t be effectively using their resources as being effective in the digital space is different from offline. They will need help.

Faizolhardi Zubairy

Head Internal Communications & Digital Media at PETRONAS Dagangan Berhad 

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

Brand must be quick to adapt quickly in order to survive the perpetually changing digital landscape where technology and marketing converge. The consumer is at the center where strategies, platforms and channels are evolving and becoming more fragmented.  Sure, there are more opportunities for marketers to connect with and engage their target market then there were before. But this also brings a different sets of complexity and the inherent challenge this creates in terms of ensuring interactions consistent across multiple channels and ensuring a seamless experience for the consumer.

Modern marketer must be extremely agile, “always-on,” willing to take calculated risk to continuously innovate, watch, learn, experiment and move forward while safeguarding brand’s reputation.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Deliver high quality, engaging, impactful and relevant content through an inclusive Omni-channel approach that puts the customer at the center of the strategy.

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

Year on year we have seen many versions of predictions be it channels, platforms or tech and we’ve seen the hits and misses.  For me, I would say data driven marketing will have a bigger role to play. But the core to whatever we do as marketer is the role of human element plays. Thorough understanding of both emotional and functional needs will help marketers to effectively apply data, technology and communication to deliver the most relevant and positive experience for the customer.

In essence, the real disruptor is will always going to be the consumer in which their needs, latent needs and demands will affect the landscape, innovation, product design, offerings and strategy.

Irene Chuah

E-commerce Consultant at SiteGiant

YOUR BIGGEST TAKEAWAY FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2017

When things are going mobile, you can’t ignore the fact that your contents need to be mobile friendly and so-you-call thumb stopping. If your ads are not interesting, viewers will just swipe it up within 2 seconds. However, it’s interesting to see the change from normal ads to mobile-friendly ads.

YOUR DIGITAL MARKETING FOCUS IN 2018

Get a better understanding of our customers and potential customers, looking forward to making more engagement with them and make things happen!

YOUR #1 PREDICTION FOR DIGITAL MARKETING IN 2018

Not much to predict, as digital marketing is always unpredictable. But probably there will be more video and gif ads in future.

 

That’s what the experts predict – what are your thoughts? Comment below if you agree with the experts or forsee digital marketing going in a different direction.