In this post I’ll give an overview of the main topics that emerged from the roundtable conversation, and you can also read my summaries from our events in Singapore and the Philippines.

What is marketing automation?

As with the roundtables in Singapore, delegates first wanted to discuss how to define marketing automation.

It’s clearly still a slightly confusing topic for many marketers.

Omnichannel profile

Another popular topic was the difficulties around creating a single customer view.

Nobody has really cracked the problem of tracking customers across online and offline channels, though there was some consensus that ultimately this will be achieved using a person’s mobile number.

How do you personalise?

Assuming a business has managed to collect a customer’s personal data and knows their preferences, what parts of the customer experience should be personalised?

Marketers still seemed unsure of which channels and content they should be personalising, other than perhaps product recommendations.

Data acquisition and filtering

On the behavioural marketing table the delegates discussed the best data capture methods, such as email or social.

But a larger problem was what to do with the data they had already acquired. So how to filter it and turn it into useable insights to personalise the customer experience.

Email is still hugely important

Despite frequent headlines proclaiming it to be dead, these roundtables again underlined email’s enduring importance for driving sales and conversions.

Delegates agreed that email remains one of the most effective marketing channels and delivers excellent ROI.

This tallies with the findings from our Email Marketing Census which found that email ranks alongside SEO as delivering the best ROI of any digital channel.

How do you rate the following channels in terms of return on investment?

Email frequency

Because email delivers predictably solid results it can be tempting to fire out marketing messages several times a day.

However marketers have to find the right balance so that they achieve decent results without coming across as spammy.

This can be achieved by tracking and analysing success metrics and also mixing up the type of messaging sent via email.

The content problem

In order to send engaging email messages brands needs to invest in content creation, but lack of budget in this area appears to be a common problem.

Several delegates said that they lack internal resources to produce email content, while others don’t have a dedicated budget allocated to producing email content.

In addition to this, content agencies often don’t fully understand the nature of the business so the work isn’t up to scratch.


In general the Malaysian delegates were only doing a very limited amount of segmentation.

Customers were broken out into a small number of profile groups, which means there isn’t enough insight into what is relevant to them.

Furthermore, it’s difficult to work out how best to treat these different segments. Which need to be nurtured, which need attention for growth, and which are the ‘cash cows’?

This is obviously hampering personalisation efforts and most delegates said they are doing very little in terms of personalising the customer experience.

Email attribution

For multichannel marketers it’s still incredibly difficult to measure the impact of email marketing on offline sales.

Though marketers know email is having a positive impact and can see an increase in footfall and sales it’s hard to prove a correlation.

Tactics such as e-vouchers and e-receipts are effective to an extent, but it remains a massive challenge to properly track what works and what doesn’t.

Follow the money

Among all the discussion of measurement and analytics the one common goal was generating and tracking revenue.

There are so many points of data collection and engagement that marketers need to make sure they keep sight of the overall goal.