To give interested participants an overview of the event, we recently spoke to each of the speakers and asked them to offer their perspectives on topics such as brand leadership, marketing strategy and how marketers can boost their careers.

Below are insights from Anna Trybocka, CEO Cresco Data who will be speaking about ‘Customer Centric Commerce – Driving Innovation through the Cloud’ at the event.

Econsultancy: What does it mean for marketers to provide ‘brand leadership’?

Anna Trybocka: With the era of social media the meaning of brand leadership has changed. Brand leadership is not just what customers think about the product or brand anymore but how customers perceive the company as a whole.

To manage this change, brands need to be more open. Customer service is a classic example, how you deal with complaints and issues on social media has a huge impact on the reputation of a brand.

Purchases are also influenced by people’s perception of how brands treat their staff. Staff have become brand ambassadors and, for example,  I’ve only ever heard positive things about working at Apple and Google!

With the traditional customer touchpoints changing and companies facing increased competition, brands also need to have a purpose outside of what they are selling in order to keep the conversation with the customer going. For example, Lululemon isn’t just yoga wear, they are a lifestyle brand which offers a place to hang out and attend free yoga classes in their stores. That is, besides selling clothing, Lululemon also provides a way for customers to meet a community of like-minded people.

Brand leadership these days also means having a social cause. It’s not good enough these days to just make money. People and customers want to know how ethical your business is, what its carbon footprint is and what your company is doing to give back.

Econsultancy: How does this translate into a marketing strategy?

Anna Trybocka: Marketing strategy needs to be implemented across all areas of the business. For example, the importance of ‘brand’ needs to be communicated. HR has an important role to play here and should be asking, what are employees saying about the company outside of work? What’s the brand message when they leave?

Another example is the importance of messaging and tone of voice in customer service responses.

In order to retain and reach customers on the ever-increasing range of digital touchpoints, marketing strategy now needs to include a decision on what does your brand stand for.  Marketers should ask themselves, what’s the value outside of the product you’re selling? What else do you stand for, how do you enhance customer’s lives? What additional benefits are you going to offer outside of the product?

Econsultancy: What do you feel are the current trends in agency/media relationships?

Anna Trybocka: There has recently been an interesting shift in the agency landscape. Agencies face new threats from a number of places, such as self-serve platforms, consulting businesses, and marketplaces.

Because of these threats, agencies need to be more transparent on their fees, demonstrate ROI and start to shift to performance-based models.

Alibaba is an interesting example of a new media agency. They have a range of channels they can reach customers on – payments, bike hire, marketplace, social, cloud underpinned by a huge amount of data. It will be interesting to see what advertising features (Alibaba’s investment in SE Asia) Lazada rolls out in its region.

Lazada has also started to cut out the middlemen and agencies by going directly to manufacturers. They are sourcing stock from the factories and then assisting the manufacturers in setting up branded marketplace stores.

On the other end of the scale, Apple opened their first ever marketplace store on Lazada at the end of 2017. This is a clear demonstration of the increasing power that marketplaces now have.

Econsultancy: What should marketing leaders be doing to ‘prove’ marketing ROI?

Anna Trybocka: First off, marketing leaders need to set clear goals and objectives for campaigns and initiatives.

Next, they should ensure that proper tracking and measurement has been set up and that the metrics they are following track the set goals.

Finally, as with many things, marketers need conduct trials, handle errors and learn from mistakes so that they can continue to improve.

Econsultancy: What should senior marketers be doing to progress in their careers?

Anna Trybocka: Most importantly, marketers need to start to thinking differently, that is outside of the box, about how they spend their media budget, specifically considering the influence of non-traditional channels such as social media influencers.

Secondly, marketers need to understand millennials, their biggest customer segment now. Understand that they think differently and brand loyalty is very different from previous generations.

Next, marketing leaders should start to work across all areas of the business and ensure the marketing strategy influences all departments (see ‘brand leadership’ point above) about the importance of ‘brand’ in other areas of the organisation, such as customer service and HR.

Finally, marketers should start creating branded content if you haven’t already!

Join us in Singapore, August 17th, for ‘Digital Divas‘ with Anna Trybocka and others. Request your seat here.

Read the other interviews in this series.