The roundtable discussion was wide ranged and varied, punctuated only by my keynote address on “Why I want to be CEO: that’s Chief Experience Officer”.

Our main conversations took three of the ten key trends mentioned in the keynote, Content, Marketing ROI/Attribution and social media, and explored them in greater detail.

Marketing attribution and ROI

We heard that increased senior executive oversight of marketing budgets is creating more focus on the ROI for marketing and the ability to measure it effectively but yet against this most executive management teams remained unconvinced about the long-term benefit of such investments.

Within ASEAN, most of the brands attending were in an experimental phase around marketing attribution, with only some of the larger global players having a robust measurement and attribution model.

Within B2B there was often less parameters to measure and thus a clearer ROI case could be made.

For most, the purpose of digital marketing campaigns was still mainly brand building and awareness engagement, with most companies still adopting a tactical campaign approach rather than a long-term strategy. 

Many shared that it remained difficult to measure at the touch-points of the customer experience rather than to simple measure activity through a particular channel

Most companies admitted to being woefully under resourced, often still attempting manual aggregation of data and using tools that were rudimentary or free, compounded by the lack of any real capability to then act on the insights gained.

Social Media

The discussion on social media started with the premise that social media is no longer a “new” medium. We heard from different companies at different levels of maturity in terms of social media engagement – some with dedicated resources and budgets, whilst others are still trying to understand its benefit and how to make use of it 

Consensus was that social media strategy should be a part of the marketing strategy as consumers are increasingly looking to social media for a dialog around the brand the experience, as well as for feedback (social buying) or to seek help when they encounter an issue.

A similar challenge to the marketing attribution discussion was the general lack of C-level buy-in and endorsement. For many C-level executives there was a lack of correlation between the perceived importance of Social Media and their willingness to invest in the resources or tools.

In ASEAN, companies are now looking to social media for lead generation rather than sales as they do not know how to track ROI for sales through Social. 

Content management

The third topic focused on the strategic use of content and the need for a content strategy and content management.  

It became apparent very quickly that different organizations are at different levels of maturity in terms of content strategy development, some with dedicated resources and budgets, some just trying to understand its benefit, whilst B2C companies seem to have a better understanding of what content marketing means strategically.

Many organizations shared their lack of accountability for driving content governance, strategy, archiving and management, with contenders ranging from global to local functions and from IT to marketing.

Much of the conversation focused on growing use of unstructured content through social media channels and the need to blend this effectively with more structured content. The implications on keyword strategy, SEM and SEO was explored extensively, with interesting insights into how this impacts marketing spend and attribution,

Again the common theme of C-Level endorsement, or lack of it, was outlined, with the more digitally mature organizations viewing content as a strategic asset, and understanding and actively managing its key role in their organization’s digital transformation. 

The business case for investment in content creation and content management systems varied by type of organization (B2B vs B2C) and size, but the more successful organizations seem to measure its impact over a mid to long term period and saw its role as less of a demand generator and more of an experience enabler.

Skilled expertise in the region around content management capability remains at a premium, further reinforcing the need to understand the strategic priority and investment case for content.

The idea of content creation and distribution in the cloud and a new federated model where the right content is served at the right time to the right person but away from the organization primary channel/website (ie effectively remote off-property personalization) was also discussed as a much needed way to manage brand experience.

View photos here

If you’d like to be part of the next roundtable sessions, including Digital Cream, that we run in Asia please contact Jefrey Gomez