In Southeast Asia, Thailand is, in many ways, an ‘in-between’ country.
Recent data from Statista shows that Thailand has a much bigger online population (40 million) than neighboring Malaysia (20 million) and Singapore (4 million) but it’s much smaller than nearby Indonesia (147m). And the average amount each Thai person spends online (average revenue per user or ARPU) is US$110 annually, far greater than the lowest in the region (Philippines $20), but not even close to the highest (Singapore, $1,222).
Yet, with average year-on-year growth in ecommerce ARPU of 17% for the past 5 years, it’s still a tempting market for many traditional and online brands.
But as Thailand isn’t the biggest or the richest, have marketers in the country fallen behind their peers in the region? Or are they keeping up with trends such as real-time, personalization and omnichannel marketing?
To find out, Econsultancy, in association with Resulticks, recently surveyed marketers throughout Southeast Asia and asked them about how far they are on their omnichannel journey – and about the successes, frustrations and obstacles they have encountered along the way.
Below are summary results from respondents from Thailand, but the report, The Omnichannel Imperative, offers data from marketers across Southeast Asia – and you can download the full report here.
1) Thai marketers are more likely to be interested in omnichannel that other countries in Southeast Asia
Survey-takers were asked to indicate which marketing concepts are a priority for them and their company in 2019.
Seventy one percent of respondents from Thailand chose ‘real-time marketing’ which was more than the regional average (65%) and much greater than nearby Vietnam (57%).
Other popular choices for Thai marketers included ‘personalization’ and ‘omnichannel delivery and engagement (offline-online)’ which, at 60% of respondents was significantly more than the region, on average (48%, 52% respectively).
These responses show that Thai marketers at least have omnichannel marketing and its core competencies at the front of their minds.
Another interesting result from this question is that respondents from Thailand were the least likely in Southeast Asia to say that they were currently exploring Customer Data Platforms (CDP), with 29% indicating this was the case compared to 43% in the Philippines. Thai marketers are, it seems, relatively comfortable with their customer data solutions.
2) Marketers in Thailand are confident about their companies’ approach to omnichannel marketing
When asked whether they agreed with the statement, “We take an integrated approach to customer engagement across different channels, leveraging 1st, 2nd and 3rd party customer data, with technology and processes to support this.”, more than 4 in 5 respondents (83%) indicated this was correct. This backs up the notion that marketers in Thailand are happy with their customer data systems.
Accordingly, very few (14%) indicated that they did not feel that their company took an integrated approach to customer engagement which was far lower than the percentage of marketers in Indonesia who felt this way about their company (29%).
While slightly short of the most confident omnichannel country in Southeast Asia, Singapore (84% agreed, 5% disagreed with the statement), this result shows that marketers in Thailand at least feel that their companies are on the right track for implementing data-heavy omnichannel marketing.
3) Thai marketers face similar challenges as others in the region when rolling out omnichannel marketing
Marketers in Thailand were most likely to state that the biggest challenge they faced when carrying out omnichannel marketing was ‘technology or software limitations’ (45%). This result is slightly greater than the regional average (41%) but the issue does not seem as widespread as it is in Indonesia, in which 57% of marketers indicated that technology limitations are a challenge.
With regards to data, Thai respondents were fairly in line with their regional peers with 40% indicating that they had ‘too much data to manage’ (39% average in Southeast Asia) and the same amount (40%) suffering from ‘incomplete customer data across all channels’ (compared with 35% across the region).
These results suggest marketers in Thailand are at a similar stage of development as most of their regional peers with regards to omnichannel. They are still struggling with technology and data and not yet hitting the scaling issues faced by marketers who are slightly further along their omnichannel journey.
Operationally, though, marketers in Thailand seemed to be on solid ground. Fewer Thai marketers reported that they had a ‘lack of analytics and/or insights’ (26% Thailand, 28% average, 40% Malaysia) and experienced ‘siloed organizational structure’ (19% Thailand, 21% average) than others in the region. This is good news as such issues make it much more difficult to get started with omnichannel initiatives.
4) Current omnichannel solutions are falling short of expectations
Finally, marketers asked about how they viewed their current omnichannel solutions. Again, respondents from Thailand were most likely to cite data as their biggest issue with more than one in four (26%) indicating that the ‘data integration’ of their current system was ‘poor’, compared with 19% average across the region.
Thai marketers were also concerned with ‘multi-touch attribution’, with 24% of respondents from Thailand indicating that their current solution was ‘poor’ for this capability. That Thai marketers are finding issues in this area indicates that companies in Thailand are starting to take multi-channel acquisition seriously.
Finally, one of the least-cited issues for Thai marketers was about how well their omnichannel platform scaled. Only 14% indicated that the ‘ability [of their] platform to scale’ was ‘poor’, as opposed to 19% region-wide and 45% in Indonesia. While this could indicate that Thai marketers are scaling up without hassle, it is more likely to mean that while they still face data management issues in their omnichannel rollout, they are not yet pushing the technical limits of their current solutions.
Overall, though, marketers in Thailand appear to have taken up the omnichannel challenge and are well on their way to delivering on its promise of the right message, to the right person, at the right time and on the right channel. For more on this topic, please download the full report, The Omnichannel Imperative.