Every year, STEP conference brings together experts and businesses from all over the region to discuss the future and challenges of media, e-commerce and marketing for brands. This year OMD lead the morning track on the second day of STEP covering topics such as growth on e-commerce, the economy of choice and the role of advertising in technology and marketing. Here are the key takeaways from the day:
1. Talent and infrastructure are critical to e-commerce growth
As e-commerce adoption by consumers continue to grow in the region and social becomes more transactional, brands are faced with a talent transformation challenge. On the one hand, with a new generation entering the job market being well-versed in these areas, how can brands leverage this talent and invest in their existing team’s capabilities. Building agile structures and processes internally can enable this growth and would allow an exchange of ideas within the different levels of the organization.
The other aspect is having government support for talent growth such as attracting talent to the region, or educational opportunities to develop skillsets, as well as infrastructure development such as flexible policies for startups, innovation hubs etc. are key to harness the emerging talent pool.
On the other hand, building the necessary logistics groundwork to mature the infrastructure, be it owning the entire supply chain down to last-mile delivery or working with the right partners to build the needed set-up can boost the growth of e-commerce within the region.
2. The future is micro – personalized experiences
Brand experiences have proven to be a lot more than just the last mile in the purchase decision process. The focus has shifted to key micro-moments in the consumer journey and what a brand can offer to make people want to opt in to that experience to add value to their lives at any stage. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning to track customers’ offline habits and understand customers at a personal level has allowed for hyper-personalization and micro-segmentation.
Design thinking has also allowed brands to place the consumer at the center of the brand to provide seamless experiences. This includes using valuable frameworks that tackle customer needs throughout the journey, including measurement, contact strategy and enablers.
3. Platform integrators – fragmentation in the tech space
Given the big surge of mar-tech solutions from 500 three years ago to almost 7000 currently available in the market, data is getting more fragmented. This has paved the way for new solutions known as platform integrators, that allow systems previously working in silos to talk to each other so marketers can make use out of their data. Coupled with artificial intelligence and/or machine learning, marketers can automate a lot of the data manipulation and analysis to then focus on looking at key metrics, output and making more informed decisions quickly.
Brands, agencies and partners are collaborating closer together in terms of data and knowledge sharing as well as best practices in order to create these micro-personalized experiences. Ultimately the goal is to build a human experience in order for brands to stay relevant in consumers’ lives.