This is one of the more interesting titbits contained in Econsultancy’s report titled State of Digital Marketing in Asia
And the answer is- yes and no. There is a mismatch between digital skills and business knowledge. Senior management is not as enthusiastic about digital while most are overwhelmed by the fast pace of changes and can’t keep up.
In other words, much like Asia, the answer is complicated and has several facets.
Marketing has changed in Asia Pacific
The Asia Pacific region is in the middle of an economic churn. Led by China and India, populations the size of mid sized European countries every month are bridging the digital divide.
And because of this, digital marketing is no longer getting the leftover treatment.
Budgets are actually being allocated to digital instead of it having to do with whatever scraps fall off the table. Companies outsource social media campaigns and hire SEO experts to get to the top of the search results.
And I am bombarded by spam SMSes that promise to teach me English, book a cheap flight or find me a girlfriend if I reply back with a code. *bangs head on desk*
Have a look at these stats from the report
- 49% of the respondents will increase marketing budgets in 2012
- 78% clients used email marketing and 74% use social media
- Clients are planning to invest more in social media (67%) and SEO (63%)
- 58% plan to invest in video
- SMS marketing is hot, followed by mobile apps and QR. 28% of clients are planning to invest in mobile search
- 56% clients are outsourcing web design and building of the sites while 55% are outsourcing SEO and PPC. Social media and video are more in-house
- 59% will invest more in social media and 43% will invest in CRM. 31% and 30% will invest more in CMS and email
- 31% of the respondents reported annual revenues of more than US $1bn while 25% said that their company’s annual marketing budget is more than US $10mn.
The survey has corresponding data for the supply side too- agencies, freelancers and the like but for the purposes of this post, I won’t talk about them
The report highlighted a few interesting trends.
For one, companies are becoming more mature and asking the right questions vis-a-vis their digital marketing efforts. 76% consider increased sales and 65% increased traffic as metrics to measure ROI.This is a good start.
Another interesting fact is how companies are okay with outsourcing established channels like search and PPC while keeping newer ones like video and social media internal.
Insights and challenges
When I was filling out the survey for the report I remembered seeing a number of open ended questions mainly around the issues facing digital marketing in the region.
The report featured some of that feedback which can basically boiled down to these points
- Marketers, especially those who make decisions are largely ignorant about how the medium works and have more faith in traditional channels that they are familiar with .
- Because of rapid changes in the medium as well as a general unwillingness to learn and adapt to changes digital marketing initiatives don’t succeed as much as they should
- Another reason for digital underperforming is that digitally savvy people do not have strong business experience
What should a company in Asia Pacific do
Based on the report’s findings here are a few prescriptions
- Invest in email marketing, social media networks and SEO. Your competition is out there doing it.
- Most of your competition is planning on either increasing their marketing budget or keeping it constant. Cutbacks can be catastrophic.
- The average spending on digital marketing out of the marketing budget is around 26%. Don’t fall too short.
- Do not neglect mobile, especially SMS and apps
- Stay current with the latest in terms of technology and platforms, and educate the entire workforce.
- Invest in tools like CRM and content management systems
In the coming 12 months, companies in Asia will become more content driven and digitally sophisticated.
If you have skin in the game (and it’s Asia, who doesn’t) get ready for a lot of change.
Image courtesy Fountain_Head