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ADA: 2020 Outlook for Southeast Asian Marketers

ADA looks ahead with its thought leadership piece on how marketers can outmaneuver the competition despite 54% expecting slow to modest growth in the region

As we approach the start of a new decade, ADA (part of Axiata group) has released a thought leadership piece, 2020 Outlook for Southeast Asian Marketers: 4 Steps to Outmaneuver Your Competition, to help marketers navigate this period of economic uncertainty. ADA found that 76% of marketers say they will struggle with sluggish customer growth. However, according to ADA’s own data, there are industries that continue to flourish during times of economic uncertainty. This, coupled with Southeast Asia (SEA) marketers’ generally optimistic attitude, has led ADA to declare 2020 as the SEA Marketer’s Year. 

The thought leadership piece is based on ADA’s data of over 280 million consumer profiles, coupled with a survey of 200 decision makers, brands, marketers and industry observers within the region who shared their expectations for growth next year. 

From their consumer base of 280 million profiles, ADA looked at how Southeast Asia (SEA) consumers have reacted to socio-economic changes in the past. They found that across all categories, consumer spending takes a dip with some exceptions. Malaysians still enjoy eating out although they cut back on other luxuries; Filipinos cut back on travel and data usage; and Indonesians’ overall spending declines but more modestly. 

Meanwhile, the survey of 200 decision makers, brands, marketers and industry observers found that:

  • Only 10% of those surveyed expected positive rapid growth in their countries;
  • Just 8% reported having sufficient budget for 2020;
  • Surprisingly, in spite of these challenges, about 50% of respondents expect their business to be positively impacted.

This means SEA’s marketers are optimistic, despite having to do more with less in a difficult economic situation. 

Srinivas Gattemneni, Chief Executive Officer, ADA, said, “our survey revealed that 54% of marketers are expecting the region to experience slow to modest growth – this is consistent with the current global economic outlook. However, the majority are positive that they will be able to make the most of this, albeit in creative ways. ADA exists to make our customers and people win; hence, we wanted to share this outlook complete with industry tips and insights to help them outmaneuver their competition.”

So, how will brands win during economic uncertainty? ADA shared how marketers can steer through the year and win, with four simple steps:

Data -> Insights -> Outcomes = IDEA? A common mistake many marketers make is to assume that once they have the data, it will reveal all the answers. When really, they need to gather insights from the data which then leads to action, which then turns into clear business outcomes. Easier said than done, of course, hence, the IDEA framework:

IDENTIFY the problem in as precise a manner as possible
DATA analysis is then applied to reveal specific and actionable information
EXTRACT unique insights and perspectives from the information
ACTIONABLE strategies and solutions are created to deliver results

Brand building means more than ever. With the increasing pressure around marketing’s role to contribute to performance, and the advent of digital which allows you to track what seems like everything, there has naturally been a move towards shorter-term performance-based activity. Hence, brand building and storytelling combine for a distinctive and powerful campaign.

Emotions drive us as consumers, even in a downturn. By tapping into the emotions of your target audience, you will have to tug on their heartstrings – and marketers will have to do this via brand building and storytelling, amplified by creativity. Great imagery and outstanding creativity will evoke emotions.

Steal the spotlight. To really win in 2020, it all starts with an IDEA. From there, build your brand through storytelling – great imagery and outstanding creativity, which will evoke emotions. This allows you to clearly express who you are as a brand, and win your customers’ share of heart, beyond their share of wallet. Your great campaign could be humour-filled, heartwarming or even nostalgic. But it will be uniquely your brand.

“2020 is set to be an interesting year. Brands who understand consumer trends during times like these and are armed with the right data, insights and strategy, can use this opportunity to steal the spotlight. While some companies will tighten their belts, others will invest in cherry-picked efforts to surge ahead of their competition,” added Gattamneni.

Read the full thought leadership piece here.

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