Bea Atienza is the chief digital strategy officer of Dentsu Aegis Network. She was formerly strategy lead of Edelman Digital Singapore, head of strategic planning in Wunderman Singapore and digital strategist of Commonwealth (a McCann company) in Shanghai, China.
She acquaints us with her role as a strategy planner as well as the trends in digital marketing.
Q: How important is it to be a full stack planner in a digitalized economy and what does it take to be a full stack advertising planner nowadays?
A: One of the most important things I’ve seen through more than a decade doing digital is how critical it is to consider context alongside communication and content.
The traditional planning discipline usually leads to what a brand should say or stand for, but now we also need to understand what kind of customer moments we hope to be part of when each communication piece reaches them.
This is the idea behind the “full stack planner”—someone who can strategize not only how a brand should present itself, but also how and where it should be encountered.
We took inspiration from the idea of a full-stack developer who is able to handle all the different software layers.
This doesn’t mean trying to specialize in everything, but rather being able to understand how different channels and disciplines can be pulled into the strategy.
Part of the planner’s role is to make sure we maximize these while ensuring that they are cohesive and efficient.
What this entails is, first, an ability to draw insights from a larger range of data, and second, an ability to do both communication and connection strategy. In terms of data, we call our approach “360o Insights.”
A planner has to be able to mine data in different areas—brand performance, owned digital assets, cultural trends, consumer digital behavior, consumer motivations, category dynamics, competitor performance and multimedia mix trends—to get a complete picture of issues and opportunities.
Using these, he or she must be able to leverage a solid base of classic brand planning and then extend into engagement planning—designing a communication ecosystem that has a connection plan for all assets and pieces of content.
Q: You have worked in China, Singapore and the Philippines. What are some trends that you have encountered in digital marketing that we should take note of?
A: Each city has its own personality and spirit. I lived in Shanghai, which feels both historic and futuristic at the same time. Singapore is still finding its identity but is bold in creating iconic landmarks throughout the city. What is interesting about both was how technology was embedded into daily life.
It’s been six years since I lived in China, but even then, they were booking taxis on mobile, paying with NFC and sending voice messages. Singapore is a smart city where you can check apps to find out how long before your bus or train arrives. All the banks even joined forces to created a common peer-to-peer payment service embedded in all bank apps. They’ve made data available for businesses to use. This sets a different tone for digital and technology, hinged on utility, and inspires marketing that is equally service-oriented.
With this solid digital infrastructure, brands are able to embrace the discipline of customer experience. They use digital not only to communicate but to improve their service proposition, from retail to fulfillment to personalized customer service. This infrastructure makes it easier for digital-first businesses to go to market, which challenges traditional companies. At a certain point, digital needs to be on the business agenda, not just the marketing agenda.
I see this as a challenge in the Philippines at present to see how far we can go as a digital society—and consequently have strong digitally enabled industries.
As a market, we are and have always been extremely social, yet we are not fully digital yet. Being able to leverage digital as a utility, service and experience-driver will be the next frontier for brands and companies here.
Q: What are some of the most common mistakes in creating digital campaigns that must be avoided and why?
A: I’ve been back in the Philippines for a year now and it’s been so inspiring to be home again in our vibrant advertising and marketing industry. It seems like technology has come a long way. However, digital marketing still needs to grow in addition to our adoption of social media. Brands also need to be more cognizant of how their digital strategy will strengthen their funnel performance.
A lot of brands seem to be transferring their thematic TVCs (television commercials) and print ads to digital through brand films and social cards. This is a good starting point but the transformation can’t stop here. I feel frustrated when I see brand videos with millions of views that don’t have an engagement plan that nurtures those viewers and gives them product communication or offers to bring them into the store or capture their data to get in touch with them later. It doesn’t have to be done within the film itself but leveraging behavioral data we can serve the same customers who saw the video with a follow-up material such as a testimonials, offers or a product story. With a full-funnel content approach, we can now ensure that engagement content gets followed up by lower-funnel messages. Yet this can only happen when, as I mentioned at the start, content and context are strategized together and bring to bear the total power of the digital space.
In addition, brands also need to prepare for the scenario where customers may not even see a campaign but enter the consideration journey on their own. People are so empowered nowadays and will find the best solutions for themselves. Brands need to be equipped with shoppable assets to catch interested customers. Marketers need to prep their ecosystem to “find, catch and close.” A good search strategy, intuitive content marketing and a solid website should nurture interested customers and convince them to convert with your brand instead of a competitor’s. —CONTRIBUTED
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