Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

Data, tech & people – recipe for building strong emotional connections at scale

By Michael Nutley | Writer for The Drum

September 26, 2022 | 8 min read

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The massive numbers of people driven online by the pandemic, coupled with shrinking marketing budgets, has pushed performance marketing to the top of many companies’ agendas.


Brands need to build strong emotional connections with customers in an ever-changing digital world

Boardroom conversations now focus solely on hard metrics such as acquisitions and conversions. But to stand out and grow, brands need to understand their customers and build stronger emotional connections with them.

The only way to do that at the scale required is to have the right data, the right technology, and the right people.

That’s the key takeaway from 'Decoding the Connected Southeast Asian Consumer with the Right Data', a new report from AI-enabled consumer intelligence platform Talkwalker and Marketing-Interactive.

Five challenges facing marketers…

The report looks at the five most significant challenges facing marketers in Southeast Asia. It describes these as:

1. Keeping up with changing consumer preferences – with increased rates of digital adoption and the arrival of generation Z into the workforce, the make-up of the online audience is changing fast, as are their behaviors. This means companies need to be constantly reassessing who their customers are, and what they want.

2. Accelerating innovation amid competition – businesses responded to the Covid-19 driven shift online by increasing their own online activity. This has hugely increased competition.

3. Connecting with the complex consumer – consumers are connecting via more channels than ever, making their paths to purchase ever-harder to understand. This also increases the difficulty of delivering the coherent, consistent customer experiences consumers expect, and which result in increased loyalty and conversion rates.

4. Understanding what these customers want – customer expectations of brands are at an all-time high. They want seamless, simple, uniquely relevant experiences from companies whose values match their own.

5. Recognizing Southeast Asia’s mosaic of cultures – the region isn’t a single unified market. Rather it’s made up of many countries, languages and cultures. Global companies need to come to terms with this diversity and tailor every campaign for each individual market, tweaking them further based on real-time data.


All these challenges are made harder to address by cuts to marketing budgets and staff losses due to the ‘Great Resignation’. According to Talkwalker, time-strapped and talent-starved teams are still resorting to “spray and pray” tactics, despite the advent of advanced, AI-driven marketing technologies.

… and five things you should do about them right now

The Talkwalker report recommends five steps companies should take right now to help them overcome these challenges:

1. Invest in the tools and technologies you need – to decipher customer sentiment and stay one step ahead of their wants and desires. Social listening enables brands to make sense of consumer conversations across multiple channels, and build their strategy around the latest consumer insights.

2. Democratize the use of data – across your organization, enabling a consistent customer experience across all touchpoints.

3. Focus on loyalty – loyalty programs help you to understand customers’ habits and behaviors, while also encouraging them to share their data with you. This is essential as the world moves away from using third-party cookies.

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4. Prioritize personalization – it’s what will set you apart from your competition

5. Be always-on – customers want immediate action from you to solve their problems. Once again this means investing in technology (eg chatbots) as well as empowering your customer service team.

Beyond all this, the report argues that marketers should aim to create what it calls a “tomorrow-shaping brand”; one that understands its customers and builds long-term emotional connections with them.

These brands have three things in common. They collect and share relevant, real-time data across the organization. They have the technology to translate data into actionable intelligence. Most importantly, their people have the analytical skills to contextualize this intelligence, and the cultural understanding to step beyond it and put human-centered insight at the heart of the business.

To read the complete Decoding the Connected Southeast Asian Consumer with the Right Data report, produced by Talkwalker and Marketing-Interactive, download here.

Marketing B2B Marketing Brand Strategy

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