What’s On

SMG the human experience company

Jeffrey Seah, Starcom MediaVest

Starcom MediaVest first entered the region by opening an office in Singapore in 1999. Since then it has expanded its base and scope of work. Meanwhile SMG has also moved from being just a media agency to being marketing communication company that heightened the human experience. As a company SMG offered services including experience planning, digital strategy, investment and activation, content creation, research and insights, data and analytics, and multicultural marketing. SMG also has what it calls the human experience centers that help brands understand the impact of a campaign. DMA spoke to Jeffrey Seah, CEO Southeast Asia and chairperson, Asia Digital Leadership Team, Starcom MediaVest Group about the company’s experience in the market and its expectations. Some notes:

 A brief on Starcom MediaVest Group.

Starcom was launched first in Singapore in 1999, and subsequently across Asia-Pacific, where we now have 32 offices throughout the region. Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) encompasses various brands including Starcom, MediaVest, and StarLink, as well as other specialist units including LiquidThread (digital and content), Xpanse (upcountry marketing), and Navia (outdoor) among others.

Key service offerings in the digital space.

For specific clients, our scope in the digital space covers digital media planning and buying, media implementation, data and analytics, research and insights. This covers all areas from general display, mobile, social, video, content and production. At a group level, we are also offering enhanced services such as Demand Side Platforms (DSP), of which our solution is known as Audience on Demand and media trading services for large clients.

Changing digital marketing space.

The importance and growth of digital cannot be ignored. Yet digital is still not mainstream and sucks up a tremendous amount of client and staff bandwidth. Clients and agencies continue to struggle to catch up and evolve with technology. Social media tools and screen neutral content – where increasingly the two are intertwined and audiences are increasingly mobile and impartial to the platforms or devices in which they view their content. Then it is the rise of data – marketers and corporations are struggling to make any headway in capturing and using the data that is available to them. There is a great deal of automation taking place which means growing importance of DSPs. Digital planning and buying processes are getting streamlined. However the market is plagued by the lack of strong and fluid digital talent, able to work across functions and markets.

Best location for business

Indonesia will be the next China/India. The market is ready to make the next leap plus mobile and broadband penetration and adoption continues to supersede other Asian economies.

Top campaigns in the region

Samsung Sonar: Starcom initiated an app to connect youths to the Android platform and Samsung smartphones. Through the online radio and social app, youths could tap on to independent sources of dance and alternative music while being invited to exclusive events. So successful was the app that it was subsequently pre-loaded on all Samsung smartphones sold here.

Experience in this market

This is my second stint at Starcom MediaVest Group, since 2009, I have been leading the operations of the Starcom and MediaVest agency brands across the Southeast Asia region, encompassing offices in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore – the network’s regional business centre and headquarters. Prior, I was a 10-year SMG veteran, responsible for launching the Starcom brand in Asia, and setting up its first office in Singapore in 1999. I followed up by launching the Starcom IP Digital Marketing unit across Asia in 2002, at the age where digital was still a pariah in the advertising fraternity. As an advocate of future-proofing businesses, my mandate is to fortify SMG’s core capabilities by delivering strong products, innovatory offerings, fluid talent, while expanding assignments among existing multi-national clients, and driving diversified services to ensure the longevity of the media business that is fast becoming commoditized.