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2019 – The Year of Convergence

Having been through our own convergence in 2018 – combining three separate entities in to the new Reprise – I believe that this year we will see convergence occur across many other parts of the industry.

Brand & performance converge
We will continue to see a blurring of the lines between brand and performance marketing. With marketers under increasing pressure to justify a return on their expenditure, short term response metrics will be used to evaluate more and more brand building activity. At the same time we will see more & more “branding” formats contain calls to action: YouTube’s TruView for Action will be the fastest growing “brand/performance” format in 2019. While this convergence is inevitable, marketers must be careful not to ignore the importance of brand building for the long term health of their business. The global body of evidence (led by Binet & Field) puts the optimal ratio at brand 60:40 performance.

Quality assurance across the spectrum
With digital set to take almost half of all APAC advertising dollars this year, we are going to see quality come to the forefront. Brand marketers will look at the sizeable investments and really scrutinise what they are getting for their money. We witnessed this happen when the UK recently reached 50% digital share – and exactly the same is about to happen in this region. The recent announcement from the World Federation of Advertisers is a major step towards cleaning up the digital marketplace around the world, with ad fraud, brand safety, viewability, transparency, annoying ads, and 3rd party verification all to be tackled. The likes of Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify will be licking their lips at this development.

Shopper marketing convergence
With e-commerce sales in the region set to reach $1.2tn this year, we will see shopper, brand and performance budgets increasingly combine to be planned as one. The most sophisticated e-commerce country in the world, China, has seen a seismic shift in marketing budgets moving entirely in to e-commerce platforms, with the promise of “full funnel” solutions available there. With media price inflation a rising issue inside these walled gardens, China marketers will have to diversify their investments this year, with many new e-commerce entrants coming in to play. In other markets, 2019 will be the year of e-commerce test and learn, with brands asking for more transparency on performance data from their e-retail partners.

CRM converges with media and creative
As Adobe and Salesforce ramp up in the region, the joint forces of CRM, media and content will really come to life in 2019. Hitherto sat in siloed operations, CRM, media & creative marketers and their agencies will increasingly organise themselves around the 1st party data opportunity. The ability to extract customer information and deploy it for insight, planning, media targeting and addressable content will separate the haves from the have nots from this year onwards.

Precision vs mass marketing the optimal convergence
Great use of CRM will be just one of the drivers of Precision Marketing this year. However, the emerging question of which is more effective, mass marketing (cheaper, less targeted) or precision marketing (more expensive, more targeted) will be ruthlessly tested in increasingly sophisticated ways, using measurement techniques from market mix modelling (where the skills and talent base have noticeably improved in the region) all the way through to digital marketing attribution models supplied by the likes of Adobe, Google and Appsflyer. By the end of the year many more brands will have a much clearer point of view on the cost/benefit of precision vs mass marketing. And the net result will be a converged balance between the two.

The modern marketing era is complex and fragmented. CMOs are time starved and looking for simple, connected solutions that deliver growth. 2019 will be a defining year for APAC in which complexity becomes simpler, and in which the integration of marketing disciplines becomes a must have, if marketers are to succeed.

Ben Poole

Ben Poole is the Managing Director of Reprise APAC.