Hear from 11 experts how brands can succeed with digital in 2020

Matt Brocklehurst / February 2020

As we step into 2020, the new decade opens up new challenges as well as opportunities for businesses on their journey to digital marketing maturity. Here, 11 business leaders share insights that will help digital marketers succeed in the new year and beyond.

In 2019, brands recognised the importance of striving for digital marketing maturity and breaking down silos. They also focused on creating impactful creative to tell better and more timely stories.

In 2020, the conversation shifts from the need for digital marketing maturity to the ways to achieve it. The importance of personalisation with attention to consumer privacy also takes center stage, and having an experimental mindset becomes more important than ever. Read on for more on these topics from brand leaders across APAC.

1. On embracing digital transformation

Digital transformation is what happens between a leap of faith and the future.

“For large organisations like Samsung, digital transformation starts by taking a leap of faith. That means putting money into ad tech and digital infrastructure before you really start to see ROI.”
Mick Armstrong, Head of Digital and Data, Samsung, Australia


“It’s clear to me that understanding the role of data and programmatic and how that fashions highly personalised content at scale is going to determine the future of marketing.”
Sir Martin Sorrell, Executive Chairman, S4Capital

2. On what businesses need to achieve digital marketing maturity

At the end of the day, it’s all about people — consumers or employees.

“First, start with an honest assessment of your maturity, and identify what’s doing well and areas of improvement when it comes to leveraging your first-party data. Second, set an ambitious yet realistic goal aligned with changing consumer expectations. And finally, plan a roadmap that helps you make the most of your first-party data while ensuring that it’s in accordance with current and upcoming regulations.”1
Anubhav Pateriya, Principal at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)


Seemingly mundane things matter — a lot. You must ensure things like tagging and naming are done properly. For tagging, you need technically savvy and detail-oriented people to ensure the right data is captured at scale; these people become absolutely crucial. The naming conventions and configurations are the bedrock to ensure data is structured in the right way and is intuitive to end users.”
Marty Carroll, Global VP of Digital Marketing, Electrolux

3. On the importance of first-party data for business success

First-party data is the string that ties together many aspects of success in digital marketing.

“First-party data has tremendous potential to impact business KPIs and provide a better end-user experience. Moreover, it’s a manifestation of data self-sufficiency at a time when data-privacy norms are becoming more stringent day by day.”2
Tejas Modi, Co-founder, Tatvic, India


“[First-party data] is very important. It helps us tailor product recommendations for our customers by providing valuable insights into their purchase history and preferences.”3
Cornelia Kwok, Director of Digital Shared Services, Shiseido, Hong Kong

4. On the need to respect consumer privacy when using first-party data

Consumers willingly share their data when it’s reciprocated with respect and relevance.

“We’re committed to using first-party data in a privacy-compliant way. When customers grant us access to their data, it gives us the opportunity to be more relevant. With more transparency and control over their data, customers [are] more willing to share information.”
Mark Thiele, Head of Marketing Automation & Media, Suncorp, Australia


"When companies consolidate their first-party data and treat it as a key marketing asset, they can begin to break down silos within their organisation and deliver memorable customer experiences ... After considering how your first-party data strategy will come to life, it’s important to create clear privacy policies that explain to users what data is being collected, how it’s going to be used, and what value they’ll get by granting data permissions.”
Dan Taylor, Managing Director, Global Display Ads, Google

5. Why brands constantly need to experiment in order to succeed

Frequent, regular testing is at the core of digital optimisation — and business success.

Taking a leap of faith with new technology can be daunting, especially on a tight budget. But allocating even a small portion of your budget to a riskier approach can make a world of difference. There’s nothing wrong with tried-and-true methods. But you’ll never discover more effective or efficient approaches if you don’t set aside the time (and money) to find them.”
Larry Luk, CMO, L’Oréal, Hong Kong


“Establishing a large number of ad variations and measuring the effectiveness of the ads gave us confidence in the data and insights and in using it in the right context. It allowed us to drive better value and results for our client.”4
Sandeep Pandey, President of Product & Strategy, Wavemaker


“Be hungry, test, learn, repeat, and keep going!”5
Andrew Waddel, General Manager Australia, Tourism NZ

Why getting to know your consumers better starts with de-siloing your data