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PETALING JAYA: Companies are moving rapidly to digital systems and implementing new marketing approaches to accommodate the shifts in business models and consumer behaviour that will persist after the pandemic recedes, as Covid-19 has accelerated changes in how people live and work.

Marketing technology company OpenMinds founder Jan Wong (pix) said it is business as usual but with a higher emphasis on digital channels and technological solutions that can ultimately solve marketing and operational challenges.

“Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) want to integrate more last-mile marketing solutions and top-funnel loyalty to ensure sales are not affected. Bigger corporations are more aware of the potential of technology advancements and data tracking, which has led to a number of digital transformation initiatives conducted by our consultants,” he told SunBiz.

Wong, who made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2017, said trends are often driven by consumer behaviour and the pandemic has changed things.

“With the rise of the homebody economy, consumers have become increasingly tech-literate and demanding, causing the usual marketing approaches to change. For example, a mobile-first approach is preferred and with the widespread usage of e-wallets, access to information and commerce will continue to get easier over time.

“The proliferation of new channels and user behaviours mean that marketing to new consumers will require more effort and multichannel marketing is mandatory as competition continues to rise, granting technologies like big data more accessible even to small and medium businesses.”

Wong said consumers have become not only more price-sensitive but are also experiencing a shift in mindset and priorities. For example, what used to be an occasional splurge, now requires more thought.

“Research has shown that the average number of consumers touchpoints have increased from four to six during this season, indicating that consumers are spending more time researching and confirming their purchase before actually making one. This phenomenon challenges the existing strategies of brands and they need to adapt to this change,” Wong said.

Paying attention to the segmentation of customers, he said, is essential to adapt to the changing consumers’ behaviour. The generalist approach is obsolete, the key is to be specific in brand communication and outreach strategies.

“This includes content, channels, topics of interest, and current affairs. This will ensure brands actively creating digital demand instead of playing catch-up when consumers are moving forward quickly. The challenge is that brands often do not spend enough time studying what consumers are into today but instead, it insists on sticking to archaic brand guidelines or strategies that are no longer relevant in this season. Being able to identify that sooner will definitely help brands elevate their presence further,” he explained.

Wong said technology has played a significant part in reshaping the marketing industry over the years.

“Today, technology plays a part in positioning, placement and tracking, each piece of information shared in the digital space. Through all that, technology also allows individuals to quickly identify and pivot their marketing industry. Allowing for detailed targeting of audiences with data-backed information.

“This also indirectly increases the need for creative campaigns which are driven by studying the audience behaviours and how they react to certain messaging that was put out,” he added.

Wong said OpenMinds has been actively bridging the gaps in the industry that they have identified as data analysis, performance marketing, and technology development.

“OpenMinds has always been actively introducing new solutions to brands and is currently creating a smarter and more effective way for brands and manufacturers to engage end consumers. This approach combines the usage of supply chain traceability, loyalty mechanics, last-mile marketing engagement solutions and a deep chain of data tracking, while keeping it accessible to both SMEs and enterprise level customers. This will close a huge online-to-offline gap in many industries.

“This includes performance marketing where we assist brands in optimising the marketing funnel and clarifying their go-to-market strategy for better reach, engagement, and return of ad spend. Combined with our data analysis capabilities, we have helped many to identify gaps and opportunities to capitalise on in this season,” he said.

OpenMinds created an educational platform named OpenAcademy to enable people at OpenMinds to share the skills they are actively learning and have used for their clients in the form of workshops and tailored sessions for companies and individual.

“We see many self-proclaimed gurus, academies and corporate trainers out there providing either dubious or theoretical content that simply does not work for brands and we want to change that.”

Wong said OpenAcademy’s mobile application was introduced in 2020 to lower the barrier of entry of learning by using the familiar bite-sized, vertical video format seen on Instagram Stories or TikTok.

“OpenAcademy hosts a range of educational topics such as digital marketing, public relation, crisis management, self-branding, creative solutions, e-commerce and many more. We serve these contents in a mixture of video, visual, statistics, quotes and interactive questionnaires.

“OpenAcademy provides corporate training and workshops to organisations too. The company is giving away 100,000 free premium accounts for a year,” he added.

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