Tag Archives: internet

iKorea: Media Reps – Past, Present, and Future

iKorea is a new column by Soyoon Bach, a Digital Marketing professional in Seoul, covering developments in the Korean digital ecosystem.

If you work in advertising in Korea, you will most definitely have heard of the term “rep sa.” “Rep” is short for “representative” and “sa” in Korean means “company.” This is a shortened phrase for agencies that Koreans refer to as “media representatives.” So what exactly are media reps?

The general hierarchy of the Korean digital advertising landscape goes like this:

Advertiser → Ad Agency → Media Rep → Publishers

Simply put, media reps act as liaisons between agencies and publishers. They arrange the sale of media inventory on behalf of advertisers (or agencies). Media reps also provide media plans, intricate reporting, optimization recommendations, updates about the newest publishers and ad types, etc. Many media reps have proprietary technologies that make setting up ads easier, provide key insights, and run ads more efficiently.

The first ever media rep can be traced back to 1980 with the establishment of KOBACO. They were resellers for TV ad inventory and became the sole entity to control all the domestic TV ad inventory. They retained their power until a constitutional court ruled this as illegal monopolistic practice.

Since then, Korea has diversified its media rep offerings and media reps have especially become a key player in the complicated world of digital advertising. Usually, ad agencies don’t have the time or resources to keep contact with every single publisher or media platform out there and know which ones are best for their needs. This is where media reps come in. They synthesize all media-related information and updates and provide agencies with the insights they need. They let us know which creative is best served on which platform. Some platforms also have strict inventory booking processes. There are minimum spends, minimum ad periods, and cancellation fees. Media reps keep track of these processes and give ad agencies a heads up when they think certain bookings will become an issue.

The initial idea of media reps started out as a broker, a simple reseller. Now, they have evolved to so much more. They are media agencies for ad agencies, providing critical services that they can’t get from publishers directly. For instance, if an ad agency is working with multiple media platforms without a media rep, it’ll be up to them to individually communicate and negotiate with the publishers, set up the ads, aggregate the data, and compile the reporting. However, when you go through a media rep, they provide all these services for you so that you can spend more time tending to your clients.

Because this is such a common practice that’s taken for granted, it’s easy to forget that there are actually no regulations in place regarding this process. There’s no restrictions preventing agencies from bypassing media reps and going directly to the publishers. Similarly, there’s nothing to stop media reps from reaching out directly to advertisers. However, this practice continues to exist because this breakdown and distribution of tasks lets everyone do their jobs more easily.

A client can have one contact point for all their media dealings (the agency) instead of having to individually contact the publishers. Agencies can also focus more on making creatives and strategizing on the overarching direction of the campaigns. Media reps gain more clients and without much effort by teaming up with an agency and publishers also have the same benefits by teaming up with a media rep. The benefits are so real that Korean publishers will also pay back some of the money to media reps or agencies as a sales commission. And this commission could be as high as 20%.

For how much longer this model will persist, only time can tell. But media reps are already starting to feel the onset of programmatic media buying as a threat to their business. Global agencies are receiving pressures from their global headquarters to implement systems such as DBM and manage it internally, taking some business away from media reps. Media reps are frantically trying to develop their programmatic departments so that agencies will still be incentivized to use them for these services.

What’s for sure is that we’re hitting another disruptive phase in digital advertising and how media reps will fit into this picture is still to be determined.

5 Steps to Capture the Valentine’s Day Dollar

With Valentine’s Day hot on the heels of Chinese New Year – itself coming about a month after Christmas – there have been and will be great opportunities for retailers to capture the gift-giving market. Yet, it’s been well publicized that the retail industry is flagging, with data showing that the average vacancy rate of suburban malls, has doubled from less than 1 per cent in 2013 to 2.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016.

The problem is that we’re no longer in an era of business as usual. Retailers cannot employ the same tactics which have worked for years and expect customers to come flocking back. In today’s age, customer experience is the new currency. The strategy of leveraging products to gain a competitive advantage is obsolete when you are fighting with “everything stores” like Amazon and Alibaba which offer almost infinite choice and cheaper prices. When everything is available all the time, at any price, experience is the remaining true differentiator

How can retailers generate powerful experiences to capture today’s new customers (and their Valentine’s day gifting dollar)? It’s a journey to get from being a product-based business to an experience-based business. In its recent “Path of Experience” report, Adobe sheds insights on the 5 milestones to experience-driven commerce:

  1. Segmentation: The first milestone on the journey is to truly know one’s audience. They exist, but the challenge is in finding them, and defining them. Not by demographics, but through shared attributes and behaviours. In practical terms, this allows a retailer to reach many individuals with a collective message and expect a certain desirable result. Each audience has to be large enough to make a difference in revenues, but small enough to be distinct. The answer to this is big data – be it through first party, second or even third party data. This is where a data management platform comes in, pooling all this information so retailers can experiment with traits that help them find these natural groupings
  1. Personalization: With the data, you can now create a special and specific experience for each audience segment. Wooing a customer with a one-sized-fits-all approach is no longer effective today, akin to giving a girl roses when she in fact prefers lilies. Whilst personalization is nothing new, today’s difference is that it can be delivered at scale using automation. By using the digital fingerprints that customers leave behind after every interaction, retailers can build a progressive personal profile that allows them to understand how customers feel, what they do, and ultimately, what customers want.
  1. Omnichannel: Now that retailers have gotten the ability to achieve customer intimacy, the third experience milestone is putting those relevant, personalized experiences where they count. Different customers use channels in different ways—without differentiating between touchpoints and channels, inbound and outbound. The consumer is everywhere. Retailers need to be there as well. And the best way to do this is via the mobile – the most personal device ever. Because of this, mobile often serves as a second-screen or cross-channel resource especially in brick-and-mortar selling. This opens the door for intelligent contextual marketing, where mobile is viewed as a behavior rather than a separate channel or technology. Because the behavior is constant, brick-and-mortar retailers can use mobile to augment the store experience, using various technologies.
  1. Dynamic Content: Experience-driven commerce requires that retailer reimagine what shopping looks like. It’s more about telling a story rather than telling the customer why they should buy the product, instilling a perception of increased value that differentiates from the competition. Dynamic content and shoppable media can bridge that gap, using the latest tools to tell compelling stories that take buyers straight to the checkout line. A great example of this implementation is Amazon Go – reducing barriers to commerce to make shopping a breeze
  1. Real-Time Analytics: As no two customers will share the same purchase journey, it’s important to always know where customers are at. Real-time data allows retailers to watch over the customer’s shoulder, understand the journey and smooth out any rough spots. It makes it easier for retailers to lead the customer from awareness to conversion. Analytics also provides optimization opportunities – and the chance to fine-tune the customer journey through a simple three step process: Measure (customer interactions), Adjust and Improve (the customer journey).

While the journey might sound a bit daunting at the outset, the key is to start small, move forward, and not stagnate. By carefully evaluating their ability to act on the five capabilities described above, retailers should get a better idea of where they need to go. And as they do, the customer experience will surely improve.

For more information, please download the full report here.

Digital in Asia 2017 Overview

Digital growth accelerated over the previous 12 months in Asia Pacific, with internet users up 15% to pass the 1.9 billion mark. There are now also 4 billion mobile phone subscriptions across APAC, a penetration rate of 96%.

These findings have exciting implications for businesses, governments, and society, but they are also testament to the speed with which digital (and mobile) connectivity is changing the lives of people in the region.

More than 1.4 billion Asian consumers now use social media on a monthly basis, with 95% of them accessing platforms via mobile devices – the highest ratio in the world.

Digital in 2017: Southeast Asia

Digital in 2017: Eastern Asia

Digital in 2017: Southern Asia

Digital in 2017: Australia, New Zealand & The Pacific

Source: We Are Social

Top 10 2017 Global Consumer Trends

Experts at market researcher Euromonitor International recently released research providing a look ahead at key global consumer trends for in 2017.

These are the ten to watch:

  • 55%: The percentage of the total global population that will live in cities in 2017, which is five points higher than it was in 2007, the year that urban population first surpassed rural population.
  • 30.1: The median age of the global population in 2017, up from 27.9 a decade ago.
  • 3.5 million: The number of additional people that will come online per week globally in 2017.
  • 188,000: The number of single-person households that will be added globally each week.
  • 44.1%: Percentage of payments made with cards – not cash – in 2016 measured by value, marking the first year cash (43%) was no longer the largest payment source. Card payments will continue to spike, reaching 49.1% of all value by 2021.
  • $711 billion: The value of the health and wellness industry in 2016. The industry is forecast to grow even larger in 2017, with demand surging for products such as meat substitutes and dairy milk alternatives.
  • 2.7 million: Babies projected to be born each week globally in 2017.
  • 2.3%: The percentage rise in consumer spending forecast for 2017.
  • $40 billion: Amount global consumers will spend each week.
  • $146 billion: Amount global consumers will save each week.

APAC Content Marketing Predictions for 2017

2016 was the year where content marketing went from a discussion point to a business imperative in Asia. But what’s next? What are the trends we expect to see in 2017?

We asked the board members and guests of the Asia Content Marketing Association (ACMA) for insights. And here they are.

Connecting the dots

In 2017 I think we will see more and more content marketers connecting more of the dots in the ecosystem – from data and analytics through to rich storytelling to commerce. It’s absolutely critical for content creators to be able to do this in a market where production margins are being eroded, competition and audience expectations are increasing and attention spans are shortening.

Josh Black

CEO – GroupM Content Asia Pacific

The changing face of influencers

With reduced organic reach, influencers have become an important part of the marketing mix. There’s a trend within influencer marketing to move away from employing A-list celebrities with huge reach but little relevance, to brands starting to realise that their budgets are spent more effectively recruiting micro-influencers who have a genuine relevance to the brand, rather than using one A-list influencer. These influencers allow brands to get in front of a relevant audience that’s likely to be more engaged and the influencer comes across as more authentic.

Simply put, a micro-influencer is someone with between 10,000 to 150,000 followers on Instagram, whereas a mid to top-tier influencer has over 150,000. Although a user’s amount of followers varies for each account, we’re beginning to realise that this particular group of individuals has the ability to change the way brands work with influencers forever.

Influencer marketing will continue to mature, as brands struggle to reach people organically, along with the rise of adblockers, meaning brands will need to use influencers as part of their distribution strategy.

Shamila Gopalan

Founder and Managing Director, Blink Asia

Woe, woe and wooooooooooh…

In Cassandra mode, I have two predictions. The first is that we’re all screwed…we’ll be replaced by robots. Recently, a friend at a global agency that, out of respect for its privacy, I’ll refer to only as Ogilvy, which also happens to be its name (I know; what are the chances?) made a series of increasingly complex arrangements for a lunch meeting with a potential supplier. Only afterwards did he learn that the arrangements on the supplier’s end had been made 100% by bot.

My other Cassandra conjecture is a huge rise in the implementation of content curation. With increasingly shrinking budgets, I fear that ‘curating’ existing content from the internet rather than commissioning original stuff will prove only too attractive to the bean counters in procurement.

In Pollyanna mode, however, I’m predicting (with fingers and all other extremities firmly crossed) that 2017 is the year we finally get affordable, accessible VR. The potential to engage consumers like never before and improve the marketing of even the smaller brands through experiential content is truly exciting.

Henry Adams

Founding Partner, Contented

Sorting business from the inside out

Focused on my specific area, I want to highlight two critical aspects that must happen in Asia for brands to not just embrace content marketing, but to flourish by committing long-term to it.

The first is getting businesses organised and transformed from the inside out. The whole business must get behind content marketing, and while the marketing team enables it, everyone needs to get on board and it starts at the top. Content marketing needs to become the beating heart of every business, which means the existing siloes of organisations (siloes of separation and internal competition) must come down, and collectively, everyone become aligned and focused 100% to serve the customer. It’s truly transformational stuff.

The second is employee advocacy. This is going to be a hot trend of 2017, but too many businesses (and those selling employee advocacy solutions) are only looking at employees as mouthpieces for brands. This is definitely not what employee advocacy is about.

Employees must be advocates for themselves first, the brand second. And not only are employees advocates, but content creators in their own right. This is how we move from content shock to content value, because it is created by the people who know your business and know your customer.

Both trends are big mind shifts for businesses, but the ones who get it, understand it and unleash the pure power of their employees; will see truly magnificent results. It’s time to unleash the humans of business – the reason your customers do business with you.

Andrea Edwards

CEO and Founder, The Digital Conversationalist

Quality content only game in town

Hmmm, *strokes chin*, I predict the VR/360 consumer hype bubble will burst as the realisation dawns that wearing a digital blindfold no matter what it’s screening is not a comfortable experience. Strictly niche and professional uses will be the end result of the VR/360 hype.

Quality content will be the only game in town worth playing in. Enlightened clients are already rewarding those willing to resist the race to the bottom that is competing on price.

New terminologies will start to take hold. I’ve been thinking a lot about how storytelling as part of a feed is now a thing, what do we call that? The old broadcast and print terminologies will slowly be replaced.

Simon Kearney

CEO and Co-Founder, Click2View

2017 will be the year of delegation

We’ve seen how powerful great creators can be in some of the stand out executions of 2016, but we’ve also seen how innovation can be stifled by hierarchies and committees. In 2017 we’ll see senior management embracing core messages and style guides as their primary control mechanisms, whilst genuine innovation will be delegated to the practitioners that deliver it best – inspired imaginations, informed insights and a flair for originality that transcends everyday thinking.

Nick Fawbert

Founder, Mutiny Asia

Time of content eco-systems

2017 will finally be the year clients buy in to the notion of the content ecosystem. The understanding that all of their platforms and customer touchpoints, both online and offline, need to be connected with one voice. The content ecosystem ensures that customers get a consistent message and experience wherever they touch the brand.”

Simon Cholmeley
CEO, Novus Asia

Personalisation

2017 will be the year of personalised or adaptive content.  With programmatic becoming the increasing norm, we’ll see content ideas re-purposed into multiple iterations; allowing for greater personalisation with data and tech driving the relevant distribution.  However, tech won’t rule the industry.  We’ll still need humans to develop unique insights, a sound strategy, great content creation, solid execution and analysts to interpret results.

Mike Jackson

Managing Director, MEC Wavemaker 

Partnerships and M&As

This is the time for strategic partnerships and M&As across industries, verticals and platforms. This is the time to redefine the role of content and the role of access. Our role as content marketing leaders will be to provide the methodology, process and management of the role of content across these new constellations.

The Microsoft/LinkedIn acquisition marked the dawn of this new era, not just a new trend for M&As but a clear recognition by tech companies that they need to invest in content, content platforms and distribution channels. The interesting shift in focus here comes from what’s clearly a recognition by companies that the future formula is to own both the access to the audience, the content and the conversation.

BandLab partnering with Rolling Stones and AT&T acquiring Time Warner are perfect examples of this, where they are securing the ownership of a bigger ecosystem. With social and amplification channels increasingly becoming paid only and the organic aspect dying away, the importance of building your house on your own property and not on rented land is increasingly clear and I believe these M&As and strategy partnerships are part of responses to this shift.

The race is now on to ensure company-owned property controls the access, the content and the conversations across the ecosystem. I think we will see the AliBabas and Ciscos of this world acquiring the Walt Disney’s and NYT’s of this world!

Hedvig Lyche

Global Strategy Director, King Content

Last but not least, it’s all about the data

Content Marketing has been a growing area of focus in recent years. In 2017, we expect to see data being utilised to far greater effect – both in measuring the performance of content as brands strive to understand exactly what is capturing the attention of their consumers, and in measuring the effective amplification of content. This is vital if you want people to actually read/watch what you’re producing. Knowing which channels are the right ones to reach your audience is just as important as knowing what interests them!

Adrian Watkins

Managing Director and Co-Founder, PerformanceAsia

What prediction resonated with you? What was missed? What contradiction did you pick up?

Happy Holidays and here’s to an amazing 2017 for content marketing in Asia.

Digital Savvy but Shy: How Vietnam’s Generation Z is making brands work harder

We’ve heard plenty about Millenials (or Generation Y), those born between 1976 and 1994. But as this generation continues to age, marketers are starting to shift their attention to the next wave – Generation Z, those born in 1995 or later.

A new report from market research company Epinion and OMD looks at GenZ (Generation Z) in Vietnam. Numbering 14 million, and with an average monthly disposable income of 112 USD – significant in this emerging market – GenZ is incredibly valuable for Vietnamese brands.

However, for marketers to connect effectively with GenZ they must recognise them as a separate entity to their Millennial (or Generation Y) predecessors.

GenZ really just enjoy being online, hanging out and cocooning at home. Their most enjoyed activity is reading news on Facebook, and most comfortable method of contact with friends through chat apps.

GenZilla

They are also fairly marketing savvy. Only 27% said they would trust a celebrity endorsement or comment, and just 13% trust online reviews.

Bui Tieu Vy, Epinion’s Senior Marketing Executive said: “Our results found that because the under 21s have only ever known a world with internet, the line between digital and physical is very blurred to them and most feel their existence is validated by their social media presence. They would be nothing without their phone, and a large proportion have more than one.

“On top of this, they have learned from their predecessors’ mistakes and are very skeptical, making them much more unlikely to fall for online scams. For brands this means GenZ is able to read between the lines of marketing ploys and will require much more convincing to connect with a brand than to simply be told it is good.”

When it came to traditional advertising, again, this is a hard bunch to impress with only 21% trusting radio adverts, 17% magazine and 15% for both TV and newspaper ads.

A surprising 72% said it was advice from their parents or experts they trusted, reinforcing the importance of the family structure in a country still emerging into the modern era.

Bui Tieu Vy added: “For brands to connect with GenZ they must utilise a strong content strategy that displays social consciousness and demonstrates a higher purpose. ”

Find out more and download the report here.

Mobile Marketing in Asia

Vserv in partnership with the MMA have compiled a series of presentations covering key mobile consumer stats for many of the Asian markets. These provide comprehensive summaries of the mobile landscape in each market, covering apps, ads and social amongst other topics. Continue reading Mobile Marketing in Asia

Chinese Media Spend Lagging Behind Consumer Digital Habits

The rising Chinese middle class are spending more time with digital media, but advertisers have yet to reflect this shift with reallocated media budgets according to a new report.

“The Chinese middle class is not necessarily the richest, as a large number of young people are put into this category,” said Steven Chang, CEO of ZenithOptimedia Greater China, “but they definitely promise more wealth with a bigger purchasing power in the near future.” Continue reading Chinese Media Spend Lagging Behind Consumer Digital Habits

Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Readiness

A recent report from Adobe looks at the readiness of Asia Pacific marketers for Digital. The top line is that the industry is gaining in Digital confidence regionally, but budget and talent deficits are hampering development. Continue reading Asia Pacific Digital Marketing Readiness

Focus on… Vietnam’s Digital Landscape

In the third of our series covering individual Asian market Digital landscapes, we take a look at Vietnam.

With a population in excess of 90 million and internet penetration of 35.6%, Vietnam represents a huge opportunity for brands. 52% of Vietnamese consumers watch online video on a daily basis, meaning the transition of consumer attention from TV to alternative screens is happening at a rapid pace. Mobile penetration is around 145%, although with only 15.5 million 3G subscribers, and 69% of the population located in rural areas, the key consumer challenge still remains engagement on feature phones.

Below are five of the latest takeaway resources covering the key digital facts and figures for Vietnam. Continue reading Focus on… Vietnam’s Digital Landscape