A decade ago, marketing strategies were notoriously focused on brochures, print ads, and other means of marketing collateral. In recent years, however, the surge in online platforms such as Google and Yahoo, online banners and social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram have created a new dimension of marketing that has taken branding and marketing to another level. Every industry has been affected by the advances in digital – from financial services to retail brands.
Firms have realized the importance of being a part of the ‘consumer conversation’ and being first to respond to consumer comments about their brand. This change has accelerated, particularly in Asia-Pacific, where technology and consumer behavior is reaching a tipping point. Research shows us that over 90% of consumers in Hong Kong and Singapore use smartphones to keep themselves updated on current news as well as using mobile internet advertising. Firms in different sectors are now spending over $1 million in digital investment.
In the past, the role of digital marketing was handled by one or two marketing managers, and looking at / after digital platforms was only a small part of their role. Now however, most sectors are hiring social media specialists and digital marketing officers into their marketing or marketing communications teams to focus solely on digital initiatives such as being able to navigate the data deluge and developing a presence on social media sites such as Twitter and Weibo in order to have conversations with consumers and employees to build their company’s reputation.
In terms of remuneration, digital communicators are seeing an increase in average salaries compared to previous years. Unsurprisingly too, digital practitioners generally report feeling satisfied with their pay. The introduction of these new roles into marketing does however, bring certain challenges; senior management have yet to gauge the importance through ROI; therefore, the future credibility of digital communications in organizations will need to be directed towards aligning its’ activity and the firms’ overall strategy, as well as calculating ROI through data driven initiatives as part of the remit.
As the need for digital increases for organizations all over the world, the foreseeable future of digital practitioners, as an important part of the communications function, continues to rise rapidly. Firms are continuing to dedicate resources to enhance their capabilities and be part of what is now, the digital era.
By Mita Bijlani
Consultant, VMA Group Asia-Pacific
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