Digital marketing need more scientists, particularly when it involves big data. A year into her role as I-COM vice chair for China, Joni Ngai shares emerging trends and insights from the conference she attended in Rome recently.
The theme of the global summit was "Big Data: Game Changing Strategies that Drive Your Brand." It was an excellent opportunity to meet with all the industry leaders at the wonderful venue of the Hotel Rome Cavalieri (known as the "Mad Men" Hotel) in Rome to discuss industry topics, such as the transition from the "Mad Men" years to the "Math Men" era.
I think all topics that we have discussed are important for our industry and the full list of the topics are listed on our conference website.
In my opinion, the three most important takeaways for the event are:
I don't see China to be much different from the rest of the world from the 30,000-foot view trend. However, the way that it will be executed (ground-level view) will be different based on the market environment and infrastructure, and these fundamental factors cannot be ignored. China is a fast moving market and anything can happen, possibly in a way that goes much faster than the West. Weibo and WeiXin are some good examples of leapfrogging. New trends and opportunities should follow where the users are.
Mobile and social media are definitely key trends, as they're becoming an essential part of many Chinese users' lives. They will continue to grow exponentially as more and more affordable smartphone devices will be available in the market in 2013. As a result, there will be a lot more data that can be collected, with much more valuable dimensions that include users' location and their social behavioral information, which can potentially help businesses to execute much better targeting strategies to deliver the right messages, to the right people, at the right location, and the right time.
The Rise of RTB in China
At I-COM global summit, we also had a lot of discussion about the future of media planning and buying, as well as the important role of data and technology in the media space. With the RTB (real-time bidding) success in the west (RTB has already taken up significant share of display ad sales for U.S., U.K., France, and Germany at a very fast growth rate), many industry folks are expecting that a similar trend will happen in China too.
There are a lot of exciting opportunities, at the same time, I am seeing a big gap here. While the market (business leaders) is having very high expectations of the business values that data and technology will bring, there are still many challenges. Other than the talent shortage, there are still many fundamental issues yet to be resolved, including measurement standards, data quality, transparency, and privacy that are much more complicated issues. In reality, there is no shortcut.
I believe the future growth of data analytics in marketing is also dependent on how fast these fundamental measurement and data issues could be fixed. I am glad to hear a lot more discussions of these topics in China (compared with a few years ago), which is a positive sign that this will happen sooner or later.
I-Com and Ngai's role as China vice chair...
I-COM is a tripartite industry backed international forum for exploring data and measurement issues facing the digital marketing industry, with the goals of showcasing meaningful innovation, international co-operation, and working towards consensus on best practices. As the vice chair of I-COM in China, my role is to work with I-COM Program Board in China and The Interactive Internet Advertising Committee of China (IIACC) to facilitate China's full participation in an international effort to standardize online measurement. Our goal is to build and nurture an influential community of online measurement champions and support the growth of the industry in China.
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Joni Ngai is an Evangelist for Sitecore International. She works with business leaders to help them to realize the potential of how data and technology can help to target, acquire and retain customers more intelligently in today's connected world.
Other than her Evangelist job with Sitecore, she is a lecturer teaching graduate course for the Master of Science in New Media program at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also serves as Technical Editor for "Developing Analytic Talent: Becoming a Data Scientist" (to be published in 2014) for global publisher John Wiley & Sons. In 2012, Joni was appointed as Vice Chair for China at I-COM, an industry-backed global forum in digital measurement. She servers on the global advisory board and nominated as Co-Chair of the Data Track of I-COM Global Summit in 2014.
Joni has extensive experience across digital, CRM, online media, analytics and technology development. She started her digital consulting career with Razorfish in New York in 2000. Since then, she has worked with a number of digital agencies across the Asia-Pacific region for many global brands, such as Intel, Microsoft and P&G.
March 19, 2014