8 Top Trends of Marketing in Asia 2018 – Asia Marketing Federation

1. Digital technology and IoT cast a profound impact on marketing practices

Technology’s impact will become stronger and wider in every aspect of business and some areas of
job competencies. Technology will also be a strong enabler in supporting consumer-to-consumer
business through Internet marketplaces and will provide better one-on-one personalization/
customization. The use of artificial intelligence in wide-screen TVs, PCs, smartphones, tablets and
other devices will increase in accordance with the availability and affordability of those devices. In
some countries, drones, virtual reality, personal robots, etc. will have more practical uses. AI-based
technology will also be the key to improve quality of products and services, yet reducing costs at
the same time. Marketing will becoming more digital hence the involvement of IT or for marketers
to become more technology-competent is a must to create advantages in this digitally-competitive
market. Asia has embarked on the journey to develop an Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, support
advancement of a cloud-based era, and facilitate fixed mobile convergence (FMC). New digitalbased
business models will continue to disrupt the existence of companies with legacy/conventional
business models.

2. The integration of entrepreneurship and marketing is inevitable

Entrepreneurship will play a more crucial role in marketing to achieve business success through creation
of products, markets, as well as enhanced diversification. Many smaller companies will implement this
entrepreneurial marketing approach in facing their bigger competitors. Entrepreneurial marketing
will be strongly adopted by companies undergoing turbulent situations in business, characterized
by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA). Entrepreneurship is recognized as an
underlying factor for innovation and marketing provides a vehicle to penetrate and conquer the
market. In short, marketing will not function effectively without entrepreneurship and vice-versa. More
companies will adopt this approach to be more proactive in this very dynamic business landscape
and ensure that they can benefit from this sufficiently calculated risk-taking attitude.

3. Influence of younger generation with online and social media culture is unstoppable

Online and social media platforms will continue to become stronger in supporting businesses across
sectors and scales. While both of these platforms will not replace conventional marketing platforms
but will complement each other. A comprehensive social media presence is becoming a strategic
move for companies to stay ahead in this age of borderless competition, at a time when Y and Z
generation’s decision-making processes are increasingly influenced by existing social media content
align with the rise of content marketing. In spite of being more social, paradoxically, individualism will
emerge as a stronger personality trait among consumers due to the rise of ever powerful social media
platform. Hence, personal branding is on a rise and ‘celebgrams’ are casting more influence in shaping
communities. E-commerce will continue to flourish in accordance with its strong popularity among
younger-age groups, forcing marketers to listen to their voices seriously and come on-board with
online distribution channels. Startups or SMEs that have gone online will stand to gain from a better
competitive edge in seizing the market.

4. Companies are getting more concerned about their return-on-marketing (ROM)

In this super-competitive era, efficiency is becoming an important factor in ensuring that companies
are able to reap acceptable profit margins. While conventional analysis is still commonly used in
companies, but there is a greater need to also adopt a more data-driven analysis approach to be
able to make better-informed and accurate decisions. Hence, the use of much more sophisticated
marketing analytics technologies along with the emergence of Big Data is taking place, providing
dynamic insights on customer preferences and emerging trends, all the way up to individual level.
This in turn is expected will provide higher ‘hit rate’ and in turn collectively provide a better return on
marketing—basically every penny spent for on marketing efforts across all channels over a period of
time. This will be the basis for sound decision-making to achieve highest efficiency and effectiveness
from all marketing programs.

5. Halal market is getting bigger

Demand of Muslim-friendly and halal-certified products and services—ranging from categories
such as food, beauty products, fashion, tourism, banking, etc.—is getting higher in Asia. It is partly
attributed to stronger purchasing power of Muslims in the Malay archipelago with around 60% Muslim
population and the Indian subcontinent with around 30% Muslim population. Hence, halal certification
is being considered important more than ever. It is predicted that going forward, four out of five of
the countries with the world’s largest Muslim populations will be in the Asia-Pacific region, they are
India, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Bangladesh. The advent of Halal products and services in tourism and
hospitality industries will also be increasingly adopted in countries with Muslims minority populations,
such as South Korea and Thailand. Singapore, for instance, has provided a ‘Halal Eating Guide’ app to
assist travelers looking for halal food in the country. Millennials account for the largest proportion of
Muslims travelers, and hence it is important to make the halal-related information available through
digital and social media platforms.

6. Customer experience era is here to stay

The metric of good quality is becoming generic and customer experience (or CX) throughout
all customer touchpoints and journey is the new way to maintain customer repeat purchase and
stronger and more loyal customer relationships. On top of conventional approaches, the digitalbased
CX management throughout all business levels will become more important in enhancing
brand experience. Hence, an excellent omnichannel—a combination between offline and online—
experience that is designed based on a meticulous mapping of the customer journey (across all media
platforms) is the key to stay ahead of the competition. ‘Right here, right now, and personalized’ is also
one of the mantras to achieve enhanced customer experience, hence CX should be made available
everywhere including through mobile technology and ready to be accessed 24×7×365. Customer
loyalty program will continue to evolve further from transactional to emotional frameworks highly
influenced by big customer data and life stage behavior.

7. Fintech is proliferating resulting in a more advanced cashless society

Most countries are getting ready for this transition. China as well as Japan and South Korea are already
ahead in terms of digital payment systems, with several Asian countries in tow. The availability of
convenient as well as secure and easy online transactions and mobile payment gateways is becoming
commonplace in most big cities in Asia. Mobile financial services are expected to further foster
financial inclusion. The presence of Fintech (which will also collaborate with conventional banking) will
be stronger in the coming years and might strongly disrupt existing conventional banking systems,
forcing banks to review their digital readiness in order to better serve more digital-savvy markets.


8. Number of young entrepreneurs is increasing

More and more young people (including university graduates) are venturing into the startup space,
establishing budding ventures in various fields and areas, facilitated by the growing number of coworking
spaces, access to information (via the Internet), and the easiness of market access via online
platforms. These startups, in terms of what to offer and how to offer, are also expected to adopt
a more creative and innovative approach. Incubation hubs and emergence of a hot start-up scene
will be the key driving factors of innovation in some countries (Singapore is a good example). ICTenabled
youth—combined with strong entrepreneurship and smart partnership/collaboration—will
be better-served and stand a stronger chance to achieve success. However, unfortunately, the failure
rate of startups is still quite high, though this has done little to discourage or abate the interest and
enthusiasm of these young people to become entrepreneurs. What is interesting is that many of these
startups by young entrepreneurs are established not merely for pure business goals but also to pursue
a way to achieve social impact. Being transparent and authentic is a key to success for this kind of a
business with purpose.