Organisations are now making a keen effort to keep up with changes in technology, especially with the rapid digital transformation that was accelerated by the pandemic. The marketing world is no exception; it has undergone tremendous changes in the past couple of years, especially in the area of martech transformation.

One undeniable shift we’ve been seeing is in the area of e-commerce, consumers are connecting and shopping through online platforms more than ever. So much so that Asia Pacific’s e-commerce sales are expected to nearly double by 2025 reaching USD 2 trillion. Naturally this has caused an increasing pressure for brands to tap into social media and other digital marketing tools to virtually engage and build trust with consumers in addition to serving as retailtainment.

But that’s not all, Martech is also currently solving a lot of problems that traditional marketers didn’t realise they existed.  Or not yet. Many of these problems lie mostly upon one thing and that is customer data. Managed and harnessed correctly, customer data will be the key for organisations to unlock their current and future opportunities. We have seen a considerable move towards fixing the data problem in 2021 and how that has brought exciting results of what businesses can do with Martech, but it just a start (more on this below). We will be seeing rapid growth of that and more in 2022 as the world of marketing continues to transform. One thing is for sure – like most operating modules moving forward, Martech adoption will instead focus on agility, avoiding the hype of technology to look at practical tech solutions that can influence strategy, insights and engagement in the long run.

Here are key Martech trends that will help businesses in Asia Pacific get ready for 2022.

1. Contextual personalisation will become a basic requirement

While contextual personalisation has been embraced and practiced by a large number of businesses around the world especially in recent years, we will see a massive increase in this area, if not a full adoption by the rest of the players who are yet to do so. Delivering contextual personalisation will no longer be an option or a nice-to-have feature in the overall e-commerce or customer experience strategy, but a necessity if businesses want to retain their customers and increase satisfaction. Considering that 69% of consumers across APAC expect brands they buy from to deliver a reward programme customised to their interest and 64% expect tailored suggestions based on their purchased history and preferences*, we are reaching the tip of maturity for contextual personalisation.

*Source: SAP’s Heart Matters consumers research conducted in March 2021.

2. Humanised content marketing will be the gold standard

With the majority of us working from home in the past two years, the line between personal and professional life has blurred, and we’ve seen many businesses communicate more humanly to their customers about their products and offerings. Especially more so for those in the B2B and technology industries, with Apple paving the way years ago, the demand for a message so simple that our grandmother can understand is one that cannot be ignored.

Additionally, with the webinar fatigue phenomenon that is so real, businesses can no longer afford to rely on a traditional one-hour webinar, full of technical details and jargon to convey their message to the customers. A case in point is what my team has started doing here at SAP Customer Experience APJ where we break down an hour of content into a short series of not more than 20-min episodes* and make those to be easily accessed on-demand instead of expecting the audience to attend LIVE. What we’re seeing is when we let our audience consume the content at their convenience, they actually receive the information better.

*Source: SAP’s CX Keeping It REAL! shows.

3. Customer data management will be your new best friend

GDPR has definitely changed the game for global organisations in how they deal with data privacy and management, especially with its non-compliance of 4% fine of one global revenue. Many countries have since taken the same step and imposed similar regulations.

This enforcement has made businesses search for technology to help them ensure that they keep abreast with the latest data regulations and that they can fully optimise the usage of their customer data. Because the problem most companies have today is not the lack of data, but rather the inability to fully optimise and harness those data. This is where technology like SAP customer data platform comes in as the backbone that enables true personalisation, especially when it’s combined with a personalisation engine like Emarsys.

4. Less is more (consolidation of technology)

Another massive phenomenon we’re seeing and will continue to see is businesses doing is called a technology house-cleaning that is mainly driven by the pandemic.

The pandemic has served as a stress test for businesses and many were found failing to deliver what we consider the basic. This was especially glaring in the area of supply chain and digital marketing, where on-time delivery, responsive customer service and the right product (or promotion) delivered was a hit and miss.

The root cause often is the lack of integration of their technology. Most organisations run on many solutions to manage different functions of the business and while it might be working pre-COVID, the sheer and sudden increase of demand has thrown the system off and many businesses find themselves caught in the mess. Moving forward, we will see massive efforts around technology overhaul.

5. Rise of a new digital marketing

I foresee that with the huge increase in digital marketing especially on paid search and paid media efforts, there’s a real demand for new channels and platforms to run these campaigns instead of the traditional ones we’re using today (Google Search, YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook/or Meta). Especially when many of the existing channels are so clogged and saturated, with everyone targeting the same audience and posting similar content.