An interview with influencer platform CEO, Evangeline Leong


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Econsultancy often invites guest speakers to events who can help our audience, marketers, achieve digital excellence.

In Asia-Pacific, though, we noticed that we were missing one key thing.

While aiming for a balance of good speakers from many disciplines, we found that most volunteers were men.

To address that imbalance, Econsultancy will be holding our first ‘Digital Divas’ event on Friday, 17th August in Singapore. And while it will still feature the top talent of our industry, this time all of the speakers at the event are women.  

Senior client-side marketers who are interested in learning about current trends, best practices and the future of marketing should request their place at the event by clicking here

To give attendees a preview of what they can expect, we have asked each of the presenters to give us an overview of the current state of marketing and a few tips on how marketers can advance their careers.

Our first Digital Diva is Evangeline Leong. With almost 10 years of experience in embracing digital marketing, Evangeline is the Founder & CEO of Kobe Global Technologies – a fast-growing social media technology company in Singapore. 

Her company, Kobe, is an international, PCT patented, AI-driven advertising platform that pairs advertisers with relevant everyday influencers and helps marketers leverage the influencers’ ability to broadcast brand messaging to millions of users. 

Econsultancy: What does it mean for marketers to provide ‘brand leadership’?

Evangeline: “A ‘brand leader’ is the brand you think about when you think about the industry. The classic example is McDonald’s for fast food, but there are many other industries of course, and new ones popping up all the time – like fintech, recently.

“Because the brand leader of each industry keeps changing, marketers aiming to provide brand leadership should know their industry very well and aim to lift consumer recall of the brand, both aided and unaided.

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“The first step in providing brand leadership, then, is to position the brand in the mind of the consumer and achieve greater mindshare than other brands. 

“Step two is to measure this in terms of ‘pocketshare’ or how much the consumer is spending on our brand relative to others.

“So achieving top-of-mind recall with consumers is the most important part of providing brand leadership.

“The word strategy is used by different people, books, and papers in many different ways. Strategy should be the plan which shows how we will get to the end goal of our marketing from where we are now.  By using the right people, taking the right actions, using the right workflow and the right systems. Then we should be able to show the step-by-step to our end goal exactly.

“But a marketing strategy cannot stand alone.  It also needs to be well-aligned with the corporate goals as understood by sales, corporate communications, business development, etc.

“And this is the trouble with marketing. Marketers may have a fantastic strategy and do great work, but if the sales team doesn’t know about it and says something ‘wrong’ then our strategy may not matter.

“So, a marketing strategy needs to be communicated throughout the organisation. The way to do this is to wrap the strategy in a story. One which is simple, easy to understand, and inspires everyone in the organisation to work toward the same end goal.

“One way to think of ‘strategy storytelling’ is that it is like content marketing, but the intended audience is internal.

“Using this approach helps the entire organisations to move together as one and propel the brand toward market leadership.”

Econsultancy: What do you feel are the current trends in agency/media relationships?

Evangeline:In the past, marketers have relied on agencies to provide recommendations on what they should do.  Today, though, marketers are a lot more sophisticated, educated in digital, and understand their brand and brand story much better. Because of this, marketers now demand more from agencies.

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“Yet few agencies are now able to meet the higher demands. And, because of the internet, marketers can quickly check on whether agencies are legitimate and whether they are doing a good job for other clients.

“As a result, many brands are dropping agencies and moving work in-house.

“Overall, though, I think this is good for the industry as a whole as agencies will need to improve. Agencies need to work harder, learn more about technology and AI, and really help bring more value to marketers.

“As for the marketers, they need to continue to work on understanding the essence of their brand, know what their brand needs, and be able to communicate this to internal stakeholders. Additionally, they need to be able to pick the agency which can support them in a rounded way.

“As I said, the change has been good for the industry.  Recent campaigns I have seen are performing much better.”

Econsultancy: What should marketing leaders be doing to ‘prove’ marketing return on investment (ROI)?

Evangeline:The term ‘ROI’ is overly-used in the wrong context.  To measure the ‘return’ of something, we first need to define what we are trying to achieve when we start a campaign.

“If a campaign intends to shift a perception of how the consumer understands the industry, then we need to use metrics related to perception. This cannot be measured by the number of products and services we sell.

“Also, if we are looking to increase the number of eyeballs which are looking at a new product before we measure consumption and sales we need to first measure awareness.

“For example, if an FMCG brand decides to spend money on two marketing channels, say one traditional and one digital. If they have a sales uplift, should it be attributed to one or the other? It could also be due to changes in the industry environment.

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“So, I think that we need to stake a step back, understand exactly what we are trying to achieve and only then decide on the metric that we are going to use for ROI.”

Econsultancy: What should senior marketers be doing to progress in their careers?

Evangeline: “Right now, digital marketing is getting a lot of attention.  And people seem to have the perception that younger marketers are better at digital marketing because they grew up with it. Senior marketers are seen as understanding digital a little less. As a result, younger marketers appear to have an edge.

“But one advantage that senior marketers have is that they have 10, 20, or even 30 years of experience in the industry. Because of this, they are able to connect the dots and see trends that junior marketers may miss.”

“They have seen how Friendster came and went, how Yahoo came and went – and this experience means that senior marketers are able to provide better industry forecasts.

“Senior marketers still must know the latest technology, but they should use their ability to ‘see into the future’ to their advantage.”

Econsultancy: Do you have any special advice for other ‘digital divas’ out there?

Evangeline: “Actually, women do well in marketing jobs. Some traits of successful marketers are the power to empathise, the ability to listen, and the ability to listen and understand someone else’s point of view.

“At the end of the day, you are not selling to yourself. You are selling to your brand’s target audience. A lot of marketers find it a challenge to understand the customer persona when they are not in that target audience.

“I think female marketers tend to be able to empathize better and they should build on that strength to understand their target audiences very well. Using that strength will help them get ahead.”


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