Top Martech Trends Reshaping Customer Expectations in SEA

As customers in SEA rapidly become tech-savvy, their expectations from brands have also changed. Here are a few martech trends that are prominent in meeting customer expectations.

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  • The adoption of AI-powered marketing technologies will continue to grow within SEA, where companies are poised to invest 67% more in AI and Machine Learning as a part of their sentiment analysis strategy.

    With the thriving digital economy in Southeast Asia hitting over $100 billion in revenue, consumer expectations are inevitably increasing. They are inclined towards relevant and responsive brands regarding user interactions and engagements. Here is where brands and marketers need to incorporate cutting-edge technologies to attract new customers and retain the existing ones as a part of their loyalty program. 

    Considering these factors, HubSpot revealed some marketing trends and observations across its SEA operations that will enable brands to gain a competitive edge. However, before delving into those trends, it is essential to understand the data points increasing the gap between brands and consumers. 

    What factors are responsible for the ever-increasing gaps between brands and consumers?

    To understand the market scenario of major digital-first economies such as Singapore, HubSpot surveyed various ecommerce industry leaders. Nearly 90% of the respondents said it has become harder to reach prospects in 2023 compared to the previous year. At the same time, 80% were concerned about the declined ROI. 

    Enlisted below were a few key takeaways from the survey: 

    • 32% of business leaders experienced challenges related to data and systems 
    • 13% of leaders said organisational data and systems are disconnected
    • 12% of them revealed that they have too much data and it’s inaccessible 
    • 81% of them said that their data and systems are disconnected and have become more of a problem 

    Which MarTech trends will drive exponential shifts in consumer expectations?

    After digging deeper into the challenges of marketers in the Southeast Asian region, it was clear that the criteria for reducing customer churn are beyond competitive pricing and product quality. Here are some predictions from Kat Warboys, HubSpot’s Marketing Director for Asia Pacific:

    01. AI and Gen-AI-powered marketing tools to take centre stage

    The adoption of AI-powered marketing technologies will continue to grow within SEA, where companies are poised to invest 67% more in AI and Machine Learning as a part of their sentiment analysis strategy. Marketers will leverage the capabilities of generative AI tools to gain data-backed insights to genuinely connect with their customers by identifying and solving their complex challenges. 

    02. Social commerce will continue to influence the market

    Marketers in SEA are utilising social media platforms for consumer engagement and targeting, making social commerce an evident marketing channel in terms of ROI. This trend is expected to continue into 2024 and will see the most growth, with marketers investing heavily into influencer partnerships and social selling tools and offering customer service through direct messages on social platforms to create frictionless, in-app shopping experiences.

    03. Short-form video content reigns supreme

    Video-centric platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube will register the most growth in 2024. With social media videos contributing significantly to engaging SEA’s digital-first audience, short-form videos will offer the highest ROI to marketers.  

    04. Influencers to positively impact purchase decisions

    Marketers in SEA will continue to partner with influencers in 2024, keeping micro-influencers as their preferred collaborators. Influencers significantly aid brand awareness, keeping customers and prospects familiar with the brand. Working with micro-influencers is not only less expensive in most cases. Still, it can also facilitate access to tight-knit, engaged, and loyal communities – essential in the age of customer disconnection.

    05. Social media and first-party data targeting to thrive

    Marketers will utilise first-party data and switch to social media strategies to respond to  Google’s third-party cookie phaseout. AI-driven content, specifically tailored for target audiences, will complement these strategies. As a result, it will enable marketers to improve customer experience with personalisation, potentially enhancing conversions.  

    06. Single data platform to become a key to connect

    Marketing teams often utilise a variety of platforms to track and get insights from volumes of customer data streaming from different sources, leading to unsynced integrations and siloed workflows. Consequently, it leads to a disconnection between marketers and their existing customers or prospects. This challenge will continue to increase as SEA’s economies digitalise. 

    Wrapping it up, the landscape of the Southeast Asian digital commerce market will continue to evolve rapidly, and so will customer expectations. Therefore, brands must implement advanced marketing technologies catering to a customer-first approach. The possibilities lie in being transparent, responsive and highly interactive while incorporating marketing strategies. 


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