Best tools to adapt to SEA marketing trends this 2024

Exploring the top marketing trends and tools for 2024 from AI-driven strategies, the rise of social commerce, increasing influence of micro-influencers, to the pivotal role of first-party data in Southeast Asia.

Best tools to adapt to SEA marketing trends this 2024

The digital economy in Southeast Asia (SEA) is poised for substantial growth, projected to reach US$100 billion in revenue by the end of 2023. This growth is fueled by an increase in digital consumers and evolving customer expectations, demanding a shift in marketing strategies.

Recent studies from Temasek, Google, and Bain, alongside insights from HubSpot, illuminate these shifts and forecast the trends that will define the region's marketing landscape in 2024. Here are the 6 key trends:

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1. AI as the ultimate marketing assistant

Artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping marketing in SEA. Investments in AI and machine learning (ML) are set to increase by 67% in 2023, with generative AI becoming a critical tool for content creation. According to HubSpot, 89% of marketers in Singapore view generative AI as essential for producing personalized, high-quality content swiftly.

This technology not only enhances efficiency but also alleviates the burden of repetitive tasks, allowing marketers to focus on strategic and creative endeavors. To effectively implement AI, companies are now prioritizing training and the hiring of AI implementation experts to navigate initial adoption hurdles.

AI marketing assistant tools: ChatGPT, Market Muse, Pardot by Salesforce

2. The rise of social commerce

Social commerce is gaining traction, with SEA marketers capitalizing on the region’s extensive social media usage—approximately three hours daily. This channel offers substantial ROI, driven by influencer partnerships and direct customer interactions via social platforms, fostering seamless in-app shopping experiences. This trend is expected to intensify in 2024, with continued investment in social selling tools and strategies.

Social media management tools: Ocoya, Khoros, Yotpo

3. Dominance of short-form video

Platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are set to dominate the digital scene with short-form video content. This format has proven to yield the highest ROI for social media marketing in SEA, favored for its effectiveness in engaging the digital-first audience and driving content discovery.

This trend underlines the importance of adapting marketing strategies to include dynamic and engaging video content to meet the changing preferences and behaviors of consumers in Southeast Asia.

AI-powered video generators: Synthesia, FlexClip, Lumen5

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4. Influence of micro-influencers

Influencer marketing in Southeast Asia (SEA) is bolstered by the significant engagement influencers garner on social media, with over half of the region's population following influencers, as reported by Milieu Insight. Furthermore, a survey by Cube Asia underscores this trend, revealing that 82% of SEA respondents believe their purchasing decisions are significantly influenced by recommendations from influencers or celebrities, highlighting the impact of influencer marketing on consumer behavior.

Looking ahead to 2024, SEA marketers are expected to increasingly partner with micro-influencers, who, despite typically having smaller audiences, offer substantial benefits for brand promotion. While influencer-driven content may not always lead directly to sales conversions, the enhanced brand visibility and credibility that come from these partnerships are invaluable for maintaining consumer awareness and affinity.

Tools to connect and manage micro-influencers: AspirelQ, Upfluence, Heepsy

5. Navigating data privacy with first-party data

The phaseout of Google's third-party cookies marks a pivotal shift in digital marketing strategies across Southeast Asia (SEA), prompting marketers to increasingly rely on first-party data and social media targeting. This change is driven by the need to adhere to stricter data privacy regulations and the growing concern for user privacy in the region.

As marketers pivot away from third-party cookies, the integration of AI with first-party data emerges as a key strategy to enhance content personalization. This combination enables the creation of content that resonates more effectively with specific audiences, thereby improving the overall customer experience and relevance of marketing efforts.

Tools to collect and manage first-party data: Segment, Tealium, BlueConic

6. Creating a single source of truth

A 2023 HubSpot survey revealed that over 80% of marketers in Singapore find disconnected data and systems to be major obstacles to success, often resulting in insufficient or inaccessible data due to siloed systems. This disconnection impedes the ability to extract actionable insights, which is crucial as digital touchpoints proliferate across the customer journey.

To address this, marketers are increasingly turning to tools like customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, which facilitate the collection, storage, and management of customer data from multiple sources, aiming to establish a unified source of truth.

CRM tools: HubSpot, Salesforce, Zendesk

By leveraging the power of AI, social commerce innovations, and robust data management tools, marketers can create more personalized, engaging, and effective marketing strategies that resonate with audiences across the region.

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