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Guest Times: Marketers adding method to madness to be in the driving seat of content marketing

Shailja Varghese, CMS Asia Advisory Board Member & Independent Content Consultant, shares why she had always felt the need for a boutique Content Marketing forum to get the purist voice of content

I have spent some part of this year as an Advisory Board Member for Asia’s largest Content Marketing Conference Content Marketing Summit Asia (CMS Asia). It’s been one of the most enriching and insightful journeys from the time we started pre-work till the grand launch of the conference on October 10, 2017 in South East Asia. I had always felt the need for a boutique Content Marketing forum to get the purist voice of content, so marketers could add some method to the ongoing madness in the space of content. CMS Asia was a large-scale masterclass which brought brands together for real-life learning and perspective from advertisers who have done it successfully using content marketing. While many other forums dished out same information from other platforms, CMS Asia got freshness to subject of content marketing, which was evident from the participation and feedback.

The need to create a purist platform for content marketers in Asia

It’s been a timely launch for CMS Asia for many reasons:

  • By 2019, $313 billion will be spent on content marketing globally
  • Value of online video sector in Asia Pacific will grow to $35 billion by 2021
  • In Asia, content marketing is growing @5-10% per annum
  • In the next 10 years, 50% of the marketing budget will go in content marketing
  • Big spenders in content are FMCG, banking, finance, insurance and f&b sectors
  • Companies who have invested in content hubs; Lego, Red Bull, Loreal, Yahoo-Storytellers, PHD, OMD, Starcom, Denstu, BBC

Technology is transforming our everyday life. We will see reverse engineering of the human brain, and computers that will combine the subtlety and pattern recognition of human intelligence with the speed, memory and knowledge sharing of machine intelligence.

By 2020, 65% of the 9 billion population will be on net and smartphones will become our external brain. Internet-connected devices will outnumber humans three to one by 2020.

Experts also predict that 50 per cent of occupations today will no longer exist by 2025 as artificial intelligence continues to transform businesses and people will take up more creative professions. Hence, business which offer services and value which is on a higher value chain have chances to survive while AI eats into middle level, customer work and process work.

This is not surprising looking at the number of chief growth officers and new age job titles like content futurist, analytics adviser, concept designer, community manager.

Changes in consumers and the technology that drives their behaviours, brands will be forced to re-evaluate purpose, hence their approaches to addressing consumer needs.

Best in class content marketing case studies presented at CMS Asia

The definition of content marketing has changed over the past decade. 70% potential buyers walking into any showroom know which product or brand to buy. So, branded content has gone through a paradigm shift and it’s about targeting the audience with content early in the consumer journey, craft stories maybe with influencers which talk about product features, utilities and benefits also called Help content. Thus, it’s imperative to make the buyers come onto the product page to do research on what product to buy.

Key highlights from CMS Asia 217 – South East Asia edition:

  • The conference power-packed keynote address by Zarina Stanford, APJ Marketing Head of SAP who shared how brands should pursue content marketing.
  • Margery Lynn from Uber shared how they are using content to connect with both consumers and their driver partners.
  • Tony Chow from Marriott Content Studio shared deep insights into building a content hub.
  • Conrad Mendoza from HP shared how HP uses content to connect with its current and potential customers and how to look at ROI of content marketing.
  • Dhiren Amin took us through the journey of what works for Kraft Heinz when it comes to content.
  • Laura Kantar from Foodpanda discussed how they use content to activate the taste buds in Singapore.
    • Foodpanda: How People React To Food Deliveries
    • Foodpanda creates content in localised and creative way. They mostly use influencers who eventually become their brand ambassadors and grow with the business.


  • Steven from Qraved Indonesia brought his perspective on Context, which is very important for content marketing.
  • Matteo Sutto from iPrice Group Malaysia shared how content can be used to drive commerce.
  • Pratik Thakar from Coca-Cola shared how to adopt an Omni-Channel content strategy in his session.
  • Chantal from Jetstar talked about how content is important in a price sensitive category like airlines where consumer decision is largely dependent on Price and there is huge Cost War going on.
    • Jetstar campaign Free flights for travel over Lunar New Year, would you?, was based on deep cultural insight. It used to be the tradition when family members stay home to celebrate the Lunar New Year together, but today many Chinese, especially the young, prefer to spend the festival in some foreign lands.


  • Kellogg’s Corn Flakes campaign is based on the insight that people love to consume cornflakes in their own personalised way. The campaign delves deep into consumer engagement through the digital sphere, as Kellogg’s moves ahead from being an erstwhile traditional media player, to recognising the changing media consumption habits of their core target audience. This 360-degree digital campaign leverages platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to engage with consumers and promote over 100 recipes on cornflakes.  The campaign also integrates key influencers like celebrities and bloggers, to promote these recipes and videos.
    These videos received over 1 million views in the first week of being aired over digital.

Content marketing has become a full-fledged discipline which needs total focus from marketers today. The absence of that focus will leave marketers struggling to connect with their current and potential customers and we, at CMS Asia, have taken that responsibility of evangelising and educating the entire marketing ecosystem about it.

The author is a content marketing expert, was a jury for Lions Entertainment at Cannes Lions 2016 and Advisory board member at Content marketing summit Asia.

(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of and we do not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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