Rishi Bedi
Mar 27, 2020

How to leverage programmatic during an uncertain Ramadan

Ramadan Rush is typically a $2.2 trillion opportunity in ASEAN. Will the pandemic change that? InMobi's Rishi Bedi gives marketers a few pointers during these uncertain times.

Baklava, sweets typically eaten during Ramadan
Baklava, sweets typically eaten during Ramadan

Text: Rishi Bedi, VP and Business Head, SEA, Japan and Korea at InMobi. 

Brands and marketers are coming to terms with a new reality in the face of a pandemic — with consumer behaviour as we know and understand, seen to be shifting dramatically. 

The holy month of Ramadan is significant to both believers and businesses in the culturally rich and diverse region of Southeast Asia. Typically, Ramadan Rush is seen as a $2.2 trillion opportunity in ASEAN. 

Marketers who want to ensure this opportunity remains a reality only need to look towards their consumers for inspiration in these uncertain times. While social distancing becomes a key lever in fighting COVID19, consumers are recreating their communities digitally to retain a sense of normalcy — be it group streaming shows with your friends, or video conferencing colleagues and extended families on a daily basis. 

With 260 million people preparing to observe Ramadan this year in ASEAN, brands need to mitigate economic uncertainty by realigning their 2020 Ramadan strategy.

Here are a few things to consider: 

Understanding the New Age Ramadan consumer

As customers begin to spend more time online, marketers will see the emergence of two distinct consumer personas during the holy month: Planned Shoppers and Impulsive Shoppers. While 62% of shoppers plan their activities in advance, there is a 1.5X increase in impulsive spending — each contributing significantly to the Ramadan Rush. But what is the best way to reach them with the right message at the right time?

Key Parameters That Will Define Success

90% of Southeast Asian users access the internet via their smartphones, making mobile a natural companion in the day-to-day lives of connected consumers. InMobi ran a survey in February, asking users how they plan to use their smartphones this Ramadan. 

With social distancing becoming the norm, we could expect these numbers to increase further. Marketers must prepare for a mobile-first Ramadan to maximise campaign efficiency. 

Solve for Relevance: Implementing Audience- and Data-driven Marketing

Mobile provides marketers with the opportunity to truly understand their consumers’ path to purchase in real-time, helping brands build a holistic view of their customers. This 360-degree view can be crafted through a combination of running mobile-first surveys to directly hear the voice of the consumers, and enriching data by combining first-party, second-party, and third-party signals. Real-time insights can help marketers build custom audiences such as hijabistas (dressers who mix Muslim hijab with fashion from Western catwalks), historic mudik (when Indonesian workers return to their hometown for important holidays) travellers and so on. Identifying and understanding your consumers is the first step to running a successful campaign. 

Solve For Efficiencies: Embracing Programmatic Best Practices

Having understood who and where customers are, it is critical for marketers to shift gears and meet users where they are and speak to them in a language that resonates. Marketers often believe that their biggest threat is the possibility of competitors outpacing them, but in reality, it’s far more likely that brands are unable to keep up with their customers. Programmatic is a medium that moves as fast as the connected consumer does, enabling marketers to drive personalised experiences at scale and with complete transparency. Brands can deliver customised messages to audience cohorts at the right time — be it re-engaging impulsive shoppers or matching steps with planned purchasers. 

Solving For Attribution: Bridging online and offline

Mobile is one of the rare channels that can help marketers truly understand the impact of their campaigns across the marketing funnel. While it is easy to attribute the ROI of purely digital campaigns, the same cannot always be said about closing an online to offline retail loop. It is in such moments that brands must leverage technologies such as footfall attribution and partner with retailers to observe purchase uplift. By closely monitoring the effectiveness of their campaigns, marketers can optimise their strategies to maximise ROI. 

As marketers continue to improvise on their strategies during such unprecedented times, it is critical to ensure that they do not go media dark, and instead follow the customers where they are: on Mobile. By solving for relevance, efficiency, and attribution using programmatic best practices and data-driven marketing, marketers can buck the trend to run successful Ramadan campaigns. 

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