Matthew Miller
May 11, 2017

Innovation, big-picture strategy weigh on APAC CMO minds: R3

Only 7 percent feel very prepared for future challenges.

Innovation, big-picture strategy weigh on APAC CMO minds: R3

Only 3.4 percent of APAC CMOs surveyed by R3 in new research are comfortable calling their marketing strategy innovative, and just 6.9 percent feel “very prepared” to navigate their brands into the future.

The company surveyed 28 marketers at the director level or above across APAC. The results, which are detailed in a new R3-authored book, Asia CMO: Driving Brand Growth, are appearing for the first time here. 

Four in 10 of the CMOs surveyed named managing an increasingly complex business landscape as their greatest challenge, and only 10.3 percent were willing to "totally agree" with the statement "With our capability today, I am confident that our organisation will be able to remain competitive in the market in three years." On the other hand, roughly half (48.3 percent) were willing to tick off "somewhat agree" and another 17.2 percent were on the fence.

When asked what keeps them up at night, 24 percent of respondents said digital technology, and another 24 percent said aligning marketing with the overall business strategy. These answers reflect two of the major themes of the book and align with the challenges CMOs face globally, according to Shufen Goh, R3 co-founder and principal and co-author of the book, along with R3's Greg Paull. 

While more than half of respondents said they would like more budget to understand the consumer, marketers are well aware that the challenges they face aren't the kind you can solve by throwing budget at them; strategy and capable partners were cited as the most important factors required in order to drive improvement. 

While the APAC marketers surveyed feel the pressure to innovate, they show no signs of insecurity about their standing in the C-Suite or the importance of their function.

“We believe that marketers have a unique opportunity to help global organizations navigate the dynamic environment in Asia, and to capitalize on the growth potential in the region,” said Goh. “Asia CMO: Driving Brand Growth seeks to identify the challenges that Asia’s CMOs are facing today, and identify what tools the CMO of the future will need to be successful both in Asia and globally.” 

In addition to discussions of building better brand leaders, creating effective teams and partnerships, and nurturing innovation, the book features deep-dive interviews with the CMOs of 12 significant companies in the region and the leader of one key Singapore-government body:

  • Arrif Ziaudeen, founder and CEO of Chope
  • Beh Swan Gin, chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board
  • Bidisha Nagaraj, former group president marketing for Coffee Day Group and the current CMO of Schneider Electric India
  • Dan Austin, consumer marketing head Asia Pacific for Mastercard
  • Erica Kerner, vice president, marketing and communications Asia Pacific at Tiffany & Co
  • Gunjan Soni, CMO & head of international brands business at Myntra
  • Karen Ngui, managing director and head of group strategic marketing and communications for DBS Bank
  • Mie-Leng Wong, international brands director of Tiger and Heineken Asia Pacific
  • Neerja Sewak, executive vice president and chief commercial officer at Cerebos
  • Piotr Jakubowski, CMO of GO-JEK
  • Shakir Moin, vice president and chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola Greater China and Korea
  • Vittavat Tantivess, executive vice president of food business at Charoen Pokphand Group
  • Yuen Kuan Moon, CEO consumer Singapore at Singtel.

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