The Digital Beat Goes On: Key Insights From Google’s SEA CXO Event

Primal’s Singapore counterpart, First Page, was privileged to attend the recent SEA Agency CXO Leadership Circle by Google.  This invitation-only gathering at Google’s Asia Pacific headquarters had seen turnout from Google partner agencies from various countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.

Among the select attendees were our Management Team – Shane Liuw, Abduh Ismail, Eugen Kim, and Judy Tay.

Shane, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of First Page, also represented Singapore’s Google partner agencies to share various insights during the leadership forum, highlighting the company’s commitment to leading the digital marketing landscape.

He underscored the importance of adapting to the ever-evolving dynamics of digital marketing, covering a range of crucial topics, including first-hand experience driving First Page’s business to stay ahead of the curve, managing changing client expectations, and maximising the digital shift driven by COVID.

Key Takeaways From The Google SEA Agency CXO Leadership Circle

Google had commissioned Forrester Research to shed light on the current digital marketing landscape. The findings by this leading market research company unveiled significant challenges across the region.

However, greater insights into these regional trends allowed agencies to better understand the challenges clients face and cater their solutions to meet those difficulties. In fact, embracing these “roller coaster of shifts” is vital for agencies to remain competitive because there are “opportunities that lie in challenging times”, according to Shane.

Let’s delve deeper into these challenges and solutions to overcome them, as shared by Shane, alongside Head of Content Judy and Group Account Director Abduh.

Takeaway #1: Rise Of Artificial intelligence (AI) and other technology

The rapid advancement of technology like Artificial intelligence (AI) has significantly shaped the digital marketing landscape.

Businesses now have many innovative opportunities to reach and engage with their customers with the advent of new platforms and tools. For example, ChatGPT 4, an advanced language model developed by OpenAI, can be used to speed up content creation.

However, this technological revolution has also posed challenges as agencies must now deal with higher clients’ expectations on campaign pricing, turnaround time, and performance.

According to Shane, the key is to embrace AI and not fight it.

“AI is here to stay whether people like it or not,” he explained. Agencies must continuously explore and trial out new AI tools with technical updates to keep abreast of their standing in the industry.

Abduh echoed his sentiment and highlighted this is why First Page is “obsessively testing out new developments” within the digital marketing landscape and already thinking of how they benefit clients. This enabled the company to be agile and responsive, implementing necessary process changes to align with the evolving digital marketing landscape and better serve clients. In fact, First Page actually managed to hire fewer employees while increasing customer share with the right AI adoption.

Judy also agreed it is crucial to scale up production capabilities with technology to create and design high-quality content and assets. She added First Page would constantly keep its “finger on the pulse and continuously innovate to drive positive results for clients”.

Takeaway #2: Changing consumer demands and savvier clients

Besides the advancement of technology like AI, it has become more challenging for businesses to retain customers. Clients are much wiser now, doing more research as well as working with various agencies and freelancers to ensure they get the best deals and solutions for their business.

According to Shane, the solution to this challenge is people management.

“Treat your people right as we are in a people’s business, and without good people, the agency will not be able to operate. When people feel well-treated, they will embrace and be more aligned with the company’s vision and goals,” he explained.

Shane further shared that hiring and getting the right talents to consult and manage clients’ expectations is crucial, especially with their increased expectations due to the arrival of AI.

It is also important to invest in technology so agencies can “bridge the gap between the understanding of what clients need now and how agencies can help within the cluttered space”, according to Abduh.

Further citing Bard and the ecosystem of AI products from Google, he continued, “We want to be ahead of other agencies so in return, our clients are ahead of their competitors.”

Takeaway #3: Foster global connections and partnerships 

Other than investing and adopting the latest technologies like AI, businesses have to now shift their perspective in the working relationship with clients.

“We have to go beyond ‘partners’ and collaborate so deeply to be treated as part of the ‘family’ in the client’s eyes”, Abduh explained.

Building strong, lasting relationships with clients had always been a focal point in First Page’s approach to customer-centric selling, where the team strives to transform prospects into partners and align its services closely with clients’ evolving needs.

Outside of clients, the agency landscape had also grown more complex. Abduh reckoned the way forward might require greater partnerships with agencies across markets.

Judy agreed and mentioned that First Page would “seek to be ahead of the curve by participating actively in such conversations”. Knowing that Google is the company’s support partner helps the team better tap into this exclusive resource as there are more opportunities to network with various agencies in the region.

Shane echoed her thoughts, adding, “The world is your (our) oyster.”

Be At The Forefront Digital Marketing With Primal Malaysia – Google’s Premier Partner Agency

The Google SEA Agency CXO Leadership Circle offered invaluable insights into the evolving digital marketing landscape. The key takeaways, as shared by our Management Team, underscored the importance of adaptability and innovation in this dynamic field.

Interested in the team behind these innovative digital solutions? Get to know us better and discover the minds that drive our operations and the values that guide our strategies. Join Primal in embracing the future of digital marketing and let’s pioneer the new age of online growth together!