Watch the video interview here.
Merkle Singapore is part of dentsu Singapore's Customer Experience Management (CXM) service line.
Discover our CXM team structure, our capabilities, solutions, alliance partnerships and more in our interview with Prantik Mazumdar, Managing Director of dentsu Singapore CXM.
What capabilities and solutions do our CXM Service Line deliver?
The CXM Service Line is one of the three service lines within the dentsu structure, and we are one of the more recent service lines that have emerged. By definition, CXM stands for Customer Experience Management. Now, that could be a mouthful for many. The way we kind of break this down and what this really means for our people and our clients is, ultimately this is the service line that talks about - how do we help our clients use data to drive personalisation at scale?
We do this in many different ways. Let me give you a few examples. For example, if you're browsing a particular product or a particular category on a website, like Shopee or Lazada, the idea for us is to work with those clients and help provide personalised recommendations to you, so that your customer experience on those websites are meaningful, and what you see are relevant products and services, rather than seeing and being bombarded with all sorts of products. So that's an example of how we work with e-commerce players to showcase personalised product or service recommendations.
We also work with a lot of B2B clients, tech clients that you may not see on a day-to-day basis, but these are large businesses like banks, telcos, IT services, companies that empower businesses in the region or even globally. So we work with these clients to craft out their creative strategy messages. What's the best way for complicated tech B2B businesses to communicate their offerings and value propositions in a simple, meaningful manner? We work with them to provide them research and insights about what matters to their business' customers. We work with them to also help them with their media amplification strategies to guide them on what's the best way to get their messages out there, across different online and offline channels.
How is our CXM Service Line structured?
The way the CXM service line is structured today - there are broadly two teams, or two components. There's Merkle, and there's Merkle B2B. We are part of the brand Merkle, but the reason we are separated is because of the specialities or the different capabilities that we bring to the table.
Let me tell you about Merkle. At the end of the day, our core goal is to provide digital transformation and data transformation services to our clients. Now let me unpack those key words for you in terms of our key capabilities - so some of the core capabilities are data analytics, storytelling, media amplification through programmatic media buying, marketing automation, and e-mail marketing services. These are broadly three or four core capabilities that the Merkle team brings to the table to help our clients make the most of data-driven marketing services, to offer personalisation at scale.
On the Merkle B2B side, the capabilities are again centered around how can we work with large, global, complicated B2B companies across banks, telcos, insurances, etc, to provide them with research and insight services, Account-Based Marketing, creative brand strategy services, media amplification services, as well as reporting and dashboarding capabilities.
What differentiates us from other agencies?
The CXM service line is a massive differentiator for dentsu's offerings. The way we do this is by working with our clients to help them get ready for the first-party data revolution. In the cookie-less world, having a grasp of one's first-party data is a massive advantage because you're not reliant on second or third-party data sources or walled gardens. Our core objective is to work as one dentsu with the Media and the Creative Service Lines to collectively work with our clients to help them understand how can they create their first-party data graph. By this, what we really do with our clients is help them understand the importance of first-party data. How can they collect first-party data? How can they clean and activate first-party data? How can they orchestrate first-party data to drive personalisation? This is a huge differentiator for our clients because this makes them less reliant on second and third-party data sources and other walled garden platforms that they may be working with.
Who are our key strategic alliance partners? What is the significance of these partnerships?
One of the key levers of growth for Merkle and the CXM Service Line are our global, regional and local alliance partners. They are a huge component of our growth, and some of these we have been working with for a long period of time across multiple markets. Some of our key global alliance partners include Google, Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, as well as regional partners such as Insider.
When we work with these alliance partners, we have joint business plans with them to find out who are the right set of clients that we can jointly support in the region, and what sort of marketing growth services that can we provide to them. We also work with many of these partners to co-create intellectual property and products, which are co-owned, which can be of great value to our clients, and which our internal teams can also leverage.
What are the trends that you see CX heading towards?
In terms of trends in the near future, I think there are three that are of particular importance. Number one is first-party data - now, there must be a lot of literature and a lot of talk around this, but I think this is a critical point as we move into the cookieless world, as browsers stop tracking cookies. One thing that we are working with all our clients is to get them ready to appreciate the importance of collecting, activating, and orchestrating first-party data for their respective businesses.
The second is being active in the ecosystem through partnerships, and especially with venture-backed companies and fintechs, insurtechs, e-commerce, social commerce, something that's driving growth in Southeast Asia. This is where we are working with our clients, to make them understand who are the key players in the ecosystem, and what are the different ways that they can participate in this growth through partnership models.
And lastly, you all must have heard about crypto, Web3, metaverse. I think there is a lot of hype around this space. What we are doing for our clients is to help them unpack the core technology that is driving all of these different trends, which is centered around blockchain. So we are working with our clients to sift through the hype and help them understand how can they leverage blockchain to build enterprise-grade, meaningful, commercially relevant use cases for their businesses.
How do you explain to your parents the work that you do?
I think they probably understand the world of advertising through TV, radio, print, something they see day in, day out. Of course, they are using digital services; e-commerce now, but I think I try and tell them that at the end of the day, we are helping our clients, which are brands, connect with consumers in a very fast, meaningful, scalable way. And instead of TV, radio, print, or along with TV, radio print, we're digitising that process of connecting brands and consumers.
So the way I give my mother an example is, she's a dance teacher and can reach out to her students through digital services. My dad can find some interesting gifts for his grandson through e-commerce platforms. So I tell them that I work for a company that helps connect these brands like the Amazons and the Shopees and so forth, with consumers such as them and makes that journey a bit more easy, meaningful and convenient.
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