by Kazuki Ohta, CEO and co-founder, Treasure Data
“Going global” used to be the stuff of dreams for companies in Singapore, Malaysia, and other Asia Pacific markets, but the old barriers to world trade - language, time zones, and cultural differences - are no longer impenetrable.
Affordable technologies, social media, and mobile devices have made global dreams a reality for more regional companies and markets today. South Korea’s rise as a manufacturing and tech powerhouse, along with the “Hallyu” cultural wave led by K-pop, drama, film, fashion, and cuisine, is a great example for other Asian markets to aspire to.
South Korea’s success, however, was decades in the making - if your timeline is shorter, connecting with the right audience and identifying ideal customers before talking with them is a vital first step.
Data Makes the World Go Round
Finding the right audience hinges a lot on data, and having worked with diverse customers for decades, the issue of fragmented distribution, and divergent laws around the collection and distribution of data across markets are significant challenges.
Asian companies have acknowledged these and plan to take action. Up to 50% of leading Asian-based companies will include CDOs, along with CISOs and CLOs, on data risk management committees by 2025 according to a Data and Content Technologies 2023 Predictions report put out by the IDC.
I applaud this foresight, vision, and commitment to building strong data management foundations. Expert data teams combined with right-fit tech stacks - in accordance with local regulations - will enable companies to unlock data compliance and customer insights to build meaningful engagement around the world.
This is the end goal, and from my experience, here are three recommended strategic moves for AP companies preparing to take on the world.
Eliminate data silos
Many multinational companies use localized brands, banners, and subsidiaries in overseas markets which results in data being siloed, and inaccessible to other businesses - preventing collaboration to enrich their own data.
While ad-hoc integrations have been introduced to de-silo, a consolidated data layer ingesting and exporting data from multiple sources into a centralized place is a more secure, accessible, reliable, and transparent alternative.
With first-party data becoming more essential as the impact, and value, of third-party cookies diminish, companies need to evaluate what types of data provide the best returns. For example, diverse social media platforms around the globe may offer different returns on investment depending on the country and region. If data silos exist, however, marketers can’t analyze these to make informed decisions.
Global security and compliance
Digital transformation on a global scale can also unravel when privacy compliance risks are left unchecked. If attempts to unify/standardize best data practices across countries are done haphazardly, the risk of security and privacy compliance issues will increase.
Doing it right requires investing in technologies that can both aggregate customer data and comply with national or regional regulations. Cost-effectively mitigating compliance risk is paramount, especially for companies that are sitting on a mass quantity of actionable customer data.
Having unique data systems living and operating in every individual company would, theoretically, enhance compliance, but architecturally, this often creates inefficiencies that come with data silos.
Alternatives include solutions to help brands centralize and activate their data operations such as data warehouses, data lakes, CRMs, and customer data platforms. Some options can also help companies to bypass issues related to data protection laws around the world.
Laws such as General Data Protection Regulation for EU markets have compelled companies to double down on security and compliance. Looking ahead, future-proofing data governance strategies by adopting solutions that can adapt to changing regulatory landscapes is a priority goal for internationally focused companies.
Get to know your new market and audiences
Given AP’s diverse cultural, demographic, social, economic, and size differences, it takes time and effort to find the right target customers or segments in various markets.
A brewing company seeking growth in the Asia Pacific, for example, must know and comply with data privacy laws in each market. In addition, they must also be familiar with critical legislation around minimum drinking ages and advertising restrictions, to avoid marketing to underage customers.
Recognizing the importance of a comprehensive, integrated approach to customer data is an important first step for regional companies with global ambitions.
To sum up, a commitment to removing data silos, and implementing tools and technology that provide a holistic view of target audiences is the blueprint to success. But these measures must comply with local, or regional data laws - so make time to get your “regulatory ducks in a row.”
Get these essentials right, and a product made in Kalang or Kuala Lumpur could soon be big in Krakow or Kansas - the world of opportunity is exciting and endless today.
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