I'm blogging live here from the ad:tech conference in Singapore. My colleague, Will Schnabel, our vice president of international markets, and I are both speaking at the conference.
Kudos to the ad:tech team for putting on a great show. There are 600-plus registrants from countries across Asia. The choice of Singapore is excellent—it's an incredibly modern, spotless and safe city filled with multi-lingual residents and business people.
Email marketing is definitely one of the hot topics at the conference, with multiple sessions dedicated to it. Mobile marketing is also of great interest. But, despite the rumors that mobile is so dominant here in Asia, marketers here have yet to "crack the code" on how to market over this medium.
Mark Read, the CEO of WPP Digital, made a powerful point this morning on the topic. He said that Google reported that the majority of mobile searches are being done from the iPhone and that a huge amount of the overall mobile Web surfing is being done on that phone as well. His point was that the break-out of mobile Web and mobile marketing is less likely to come from WAP and SMS and more likely to be achieved by bringing the current Web and email world onto the mobile devices themselves.
Asia will remain a challenging region for marketers but it will offer tremendous rewards for those who execute well here. Like Europe, multiple languages and distinctly different cultures make any single marketing effort difficult. And, the geographic size, travel distances and varying political approaches perhaps make it harder to market here than anywhere else in the world.
For ad:tech's first conference in this part of Asia, I think the turnout and the topics suggest that the marketing maturity here is high and the opportunity is massive.