LEAD Asia brought together Loyalty, Experience, Analytics and Digital in one compact conference in Suntec. The event managed to get a good quality range of speakers and moderators in from companies like Lego, Visa, Accor and Southwest Airlines. The following are our observations.

LEAD is the result of an ongoing condensation strategy in the world of conferences and seminars. In our opinion, social media has made networking online easier but meeting industry peers face-to-face remains important. LEAD allows visitors to sample a host of topics in just two days. Many visitors can fit this in their schedules with relative ease.

It will come as no surprise that in all keynotes and panel discussions the speakers confirmed that customer experience is moving up on the agenda of marketing departments and business leaders. The topic was addressed from various angles, including advertising, technology and social media. Data is acknowledged to be the all-important ingredient. Without it, customer experience cannot be analysed and properly understood, leave alone designed.


Sze-Meng Soon

But it was Sze-Meng Soon, Vice President and Head of Marketing Strategy, Planning and Insight at Visa, who pointed correctly out that many companies try to base their strategy on data analytics. Data does not equal data analytics he explained, data can only contribute to the development of a successful strategy. It should not be used to defend decisions. He explains how you should always ask ‘Now what’ based on the outcome of any analysis. Most data analysts only look at ‘What’ but don’t ask themselves ‘So what’, leave alone wondering about the ‘Now what’. If you don’t act on data, analytics can lead to paralysis.

Sze-Meng suggests further that success starts when you stop doing things that make no sense, specifically things that make no sense to a customer. Finally, he explained that in his view data cannot be predictive but it can help you to estimate the future.

Sze-Meng’s session was certainly a highlight. The other session that stood out was the keynote by Lars Silberbauer, Senior Global Director at Lego Group. In his keynote, he explained how Lego is using data and crowd sourced content to promote the use of Lego among very young kids in a very entertaining way.


Lars Silberbauer

Another company with an interesting story is Blueshift. This company with a history of 10+ years in big data, focuses on helping e-commerce businesses engaging with their customers, using unstructured and structured data at the same time.

They claim to improve recommendations this way, taking database driven systems ‘of record’ to a level of ‘action’. They certainly represent a new type of data-service. Personalising the customer experience in real time, using multiple data sources both structured and unstructured, is an emerging way of data-use. Blueshift claims to be able to deliver true benefits to brands in terms of revenue.

This confirms a trend in data analytics that is shifting towards the combined use of structured and unstructured data, allowing companies to segment and target consumers more accurately and more importantly, at the right moment.

Lead Asia 2017 will again be held in October/November at Suntec. We are already looking forward to the experience.




David Au, Group Managing Director of Marketing, Fung Retailing


LEAD 2016 photo gallery

Editor: Matthieu Vermeulen


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