‘Asia is not ‘different’. It’s Asia…’

Stu Spiteri, Krux, managing director, Asia Pacific, talks about his participation at next week’s ATS Singapore event, and explains his opinions on why companies adopting a copy-and-paste approach from strategies implemented elsewhere won’t succeed in APAC.

In this piece, he also explains how the global market is likely to ask why the ‘other’ markets have failed to keep pace with the rampant innovation led by Asia, in five or 10 years time.

Where does your business sit in the programmatic/advertising/media ecosystem?
Krux works with customers to unify, manage, and monetise their people data assets.

If you consider that enterprises are now driving customer-centric innovations, then such activity is at the core of enterprise decision-making.

All too often, companies define themselves as the ‘middle-of-it-all’, and it’s a real stretch.

We work closely with both the sell-side (publishers) and buy-side (marketers) to understand how people are interacting with their brands across any screen in real-time.

Publishers collect and manage data from their readership, and marketers collect data from consumers to learn more about common behaviours and interests.

Collectively, both publisher and marketer data help deliver more targeted advertisements via sales or programmatic channels which increases CPMs, which helps increase publishers’ revenues, and in turn helps brands target/close deals with new customers.

How do you define data management platform (DMP)? Are all DMPs the same?
At the core, a data management platform collects data from people’s interactions with a company. Companies then use the collected data to gain a better understanding of their audience segments and how they behave online in order to make informed business decisions and meet audience needs.

But not all data management platforms are the same. Some operate within one segment – e.g. collecting interactions from websites only or from mobile apps.

In addition, most DMP providers also operate a demand-side platform (DSP) or supply-side platform (SSP) exchange, which we believe creates a conflict of interest between true or objective data management versus a focus on sale or repurposing of data for a third-party or competitor’s benefit.

Furthermore, our platform collects data across all screens – smartphones, websites, connected TVs and tablets – and combines it with offline data.

This allows companies to gain a holistic view of how people are interacting with the company as they navigate from one screen to the next.

What are your key markets in APAC, where have you got staff on the ground? How do you define APAC?
Krux is already active in the market with many clients. We define the APAC region as all of Asia and Australia.

In April 2014, we opened an office in Singapore led by Stu Spiteri, managing director, APAC. Two months later, the company opened its Sydney-based office headed by Jo Gaines, country manager, Australia.

In Japan, Krux has a strategic relationship with Cyber Communications Inc, a subsidiary of Dentsu Digital Holdings, which is building a very exciting data marketplace on Krux’s platform.

In Australia, Krux counts News Corporation Australia, RealEstate Group, Carsales and Channel 10 as foundation customers, among many others. In both markets, Krux’s platform processes 1.6 billion unique monthly users which provides a valuable avenue for publishers to collect, manage and monetise their data as well as for marketers who want to target specific audience parameters at a granular level.

Krux is late to having people on the ground in the region, is that a disadvantage? Is there enough business for all the DMPs entering the market in this region?
Krux has been in APAC with an enterprise-grade DMP for several years. As we grew and began to gain traction in the APAC market we realised that we needed to open local market offices with company personnel on the ground.

The marketplace opportunity in APAC, and Australia specifically, is significant. A recent report from Frost & Sullivan revealed that Australia’s digital advertising expenditure was up 16% in 2013 from 2012, far outpacing traditional media channels in a trend the business consulting firm says will continue for years to come.

There are substantial misconceptions about the lack of broad applications for what we call at Krux: People Data Management.

That is to say, how large and sophisticated enterprises unify, manage and deploy their people data to create personalised experiences across screens. This is the future of data management.

What are the biggest challenges in operating in the programmatic space in APAC? How is Asia different to the US / Europe?
APAC is a diverse and mostly sub-scale collection of markets. This is a huge challenge for our customers, whether they are a publisher, marketer or manufacturer.

Asia is not ‘different’. It’s Asia.

Although it is true that the innovations that led to the contemporary programmatic market may have been pioneered mostly in the US, it’s very clear the tailwinds in the broader APAC internet sector are unabated and inexorable.

If you look at ecommerce, gaming or mobile, Asia is the leader in so many ways. Now that the Chinese internet sector has reached massive global scale, it’s clear how the best Chinese companies can expand, and export their business models.

In five or 10 years, we will in fact need to ask why the ‘other’ markets have failed to keep pace with the rampant innovation led by Asia.

How do you believe digital/programmatic capabilities drive sales growth and build brands?
We’re working day-in and day-out with marketers and publishers on ways to improve revenues and customer engagement with data. We’re seeing major brands deliver personalised, real-time marketing and advertising experiences as they navigate from their laptops to tablets to smartphones to connected TVs and back again.

The growth of programmatic spend is an undeniable fact. The US market is currently at 22%, and rising. The ability through reduced complexity, improved automation, and the re-birth of 1:1 marketing makes programmatic in the broadest sense the realisation of so many marketers’ goals.

From our vantage point we see marketers, publisher and manufacturers realising that people data is an asset, and programmatic is the means to exercise that asset to drive economic outcomes.

It is a truly exciting time to be in this industry as these technologies unbridle the market to drive 1:1 communications.

What are you excited about ATS Singapore?
I’ve personally been involved as a sponsor of ATS from the very first event. It's a fabulous gathering of the industry’s practitioners. It plays a very important role to lead, educate and inspire innovation.

A full breakdown of the ATS Singapore event, plus opportunities to book places for the event can be seen here.