Redefining success within digital transformation

Miranda Dimopoulos (CEO of IAB Singapore) talks digital transformation

From the C-suite to working teams, organisations need to re-tool for greater agility and transparency. Working with market leaders in Asia, across industries such as telco to finance and banking, one of the biggest challenges we see at AdParlor Asia is how to link marketing efforts to business metrics. As organisations transform digitally, departments can no longer afford to operate in silos. Integrating digital company-wide means collaborating with every department – marketers need to not just sell to customers, but the company’s finance, sales, and strategy teams.

We sat down with Miranda Dimopoulos (CEO of IAB Singapore) to discuss how the shift to digital is redefining what success means. She explains the digital landscape and the role of a digital consultancy in transforming an organisation.

– Matt Sutton, CEO, AdParlor Asia

The term ‘Digital Transformation’ can seem overused at times, but there’s good reason why it remains a pertinent issue for businesses in the region. Organisations are already busy re-tooling themselves internally to enable more agile work environments, but they do so on the shifting sands of a landscape that refuses to settle.

Just take for example India’s move towards demonetisation in late 2016, which essentially fast-tracked disruption in the payments space. Within 100 days, digital payments were up 300%, and by 2019, digital wallets are predicted to become the dominant payment method. This has opened up new avenues for brands, with a larger pool of customers that will jump on the digital commerce wagon, and enable tracking of a wider section of a consumer’s path to purchase.

For advertisers, there is no doubt that digital has fundamentally changed the way they approach the art and science of marketing. And it is a space that continues to grow, especially in an emerging region like Southeast Asia.

IAB Singapore’s recently released ad spend report estimates double-digit growth for digital spends year-on-year, while mobile spend is set to quadruple over the next few years. Beyond advertising dollars, is the increasing investment being made by the industry in infrastructure to not just reach more people, but do so effectively – to offer the right message, at the right moment and context.

Digital success isn’t about the technology alone, it entails buy-in from multiple stakeholders including the management and board of directors. A sound shift within an organisation that enables and ensures a digitally agile marketing operation requires commitment and resources.

The most crucial piece to all this is the talent that such change requires. And the first requirement of talent is knowledge and understanding. This hunger is reflected in the high turnout for our Training Series events, which run the gauntlet of topics from mobile execution, transparency in programmatic buys, brand safety and content creation in a fragmented landscape. As an organisation, IAB Singapore is also doubling down on its education efforts, via partnerships with government agencies and tertiary education institutes, to our part in equipping the workforce with the knowledge and skills they need.

With high industry demand around digital transformation, directives from management are now focused on building out this competency. Rightly so, as the reality is, there aren’t enough hands and feet to meet digital’s predicted growth.

To fully harness what digital marketing can offer, there must first be better integration between what digital assets a company holds, and its network of agencies and partners. Having the right partners has become ever more crucial for brands.

Increasingly, this race has meant that we’re seeing what were former, separate pools of partners, now fighting for a seat at the same table – be it international consultancies or major advertising networks. I’m also seeing marketers moving away from big generalist players, to smaller specialist outfits, as the industry in Asia matures and needs become more nuanced.

Amidst this groundswell for digital-first thinking, ad technology companies now find themselves in a unique position, enjoying the inherent edge that comes with deep pools of expertise in digital and creative thinking, wielded in the service of client needs.

The definition of success in a digitally transformed organisation will not be what technology stack or suite was chosen. It will ultimately hinge on how its talent can effectively use the tools on offer in creative and agile ways.

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