Why Brands Must Future-Proof Their Data Foundation in Asia

 

Most international brands looking to capitalize on the incredible growth of Asian eCommerce understand how important data is. From managing advertising spend to building a clear view of your audience, a solid data foundation can be the difference between leading and losing a market.

What is often less well understood, however, is how easily that data foundation can be rendered useless. The reality is, any data source is vulnerable to unexpected change – whether it’s Google’s recent decision to get rid of third-party cookies or the introduction of GDPR.

This is why an increasing number of brands are waking up to the importance of future-proofing data sources.

What does it mean to ‘future-proof’ data?

Future-proofing your data is a way of pre-empting and mitigating the impact of changes to how you are able to produce, access or action data. In practise, this means building your data foundation with a sufficient level of flexibility so that you can adapt to such changes and minimize the risks associated with them.

It’s important to note that external changes are not the only reason future-proofing is necessary, though: in a few years time, you may wish to switch CRMs or Business Intelligence Tools. And if you haven’t ensured your foundations are flexible, doing so may disrupt the flow of your data and cost a great deal of time and money.

Here are three reasons future-proofing data is particularly important in Asia:

  1. Asian markets are still evolving

While Asian eCommerce is hugely valuable, it is still growing and there is a great deal of room for disruption. Major platforms like Tmall or WeChat are unlikely to be toppled, but the assumption that creating a decent data flow from one or two of these apps will be sufficient in a few years time is at best naive.

Four years ago, few brands would have guessed how important Xiaohongshu would become. The ability to connect data from that platform to their existing pipeline would have seemed like an unnecessary expense. Yet now, many brands lose out precisely because they struggle to access their data from Xiaohongshu. 

What makes the Asian markets so exciting is the level of innovation they demonstrate; a data foundation that is based on how they look today could be rendered totally useless in another 4 years.

  1. Short-termism creates its own risks

Short-term thinking is always a bad omen for brands looking to establish themselves in a new market. Many see emerging Asian markets as an opportunity to gain a quick, artificial bump in their performance figures. But the possibilities of the market are far greater than that, and ambitious brands need to focus on the big picture.

There are certain structural problems here: over the course of several years, roles are likely to change within a company. This means the individuals responsible for managing Asian data are likely to change, and that can create an incentive to maximize short-term efficacy at the cost of long-term security.

Future-proofing data may appear unnecessary when viewed over a period of months, rather than years; it might even be possible to improve the bottom line performance of a brand in the short-term by overlooking it. But when consumer behaviour changes, or new legislation comes into play, those brands that have overlooked such possibilities will be left worse for wear.

  1. You need a complete data pipeline

Future-proofing often goes hand-in-hand with a more robust and considered approach to data. By creating a more flexible data foundation, brands are able to increase the value of their data by connecting multiple systems and platforms. But this is often overlooked.

Again, this partly comes down to internal structures: data silos are often invisible to brands, because they simply can’t see what they don’t measure. A properly connected data pipeline across multiple touchpoints and marketing systems enables brands to finally see those blindspots and appreciate the full power of consumer data.

How INTEGRAT3 Helps

At INTEGRAT3, our mission is to make accessing Asian data easy for international brands. But this isn’t just about making the initial integration more time and cost effective – it’s about helping brands build for the long-term.

Our solution functions as an independent layer that isn’t tied to a particular project or destination system. This gives you the flexibility to add new data sources, change your destination systems and build your data pipeline without the fear that the custom-build integrations you paid six-figures for are going to end up useless in six months’ time.

By future-proofing your data, we help brands build a reliable and secure foundation for their Asian eCommerce efforts. And as the market grows, our solution is only going to become valuable – and necessary – for international brands.

If you’d like to see how our easy-to-use API could help you, request a demo today.

 

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