Telum Talks To… Debbie Ho, Regional Director, Fifth Ring

Telum Talks To… Debbie Ho, Regional Director, Fifth Ring

2021 marks a special year for Fifth Ring, the Aberdeen, Scotland, headquartered B2B communications specialist as it celebrates 30th year in operation, offering integrated marketing support to its clients across the world. Telum caught up with Singapore-based Regional Director, Debbie Ho as she shares how the agency have grown from an advertising agency focusing on energy sector and why having a diversified team helped shaped and evolved the agency's products and services.

Fifth Ring celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. How has the agency evolve since its inception?
When Fifth Ring started in the UK 30 years ago, we were an advertising agency in the energy sector. Over the years with the evolution of the marketing industry, we expanded in terms of expertise, geography and industry to become who we are today - a B2B marketing communications agency with presence in Europe, Americas and Asia. Our clients consist of companies in a range of industries including energy, technology and manufacturing. Our regional headquarters in Singapore will be 10 years old next year, so it’s a very exciting time for us locally, regionally and globally.

The team’s experience and expertise spans across the globe with offices in Americas, Europe and Asia - why do you think it’s important to have a diversified team in a creative business like Fifth Ring?   
I am a firm believer that the success of an organisation is its people - the team that works together. And in order to build a successful team you need a diverse mix of people with different skillsets, experiences and backgrounds. This will allow creativity in not just strategy but also execution, cultural and geographical considerations, and a more open mindset across the board. Having colleagues from different geographies across the globe has definitely helped shape this mentality and this in turn has enabled us to continuously evolve the products and services we offer to our customers.

Do you think the role of integrated marketing communications has become more important than ever in the current environment we’re in?
In this new environment that we are in, where companies have ramped up on their digital presence, messages are even more saturated than ever. Having an integrated marcomms strategy will enable businesses to cut through the noise and streamline their communications efforts to reach the right target audience at the right time, and more importantly find the right balance of keeping them engaged. This is especially true in the B2B space where not only is reaching the right customer crucial, but also having the ability to build and maintain the relationship positively.

Can you share what are the challenges modern marketers face today?
It wouldn't be an understatement to say that 2020 was a year of change. Planned strategy and activities that were developed for the year were essentially made redundant right after it started. But it was also the year where the role of marketing became evidently important in an organisation, if it wasn’t already. The marketing function, along with the support from the other departments, has had to restructure strategy to enable the company to continue engaging with customers, or risk being left out. Additionally, the advent of new technologies mean that in tandem with changing strategies that would otherwise have worked traditionally, marketers have to also explore new offerings, select the right ones and get them implemented company-wide.Adapting to change and leveraging new technologies will remain to be important factors that modern marketers will need to address, and exciting ones!

Lastly, what are some of the B2B marketing trends to watch in 2021?
Thanks to the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, we’re already seeing offline activities ramping up in Asia, albeit (necessarily) slowly and on smaller scales. Digital activities will continue to be the key focus, and support the gradual return of face to face interactions which are still very important for building interpersonal connections. This is where having the right message at the right time is crucial, and some of the key trends include:
  • Account Based Marketing - In the B2B space, being targeted reaps rewards. Identifying your target customers and working towards engaging with them will be a key element in this new world of marketing.
  • Engage with your audience, without over communicating - As WFH remains the default mode of working, it is important for companies to find the right balance between engaging with customers and over communicating digitally. And the way to go is to understand your customers and their buyer journey. Whether it's ramping up on social media strategy or being more targeted in email marketing campaigns, if you know where they are, you will be able to effectively interact with them.
  • Trust your marketing function - With the need for companies to continuously evolve their communications strategy, the marketing function should play a key role in driving the change, with the support of the organisation. In a time where every business is analysing budgets trust must be placed in marketing teams to generate leads, build brand awareness and optimise ROI in order to achieve the business objectives.

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