In the past few years, the COVID-19 crisis has significantly reshaped the landscape of how various industries operate. “marketers” have also faced various challenges, including changing consumer behaviors and technology transitions. In spite of these challenges, dtac has moved forward with a superior brand image. Five of its marketing campaigns have bagged 7 awards (1 Gold, 2 Silver and 4 Bronze awards) at MAAT Media Awards 2022. The event was held by the Media Agency Association of Thailand (MAAT).
dtacblog recently sat down with dtac’s Head of Brand Communication, Sasitorn “Mong” Khoopatanakul, and members of dtac’s MarComm and Media Management team namely Paphop “Pok” Ruchutrakool, Kulawit “X” Khumwansa, Nattapon “Not” Lertsrimongkol, Nat Seemawonganan, Patima “Poo” Kittikarnjanakorn, Juthakarn “Off” Thesrak, and Witsuda “Tomtam” Danpiboonvoravut.
“Awards make working people proud by giving recognition for not only completing their tasks but by doing so successfully. I therefore would like to present these awards to all team members as well as all contributors who hail from not just our Marketing Department but also from the Sales and Technology Departments. Together we have proven the efficacy of cross-functional operations,” Sasitorn said at the start of the interview with dtacblog.
Several of dtac’s recent campaigns were designed to address the changing landscape triggered by COVID-19 crisis. In the wake of the pandemic, most transactions have migrated from physical stores to online platforms, and dtac has taken small entrepreneurs on board too. To encourage their migration to the online realm, dtac has rolled out several campaigns. Focusing on network services, #GoodForAll campaign was introduced to stimulate tourism. Along with dtac reward, the campaign won a Silver award in the “Best Use of Branded Content” category. The dtac app campaign meanwhile successfully spurred consumer spending during the lockdown. Because of its impressive output, this campaign earned a Gold award in the “Best Use of Mobile” category.
In dtac’s “Songkran in TikTok” campaign, AR (augmented reality) technology was leveraged to inject more fun into the Songkran festival during the social-distancing period. This creative campaign was thus granted a Bronze award in “Best Response to Covid-19” category. In addition, dtac reward’s “Blink ad innovation” campaign claimed a Bronze award in the “Media Innovation” category. This campaign marked the first time that dtac “experimented” with blink-detection tech to increase interactions with customers.
Difficulties Behind-The-Scenes during COVID-19 Era
The COVID-19 outbreak required people to work from home as a precaution. But some types of work, such as production, cannot be executed from inside one’s home. Patima rose to the challenge when preparing the #GoodForAll production. Recounting the tough moment, she recalled with a smile, “because we thought outside of the box, the #GoodForAll campaign had as many as 300 creative assets. For its production, we had to get in touch with so many dtac-customer entrepreneurs and get their photos on billboards across Thailand.
During the COVID-19 lockdown, we could not go ahead with the old way of working. In the past, we could just have chosen entrepreneurs flown into a studio in Bangkok for good shots. But in the face of lockdown measures and the novel nature of our campaign, we needed to do it differently. Sister Mong (Sasitorn) started exploring new execution methods by working closely with Sales and Technology team members who had worked at the local level. They were finally asked to help identify suitable dtac-customer entrepreneurs in their areas. According to Sister Mong, “after entrepreneurs were selected, we contacted local photographers to take pictures based on our concept. We also looked for billboards near each chosen entrepreneur to ensure proper execution. Moreover, we started using Google DCO (Dynamic Creative Optimization) solution in this campaign. This solution was chosen to ensure our ads reached their intended target audience and matched well with local context. As a result, our campaign received a very good response. Locals were so excited about our ads that they took pictures of them”.
Nattapon, who was in charge of dtac Lucky Number campaign, revealed that, “we launched this campaign at the time lockdown measures dampened the public mood. Recognizing that Thais have long been superstitious, we thought of ways to find lucky numbers for them. If people find their lucky number, it becomes easier for them to make purchase decisions. Then, we brainstormed hard about how to execute our campaign. Should we erect billboards in front of temples or stage Facebook Live sessions? By the way, we didn’t think these creatives would suit our campaign. Finally, we decided to develop a Rich Menu with Line. It offers a shortcut to 1:1 chat between a store and a customer. Through the chat, our customers can check the auspiciousness of their numbers and alternatives. When they find the number that can boost their luck, they can easily change their number via the chat too”.
At the Core is Creativity
Sasitorn said dtac’s marketing focused on “creativity” in communicating with target groups. The key goals are “efficiency” and “differentiation”.
In her view, partnership is a crucial element for a successful marketing campaign. Sasitorn said dtac had IPG’s UM take care of media engagements. For dtac campaigns, UM has identified useful solutions based on a “Right message on the right moment” concept. Moreover, dtac has had Ogilvy Bangkok and Wunderman Thompson Thailand as creative partners. In such partnerships, dtac has shown mutual respect and sincerely shared information so that partners can see the overall picture and truly understand its needs.
“Our work rule is 70-20-10. This means 70 per cent is for what we are sure will deliver success, 20 per cent for what we believe might deliver success, and 10 per cent for what we don’t really know will be successful but would like to experiment,” said Paphop Ruchutrakool, dtac’s Head of Media and Digital Marketing. Sasitorn elaborated that, “if partners have new things to share, they can talk to us. We are ready to learn about and try innovations”.
dtac, however, knows that tech-enabled communications must be done carefully to ensure that each campaign best suits the needs and context of targeted customers.
Consumer Behaviors for Living with COVID
Paphop said as people now needed to live with COVID-19, several consumer behaviors triggered by the pandemic would continue. For example, dtac app usage will continue to grow. Presently, each customer uses the dtac app 14 times a month on average. “Chat Commerce” is set to become increasingly popular too on Line and Facebook platforms. For such trends, dtac is now improving the customer journey for greater ease of use. Campaigns are also more personalized in the way that raises marketing efficiency. For instance, dtac Sabuy Pay is now available for certain groups of customers to remove their financial constraints and unlock their ability to buy a new cell phone.
“Our team’s big challenge is that in the face of technology’s growing presence in the marketing landscape, we need to fully understand the function and nature of each media platform,” Paphop said.
Asked by dtacblog about how she could successfully sell her ideas, Witsuda said, “I have done solid homework. There is adequate information for Paphop including clear evaluation criteria that have always been strongly emphasized by Sis Mong (Sasitorn)”.
Campaigns By Numbers
dtac Blink Innovation for dtac reward
Challenge: Today, having engagement with customers is becoming more challenging for marketers. As a result, dtac partners with mobile advertising platform provider Pocket to the first-time blink banner and the first ever touch-free experience for dtac customers.
Idea: Studies have shown, that the iris expands when human interest reaches its peak level. Thus, dtac leverages front camera technology to detect iris expansion. Once the iris expands, it will automatically register into the system the equivalent of a click. This enhanced experience helps increase customer engagement, allowing users feel connected with brands, enriching user experience, and promoting dtac Reward coins with fun, interactive, seamless and touch-free ways.
- 8 million users reached in 8 days
- 14% of users interested in banner ads
- Over 200% increase in the number of redeemers
Challenge: dtac initiated #GoodForAll campaign to communicate its strength of network coverage, having a more meaningful purpose with the improvement of life quality. A shop that had no customers moved to become an online shop with dramatic sales growth. Today, many of our customers are able to get through this difficult time with pride. dtac brought its real users (instead of using celebrities) as a presenters with more than 1,500 of them delivering their experiences through commercial TV ads, online film, billboards and digital banners.
Idea: dtac challenged the status quo by embracing a geo-targeting technique, allowing ads to be displayed in line with a customer’s location and cultural context along with a brand message. The goal is to create a campaign gaining numerous shares from local users, media and online influencers.
- Campaign reach stood at 90%
- 16 million people were reached
- 30 million impressions
- 25 million engagements
- Brand preference score reached 26%
- Churn rates were reduced by 14%
dtac app: Covid-19 Fighting Buddy
Challenge: The transmission of Covid-19 outbreak had a huge impact on people across the nation – jhospitals were running out of beds,medical staff were suffering, and the economy got dramatically worse. dtac, as an emissary of feeling good, could not take its customers for granted, and so needed to expand its role in many aspects such as communications, financial and health services.
Idea: To promote the dtac app to become the best buddy fighting for Covid-19, dtac equipped the app with mobile marketing platform analytic tools to convey personalised messages with the right offers at the the right time along the customer journey. In addition, dtac app wass enabled to feature health, connectivity and financial services, aimed at helping Thais to pass through this tough time, ensuring no one was left behind.
- More than 200,000 Thai people made a vaccination request through dtac app
- Around 50,000 dtac users made a discount redemption from Jai Dee Pharmacy, while 38,000 felt more secure with insurance services called dSurance
- More than 5 million customers stayed connected during Covid-19 despite struggling financially
- Over 7.3 million people were relieved from financial stress thanks to dtac reward programme with the impressive growth of 47% in redemption in the first month of campaign launch
- dtac app hit the historical growth with 7 million active users per month