DBS marketing boss: keeping pace with Asia’s growth in consumer wealth is the big challenge

SiveaThe head consumer marketing for major Singaporean bank DBS has told Mumbrella that keeping pace with the rate of the growth of consumer wealth in Asia is the biggest challenge facing marketers the banking sector in Asia.

In an interview with Mumbrella, Sivea Pascale managing director of consumer banking group marketing for Singaporean banking giant DBS Bank noted how research showed such as Asia will have 65 per cent of the world’s middle income earners by 2030 compared the current 28 per cent.

“That’s an amazing shift,” said Pascale. “The Asian economies are growing at a pace that equates to growing a ‘Germany’ every three and a half years.”

“The rate of growth and the rate of change is the biggest challenge for banks in the region.”

Pascale argued this change was redefining many of the traditional rules around marketing and in the banking sector were forcing them to keep pace with the evolving consumer demands.

“The ground rules have changed and banks have to adapt quickly,” said said.

“Major shifts in economic and political shifts also has implications on how banks operate; major changes in purchasing power of the consumer has implications on how banks provide their services.”

“The consumer is demanding mobility, performance, and access on a completely different scale. Those that lead in this environment will be customer focused, will be fast to market and will be digitally minded.”

One example of where DBS was implementing this was in the mobile area which the bank’s consumer marketing boss described as “critical” to its future strategy.

“Mobile is a critical part of our strategy, the adoption rate of mobile banking has been amazing,” said Pascale.

“We released our mobile banking application in Singapore in 2010 and today we process an average of 300,000 mobile transactions per day and makes up 40 per cent of our electronic banking activity – the demand is certainly there.”

Pascale also spoke about the move from Westpac in Australia, in 2013, and the challenges facing expatriate marketers working in the region.

“In Asia, it’s very different,” she said. “The region is much more complex in its diversity of culture, media, consumer behaviour, variances in market maturity, political and regulatory contexts – it’s a completely different ball game…

“If you’ve only worked in Western Markets, its highly likely that you’ve been brought on board because you’ve got something from that background that your new company wants, but you need to balance that with an open mind on how you apply those skills and experience here.

“You need to realise its not the same as ‘back home’ and you need to be open minded. Remember that you are the odd one out, not everyone else.”

Nic Christensen 



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