UOB Group scaled up its retail banking business in ASEAN by acquiring Citigroup's consumer business in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam earlier this year. This is part of its belief in Southeast Asia's long-term potential. Meanwhile, locally, UOB Malaysia has continued to engage consumers where they are - on mobile. The team didn't let the pandemic stop them from thinking out of the box with their marketing strategies and campaigns, dazzling judges at MARKETING-INTERACTIVE 's Mob-Ex Awards 2021.

As a result, the bank clinched silver for Best Mobile Growth Strategy. It was also a finalist for Best Insights-Driven Mobile Campaign, and Best Results-Driven Mobile Campaign, Banking Services. Raymond Chui (pictured), Executive Director and Country Head of Business Banking, United Overseas Bank Malaysia shares how the bank has pivoted to meet clients' changing expectations and the key priorities brands need to take note of these days. 

This interview is done as part of MARKETING-INTERACTIVE’s winners' and finalists’ interview series for the Mob-Ex Awards 2021. To find out more about the awards,  click here .  

When it comes to mobile marketing, what are some of the shifts you are seeing?

Chui: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, there has been a 30.2% increase in global mobile transactions, according to eMarketer. Our user base has also adopted the mobile-first approach and so it only made sense for us to provide a platform that best complements this direction.

We noticed that users are more engaged when they are on mobile in contrast to via the web. Based on the report by the Boston Consulting Group, 90% of buyers that have an excellent mobile experience are more likely to convince them to make a repeat purchase from the same company. Operating via mobile allows us to reach our users much faster when answering enquiries. This is essential and has helped us to improve in being more customer-centric.

How have clients' expectations change this year? What did you do to pivot?

Chui: As users are much more dependent on mobile interfaces this past year and during the multiple lockdowns that took place, an expectation for an intuitive user experience and user interface is one that we had to strive to.

Business owners had to make changes accordingly to better suit the nature of post-pandemic conditions across different phases, and so many took a step towards digital growth and concentrated on finding better ways to generate more revenue for sustainability as opposed to optimising business operations.

As customer needs shifted, UOB adapted and sharpened our focus on driving more strategic partnerships that can benefit SMEs in areas such as eCommerce, food commerce, and digital payments, among others.

Mobile is one of the key priorities for brands these days. What is one advice you have for brands to cut through the clutter?

Chui: With the rapid growth of mobile marketing across different platforms, Internet users now have increasingly shorter attention spans.

Be precise and succinct when communicating to your target audience or risk losing their interest. It’s important to find a connection between reaching the right people and saying the right thing.

Capitalise on having their attention very early on!

What are your plans for the coming year?

Chui: We plan to expand the breadth of our ecosystem partnerships which will greatly benefit SME customers. We also have plans to support the integration of banking services with our partners, so that our customers can remain engaged with the bank by accessing business insights and tools that can help them remain agile and competitive in their respective businesses. 

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