We recently interviewed Marcus Yong, Regional Head of Marketing, Klook, asked his opinions on influencer marketing and customer engagement campaigns and other related questions.
 
As Klook's Marketing Head for Southeast Asia, Marcus drives the travel activities booking platform's customer acquisition and marketing efforts across the region. He is responsible for growing the brand's presence and bookings amongst the rapidly growing FIT (Free & Independent Travellers) segment across six markets - Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.
 
Prior to joining Klook in 2016, he was Digital Marketing Lead for SCOOT where he charted the airline's global digital acquisition efforts and management of their (notoriously quirky) social media presence across 7 markets in the region. Marcus started his career at the Singapore Economic Development Board, focusing on digital brand and channel management for North America.
 
1. Introduce yourself and your role at Klook
 
I’m Marcus, Marketing Director for Klook in Southeast Asia. We are a world leading travel activities and services platform. I am responsible for the brand’s customer acquisition and marketing efforts amongst the rapidly growing free independent travellers (FIT) segment in Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. 
 
2. According to you, what is Klook's brand purpose? 
 
We are driven by our passion for travel and technology. Klook’s aim is to empower people to create the best travel experience anywhere, anytime. 
 
3. What new marketing strategies have you attempted in 2018/2019? 
 
Putting data and mobile at the core of our marketing efforts. Same day bookings form a large part of Klook’s business, so a large number of them happen on mobile. Today’s travellers are looking for a complete mobile experience, from searching, booking to traveling. With this belief, together with our technological innovation (e.g. we rolled out some cool features such as instant confirmation and QR-code enabled mobile passes available offline), mobile forms an important part of our media strategy. Looking at the consumer funnel, we have started investing more in app install and remarketing campaigns. We use a lot of data to influence where and what to show customers depending on their actions on-site - from browsing to more high intent behaviour like adding to cart. Our innovation capability in this space is also highly recognised by industry partners such as Google and Apple. We recently concluded a multi-market Apple Pay campaign for Lunar New Year focusing on North Asia destinations. 
 
4. How important do you see influencer marketing becoming? And have you worked with any successful cases? 
 
Influencers and key opinion leaders (KOLs) are important to us because the travel business relies very heavily on customer trust and personal experiences. Other than friends, people tend to trust others who review experiences after actually trying them out. Influencer and KOL marketing also creates a ripple effect within the community (for e.g. Indonesian KOLs are a tight knit group and once you have one onboard, word and reputation travels fast within the circle). Here at Klook, we also try to treat influencers in the same way that we do with customers. We encourage them to go through the entire consumer journey - from browsing, to booking and scanning (or redeeming their tickets) when they are in-destination so that they can review this in an authentic manner eventually. Klook’s customers also get to be mini KOL’s as they are empowered to leave user reviews including pictures on the site after completing an activity. Today, we have over 5 million verified user reviews - a feature our users absolutely love. 
 
5. How do you build successful customer-engaged campaigns? 
 
As a platform with over 80,000 unique bookable experiences across 250 destinations, our strategies are global but we localise and execute our campaigns beyond language. For e.g. in the Philippines, our campaigns and messaging revolve around community as a theme because Filipinos tend to travel in groups amongst friends and families. Besides creating families friendly guides and itineraries, we also deploy campaign mechanics that unlock bigger discounts (Barkada bundles) when they check out together. Building on the insight that Filipinos love to gather and have fun as a community, we also use a strong O2O (offline to online) strategy that includes travel workshops, pop-up events and most notably, we threw the first-ever Klook Travel Festival last year which saw over 45,000 participants turn up over a weekend to score great deals on-site ahead of their upcoming holidays.
 
6. How have you built Klook's online brand presence?
 
We focus a lot on content marketing - leveraging social media, search as key channels to detect intent ‘trigger points’ before serving users with relevant ads, itineraries, guides and tactical offers. We recognise that millennials and young adults these days have short attention spans, so our content is often deployed in bite size, interactive formats suitable for mobile browsing and sharing. Being present at the right place and right time is such an important guiding principle for us. For most brands, sustaining an ‘always-on’ presence simply means increasing their impression share for the same creative or message in multiple sizes. In our case, we have hundreds of ad-sets targeting different users based on their needs, info search patterns and stage of the consumer funnel deployed at any one time. With over 80,000 bookable experiences across 250 destinations, the needs of a young couple vs. family going to Japan are very different and we are able to accurately identify those intent signals to help them find the right products - whether it’s a Japan Rail Pass or private airport car charter and convert them at the right time.
 
Marcus will be presenting at the Brand Marketing Leaders Summit (Singapore, April 24 & 25). In his talk, Marcus will discuss the journey that Klook took to develop into one of the fastest growing travel companies in Asia. For more details , please view the summit website here.

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