Sean Badlishah, Managing Director, APAC Hybrid Theory
Engaging potential customers and uncovering new leads is undoubtedly one of the most important priorities of a growing business. And to do this, a brand needs an outstanding marketing strategy that can generate brand awareness, create conversions and build lasting customer relationships. But formulating such a strategy is often more difficult than it might seem. Many businesses consider marketing as a downstream communication function, a factor in limited budgets and investment in talent, and we can see why marketing almost always ends up on the back burner of the corporate business model.
Where businesses consider the marketing function as an afterthought, they fail to engage a large share of potential customers from their target audience. A recognition of this glaring problem is built into the very foundations of Hybrid Theory. When we went on our own journey nearly three years ago - replacing the old Affectv branding with the Hybrid Theory name and pivoting from a typical marketing agency to an enabler of next-gen marketing practices - one of our aims was to help brands flip the script: to bring marketing to the centre of their business model and engage with their audiences more sustainably.
Now, as an independent global agency with unmatched levels of scalability and customisation, Hybrid Theory leverages the clout of its flexible marketing capabilities while also involving its clients’ in-house marketing teams - guiding their successful campaigns, business goals and growth. By combining the agility of outsourcing with an ability to work closely with clients’ in-house resources, the company has secured its place as a new breed of digital services partner that moves far beyond the limitations of programmatic managed service providers.
Notably, in a world where companies prioritise one function over the other, Hybrid Theory follows a non-binary approach of combining the best of every marketing ecosystem. Focusing on harnessing the best combinations of technology and talent enables marketers to power smarter, data-driven advertising across the entire customer journey.
“With us, it is not either talent or tech; our clients get access to the best of all worlds, whether it is technology-driven solutions, data-driven services, flexible consulting, hands-on support or independently-managed service execution,” says Sean Badlishah, managing director of the APAC region for Hybrid Theory. As a result, the company is uniquely positioned to harness the evolving marketing trends of a post-Covid world, helping clients reach a broader audience and generate more B2B leads than ever before.
Marketing Through a Consultancy Lens
Hybrid Theory is especially known for its consultancy-based partnership approach, by which its experts become an extension of a client’s marketing arm.
This method makes it easier for Hybrid Theory to identify any shortcomings in strategy and make amendments flexibly through tech-enabled and data-driven solutions.
This business model enables clients to maintain a place at the forefront of marketing evolution, even amid the headwinds of the pandemic. As Hybrid Theory’s sustainable and privacy-compliant marketing practices prioritise performance and focus on hard KPIs, its clients inevitably achieve the highest return on their ad spends. Going a step further, Hybrid Theory also leverages the metrics of its client engagements to identify new opportunities, educate clients in more sustainable marketing approaches, and ultimately smooth their transition into a post-pandemic world.
A Focus on Trust and Transparency in the ‘Cookieless’ Future
Hybrid Theory focuses on imbuing trust and transparency when modernising its clients’ marketing functions, beginning with the pivot toward cookieless marketing.
Rather than fearing the transition, Hybrid Theory encourages its clients to embrace the cookieless future providing robust, privacy-first solutions that enable them to build extensive knowledge of their existing customers and use that information to model behaviours to reach users across relevant environments.
The company focuses on harnessing the best combinations of technology and talent to power smarter, data-driven advertising across the entire customer journey
Using Hybrid Theory’s privacy-friendly advertising measurement and budget allocation framework, partners can obtain data-driven statistical analysis that quantifies the incremental sales impact and ROI of all online and offline marketing activities.
Delivering Value Through Smart Operations, Data and Agile Activation
Under the hood of Hybrid Theory’s next-gen marketing solutions and services is a custom-built technology stack, which enables the company to collate valuable information from users through privacy-compliant means. “With 98 per cent global coverage, our technology stack can draw information from 25 billion online events occurring across the world - a reach comparable to Google’s - enabling us to leverage the richest user datasets in the world,” says Badlishah. Hybrid Theory uses real-time data that is refreshed every couple of hours and is derived from the most accurate inputs, allowing us to be completely transparent about what we do and how we do it.
These datasets, comprising valuable user information, allow the company to build and target unbelievably detailed audience segments.
In fact, Hybrid Theory’s privacy-compliant and data-driven audience targeting approach is 75 per cent more effective for brands than third-party programmatic data sources.
To further enhance the performance of its data-driven advertising, Hybrid Theory leverages an ‘agile activation’ approach. According to the users ‘ most recent interactions, the data leveraged by its clients to target users refreshes every two hours. As a result, clients’ marketing campaigns aren’t blunted by outdated datasets.
The Enablers of Next-Gen Marketing Capabilities
As Hybrid Theory expands its cutting-edge marketing offering across the globe, Badlishah is tasked with bringing its power to the APAC region. Badlishah brings more than 20 years of media and advertising expertise, with multidisciplinary leadership roles in creative content, marketing, communication and project management at agencies including Ogilvy & Mather, M&C Saatchi, 3M and Y&R, and is intent on fostering a solutions-centric attitude in a motivating, equal-opportunity workplace.
Working in collaboration with the UK-based leadership, CEO Patrick Johnson, and global teams based in London, he is streamlining Hybrid Theory’s commercial development in the region by helping clients unlock their full business potential through ‘hybrid’ marketing strategies.
Ushering Clients to the Future of Marketing
Badlishah recalls the example of a leading petrochemical manufacturer seeking a more sustainable marketing strategy. Before the pandemic onset, the client relied on in-person events and exhibitions to secure B2B sales leads, including sales-accepted leads (SALs). However, this strategy had become obsolete after the imposition of lockdowns and travel restrictions, and the client had to pivot to a more effective digital strategy to tap online audiences. The company leveraged its large first-party datasets to generate unique B2B audience insights working with Hybrid Theory. Hybrid Theory also focused on the target audience from more than 52 markets to the 16 most profitable ones. This two-phased approach over-achieved the set target for clicks, and website lands by 150 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively, generating over 654 leads, 440 of them SALs.
Having secured its place at the helm of the next-gen marketing space, Hybrid Theory is now steadily expanding its horizons to include numerous large brands across Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand. “By launching sustainable and privacy-compliant targeting tools, we will radically change the way advertisers find new audiences, develop new insight and maximise the performance of their social campaigns in a post-Covid, ‘post-cookie’ world,” says Badlishah.