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Interview with Cedric Dias, Digital Marketing Head – CFS-SG, OCBC Bank

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Cedric Dias Cedric Dias is a specialist in Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing with focus towards market leadership. His career aim is to leverage his skills to meet the ever-changing needs of the new-age customer to meet brand and business goals.

Currently Head of Digital Marketing for OCBC Consumer Bank in SG, Cedric is responsible for the customer facing web assets and creating value-adding customer experiences while supporting the business in digital customer acquisition and branding programs. He leads a team of 6 and is responsible for developing and executing the digital and social strategy for OCBC Bank. At OCBC Bank, Digital is a core element of the strategy and vision. SG being one of the most digitized countries in the world, OCBC has invested in developing the right team and in getting the right technologies for connecting with the customer of today. His team is an integral part of the marketing set-up and plays a role across the consumer bank in customer acquisition and setting-up of the digital infrastructure to create personalized customer experiences. Another key role is to grow Digital capabilities within the Consumer Bank through internal trainings and content creation.

Previously, Cedric led the Digital Business in SG for Havas Media and headed the Socialyse brand in APAC responsible for key accounts, new business and team development for 4 years. Cedric has honed his Regional Marketing Skills across South Asia and SEA with 10 years of Marketing and P&L experience in the Consumer services industry backed by 4 years of Sales and Marketing with a top FMCG organization in India.

Specialties: Integrated Brand Marketing I Strategic Planning I Digital Marketing & Analytics I Social Media Strategy and Execution I Innovation/Product Development I Analytics I Agency/Vendor Relations I Team Development & Training

Career in Digital Marketing

Cedric’s career in the field of Marketing spans 19 years and includes a range of industries and geographies from FMCG to FSI’s to a media agency, and now a Bank. He has been in the field of digital marketing since 2011, which makes it around 5 years –  starting with Havas Media where he led the Digital Business in SG and launched the Social Media arm of Havas, Socialyse in SG. Cedric has been teaching Social Media for professionals across 3 courses at NUS-ISS for 3 years.

How did you get into Digital Marketing? What interested you in learning Digital Marketing?

Cedric: I got into Digital marketing in 2011 when I joined Havas Media. At that time, my mentor in Digital – Rajeev Bala – who was heading up the Singapore arm of Havas gave me the opportunity to join Havas. Having been in senior marketing roles in the region– I could see the growth of digital and the changing landscape of marketing led by digital.

Learning Digital is best undertaken at an agency as it offers an understanding of a wide range of technologies and application across industries and organizations. I thus took the opportunity as I believed that it would future-proof my marketing skills and also offer the largest growth opportunity in the future. Today, that decision has proven to be one of the best of my career as it has given me the skills and expertise to be able to drive digital marketing strategies for organizations from Financial Services to FMCG to Retail to B2B.

According to you, what are the advantages of conventional marketing over Digital Marketing? Do you think that Digital Marketing is a threat to the future of conventional marketing?

Cedric: This question brings to mind a favorite quote of mine regarding digital marketing –

“We no longer do digital marketing, but rather marketing in a digital world”.

There is a place and reason that conventional marketing still makes a lot of sense. Traditional or conventional marketing cannot be matched for scale as well as impact that it brings to the table. Used well, there is a need for both traditional and digital marketing to be used as complementary and for the roles they play in the customer journey. Customers do not think traditional/digital – but rather marketers and it is up to the marketer to create experiences at the different touch points to drive the customer down the marketing funnel. I do not see digital as a threat, but rather a complement to what marketers can do on the traditional side to meet their marketing goals. If you see the image below, it is now increasing becoming evident that digital is more bottom of funnel marketing compared to traditional which is more towards top of the funnel. traditional vs digital marketing touch points

The threat that is seen is that given that budgets have not changed, but digital marketing is the new kid on the block – it is imperative that there will be shifts of budgets and traditional which used to be 100% will go down as digital gains more mind space and technologies become more advanced.

Share about your 3 favorite Digital Marketing case studies. What did you like most about them?

Cedric: 

  • One of my favorite Case studies is the POSB Neighbors First Campaign – This campaign which was launch with the aim of connecting with the millennials in Singapore and rebranding POSB using content marketing. I like it for the scale of what it trying to achieve largely through channels which the target audience is familiar with and resonates with. Being involved with the campaign, it is a hugely significant campaign for the change in mindset required within the organization for an execution of this type and scale. (Refer- https://www.posb.com.sg/personal/neighboursfirst/index.html)
  • Another great campaign I was associated with is the FairPrice Finest Christmas Campaign in 2013. FairPrice is the largest supermarket in SG and has a Christmas theme through its chain of then 9 Finest Stores. The challenge was how to make the campaign accessible to a large audience beyond the stores. The campaign led to digitizing the entire Christmas offerings and creating a campaign around getting people to browse the catalogue online and drive engagement + intention to purchase at the store. Additionally, the Christmas events were amplified digitally which led to greater attendances and higher sales. This was a first in SG.
  • My third choice is OCBC Money Monday – the investment content site built for an affluent target audience. It is generally believed that digital marketing has less of an impact for FSI’s with their current base of affluent customers- as these tend to be of older vintage and less impacted by online marketing. OCBC Money Monday is a content marketing platform built on the insight that affluent customers want the latest information of finance and investments and want to get it all in one place, from a trusted source. This platform allows OCBC to bring the OCBC Bank Wealth Panel’s views to the target audience and helps meet marketing goals of bringing OCBC’s Offerings to the market in an innovative and differentiated way + meets business goals by opening up another avenue for acquisition. See more at http://www.ocbc.com/personal-banking/premier/money-monday/index.html 
According to you, what are the top 3 mistakes committed by organizations today in leveraging Digital Marketing?

Cedric: 

  1. Not structured internally to leverage the best of Digital marketing In many cases, understanding of digital is not developed in-house or the skills are not broad-based enough, which means that the organization leaves the strategy completely to the agency or ends up doing an inefficient job. This leads to sub-optimal results and also a narrow view of what digital can do for you.
  2. Not investing enough in analytics Investment is at 2 levels – technology and people.While many organizations are comfortable embarking on a digital marketing journey, not many pay enough attention to analytics – which again means that the right metrics are not tracked and only vanity metrics are measured (CTR, CPC, Views). This means that there is no direct link to the business goals which make digital expendable or less valuable when the overall marketing efforts are measured
  3. Surface level attention to digital marketing This is what is happening in most organizations even today. This results in inefficient investments in resources towards digital both in terms of technologies and people. Second to this are unrealistic expectations, mainly due to lack of understanding at the senior level of how digital works.
Between Agencies and In-house, which approach would you recommend for maximum value of Digital Marketing? Why?

Cedric: This would change depending on the scale of the organization. For e-commerce companies, it makes a lot of sense to go in-house as the expertise that is required is of a significantly high level + there is a deeper integration into the business and huge efficiencies can be obtained by going in-house. For SME’s or companies with small budgets, again the spend may not justify an agency and effort can be better-spent building skills in-house for the lower order use.

However, for medium-to-large and multi-national organizations, an agency approach works best as given the diverse digital skills – many of which makes no sense to be brought in-house,  organizations can reap the benefits of scale that agencies have + gain from the various expertise to meet their business and marketing goals, Having said this, there needs to be requisite skills in-house to make the best of the agency and to have a seamless working relationship.

Which are your 3 favorite Digital Marketing Tools?

Cedric: 

  1. Google Keyword Planner

  2. Google Analytics
  3. Facebook Insights

Why do you think it’s important for entrepreneurs, marketing professionals and students to learn Digital Marketing today?

Cedric: 

  • For Entrepreneurs: Ability to evaluate the role of digital in their marketing plans. Save costs by executing plans where required and/or drive efficiency by complementing efforts from an agency
  • For Professionals: Professions can strategize a holistic marketing approach once they understand digital marketing. It also enhances the ability to ask the right Q’s and be able to drive efficiency from agency.
  • For Students: Improve their hiring potential
    What are the top 3-5 skills you look for when hiring a candidate for Digital Marketing profile?

    Cedric: 

    • Strategic understanding of marketing and Role of digital marketing in overall marketing
    • AdWords fundamentals
    • Analytics understanding and bent of mind
    • Attention to detail
    What is your advice for newbies, who are looking at building a career in Digital Marketing industry?

    Cedric: The first advice is to put in the effort to learn digital marketing. A good place to start is to get Google fundamental certifications. Further this with basic coding skills and add continuous reading on latest trends since this is a fast moving field. Rest will come with experience.

    How do you stay updated on the latest trends in Digital Marketing? Which are the Digital Marketing resources (i.e. blogs/websites/apps) you visit regularly?

    Cedric: I am an avid Twitter user and follow thought leaders in the digital/social space. I find that Twitter is a very useful interest based learning tool and usually get my fastest updates there. I stay updated by reading up on various trends and subscribing to numerous newsletters such as

    1. Search Engine land
    2. Social Media Today
    3. Adobe Newsletter
    4. Slideshare

    I also make it a point to attend industry seminars and talks + meet with various publishers and tech providers as this keeps me abreast with the latest developments and thinking in the field.

    Share the names of 3 people you respect when it comes to Digital Marketing.

    Cedric: 

    1. Rajeev Bala – my mentor and CEO of Predator Digital
    2. Avinash Kaushik – ex Google runs a blog Oceans Razor
    3. Jeff Bulas – expert on Social Media
    How do you see Digital Media evolving in future? What are the top 3 trends do you foresee for 2016?

    Cedric: Digital is one part of the overall marketing plan and the role of traditional will not die-out. There will be no surprise to increasingly see campaigns that are digital only, especially those with small-medium size budgets. Digital will afford marketers the opportunities to create experiences which customers can connect with on a personalized basis. The top 3 trends that I see in 2016 and beyond are

    1. Personalized marketing leveraging on data
    2. Content integrated into marketing campaigns
    3. Native advertising
    Would you like to share few words about the work we are doing at Digital Vidya?

    Cedric: 

    Digital Marketing being an area of technical skills, Digital Vidya offers courses for both individuals as well as corporates to bring their knowledge and application of digital up to speed.

    The list of courses is comprehensive and there seems to be something that will suit every person’s requirement, whether it is basic or advanced skills. Corporates should especially find the customized courses useful based on the offerings they have on the website plus the breadth of clients they have had across the region.

    Are you inspired by the opportunity of Digital Marketing? Start your journey by attending our upcoming orientation session on Digital Marketing for Career & Business Growth. It’s online and Free :).

  1. Digital-Marketing


  2. There is 1 comment


    • 11 months ago

      Jasleen Kaur   /   Reply

      Thanks Cedric for your contribution to our community through this interview. Really happy to know your feedback about the work we are doing in spreading digital (marketing) vidya :).

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