Digital Primer: Embracing Mobile-First Strategies with Pat Marcelo

Patrick Marcelo

Join host Ibarra Villaseran as he engages in an insightful discussion with Patrick Marcelo, the Marketing Manager & PR for IKEA Philippines, on the latest episode of Digital Primer. This episode delves into the transformation of social media, the emergence of mobile-first approaches, and the dynamic landscape of digital marketing.

Gain insights into IKEA’s journey in the Philippines and the power of real-time analytics in shaping marketing strategies.

Patrick Marcelo’s Marketing and PR Career

Patrick Marcelo, a seasoned professional in the field of marketing and public relations, reflects on his illustrious career spanning over a decade, marked by his dynamic roles and contributions to renowned brands.

With over 12 years of experience in the industry, Patrick Marcelo has cemented his reputation as a trailblazer in marketing and PR management. Currently serving as the Marketing and PR Manager for IKEA Philippines, Marcelo’s journey exemplifies dedication, innovation, and adaptability.

Marcelo’s career trajectory began in 2011 when he ventured into the dynamic world of marketing as a Community Manager at Globe Telecom. Reflecting on his early days, Marcelo recalls, “I started at Globe Telco, and tried my luck as a community manager. Of course, at that time, social media was a job, but social media was unheard of.”

As one of the pioneers in the social media landscape, Marcelo played a pivotal role in shaping Globe Telecom’s digital presence. “They were just starting to build the social media team… we were one of the first four,” Marcelo reminisces. His tenure at Globe Telecom laid the foundation for his expertise in social media strategy, content creation, and community engagement.

Transitioning to roles of increasing responsibility, Marcelo’s journey led him to diverse opportunities, including a stint at Bad Idea, a small creative agency, where he honed his skills as a versatile marketing professional. “It was a very small agency, so I was kind of a jack of all trades, trying to be creative, strategic, and handling accounts at the same time,” Marcelo recalls.

Returning to Globe Telecom as a Social Media Specialist, Marcelo’s influence continued to grow, eventually assuming the role of Brand and Communications Strategist. “From just handling social media, I started handling overall marketing campaigns from end to end,” Marcelo explains, underscoring his evolution as a strategic marketer.

In 2021, amidst the challenges of the pandemic, Marcelo embarked on a new chapter as the Search and Social Media Manager at IKEA Philippines. Reflecting on this transition, Marcelo shares, “It’s exciting to work with a global brand and to be part of that pioneering team to establish the company in the Philippines.”

As part of IKEA Philippines’ Inspiration and Communication team, Marcelo spearheaded the brand’s social media presence, leveraging the excitement surrounding IKEA’s arrival in the country. “We used social media as one of our main channels to build our presence,” Marcelo remarks, highlighting the team’s strategic approach to engage with Filipino consumers.

“We were lucky that the Philippines, or the Filipinos, were excited about the arrival of IKEA, so of course. Everyone was excited and of course, it’s on social media where the excitement is happening, since it’s the pandemic as well, and everyone was talking about IKEA at that time. So, and then we opened in November 2021. And from there we grew our social media presence as well,” he adds.

Social Media and Digital Marketing Evolution

Reaching Customers Through Social Media

Marcelo also discussed how digital marketing has changed over time from his extensive experience at the forefront of the digital revolution.

“Social media and digital marketing in general evolved a lot since I started.” Reflecting on the early days of his career, Marcelo highlights the organic nature of social media engagement, where platforms were still exploring monetization strategies and marketers navigated the ever-changing algorithms.

“Before, social media was perceived as a free marketing channel,” Marcelo explains. “But now, social media is a highly paid marketing channel, a performance marketing channel. Brands now invest significantly in social media and digital marketing due to its trackability and tangible results.”

Marcelo’s insights shed light on the paradigm shift within marketing teams and corporations, where social media has transcended its role as a mere broadcasting platform to become a dynamic conduit for targeted engagement and brand storytelling.

“Number one, because social media and digital marketing are very easy to track. It’s the easiest to track of all channels compared to above-the-line like home TV, radio, etc. You instantly see, of course, the results of your efforts. We think that’s the main difference now that brands are already investing through paid social media and digital marketing now. But before would you say it’s considered as a free marketing channel, like a bulletin board of some sort,” he underscores.

Discussing the evolving expectations from audiences, Marcelo emphasizes the importance of creativity and platform-specific content. “You have to be more creative and hardworking to capture your audiences,” Marcelo remarks. “You cannot post what you post on Facebook and then just repost it on TikTok, for example, because those are different channels that have different algorithms and people look for different things also. Understanding the nuances of each platform and optimizing content accordingly is key to resonating with your audience.

The Prevailing Mobile-First Environment

The shift towards a mobile-first approach has been gradual yet transformative. Reflecting on the evolution, he emphasizes, “Definitely it evolved into mobile-first, maybe in the middle of my career, of course, because, of course, mobile it’s, of course, highly dependent as well on the usage of mobile data.”

The influence of mobile data usage on consumer behavior cannot be overstated. Pat emphasizes the pivotal role of campaigns aimed at habituating users to embrace mobile data services. “Our campaigns before were about that. Yeah, so like free Facebook, for example,” Pat recalls, highlighting the impact of initiatives like free Facebook access in shaping internet usage patterns in the Philippines.

In a conversation with Ibarra, Pat underscores the enduring significance of mobile-centric approaches even beyond the realm of telecommunications. “Even now, of course, we see that people are using mobile more rather than desktops or laptops because people are everywhere,” Pat observes. “People are always on the move and, let’s admit it, we’re always on our phones right, more than our life.”

Acknowledging the diverse dynamics across platforms, Pat stresses the importance of tailoring content for optimal mobile experiences. “Everything should be mobile friendly, right, because before, like years ago, we would always design for desktop. But now it’s always like it’s always should be mobile friendly,” Pat asserts.

In the pursuit of capturing the audience’s attention in a scrolling culture, Pat emphasizes the need for content to be a “thumb stopper.” “It should stop your eyes and get your attention, because you know the behavior now is… you know you will just scroll up, right,” Pat explains. “And one you see, the first one second of the video is already eye-catching.”

Frustrations and Expectations with Digital in the Philippines 

Digital marketing specialist with a phone

Marcelo shared his reflections on both the opportunities and the frustrations that come with navigating the digital sphere in the country.

“I think what excites me and frustrates me is the same thing. To me, it’s really how digital and social media keep on evolving. Always. It’s not stopped,” he says.

“The speed of it, and also it’s exciting, of course, like for me in my 12, 13 years of my career. Of course, it’s always new. Every year, there’s always a new challenge, and there’s always a new opportunity to learn. So you’re always learning. That’s the most exciting about it. The frustrating part of that one is that it’s always changing, so you always have to be on your toes also of the trends and also basically we’re at the mercy of these publishers,” he explains.

Digital platforms keep changing, which is exciting, but it also brings big challenges. Pat talked about how frustrating it is when algorithms and platforms keep changing. Pat said, “Yes, the algorithms. We’re always at their mercy because we can’t control the changes they make.”

The evolving nature of digital platforms necessitates constant adaptation and experimentation from digital marketers. Pat emphasized the significance of embracing experimentation and learning from trial and error: “Yes, of course, social media and digital marketing. It’s all about experimenting, A/B tests learning, and trial and error, because no one knows it perfectly. After all, it’s a new thing.”

Tip to Organizations Going to Digital Marketing

He emphasized the importance of trust and experimentation within digital marketing teams.

“To the brands out there with digital marketing teams, I would say trust your digital marketing teams. You hire them, so you should trust them,” he said, highlighting the significance of confidence in the expertise of the hired professionals.

Marcelo further emphasized the need for organizations to heed the recommendations and insights provided by their digital marketing teams. “Hopefully you trust them and listen to them, of course, with their recommendations and insights, and let them experiment as well.

Acknowledging the dynamic nature of digital marketing and social media, he underscored the value of experimentation and learning from mistakes. “Let them trial and error, because digital marketing, social media it’s really all about that. It’s ever-changing, so you can always make mistakes and learn from them and never make that mistake again,” Pat explained.

The Digital Primer Podcast continues to provide valuable insights and practical strategies for marketers and digital enthusiasts. Listeners can gain inspiration and actionable advice from industry leaders like Patrick Marcelo. To access the full episode and learn more about his digital marketing journey, tune in and subscribe.

About Patrick Marcelo

Patrick Marcelo is a seasoned marketing and PR professional with a diverse background in crafting and executing comprehensive campaigns for prominent brands. Currently serving as the Marketing & PR Manager at IKEA, Patrick brings over a decade of expertise in brand communications, digital content strategy, and social media management.

His professional journey at Globe Telecom, where he served in various roles from Community Manager to Social Media Specialist to Social & Digital Content Strategist to Brand Communications & Campaigns Strategist.  During his time at Globe, spanning from 2015 to 2021, Patrick led the development and implementation of comprehensive campaign strategies for Globe Telecom and its various partnerships, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Viu, and Mobile Legends. He also crafted and executed social media content strategies for Globe Prepaid, TM, and various entertainment, gaming, and lifestyle partnerships.

Patrick also also served as an Account Director at Bad Idea from January 2013 to September 2014, overseeing account management and campaign execution for tech brands such as Beyond the Box and Digital Walker.

As the Marketing & PR Manager at IKEA since 2022, Patrick has spearheaded marketing and public relations initiatives, driving brand visibility and engagement across various channels. His career journey reflects his commitment to driving impactful marketing strategies and fostering brand connections in the dynamic digital landscape. With a keen eye for innovation and a track record of success, he continues to excel in his role, shaping the narrative and presence of the brands he represents.

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