Q&A with Noriaki Okubo, IgnitionOne’s Managing Director, APAC

What is your background?

I have over 15 years experience in International business: ten of which have been in the Internet space and the last five years have been with IgnitionOne.

What is your role at IgnitionOne?

I manage the Asian business for IgnitionOne. I have responsibilities to grow business in the region and also manage operations.  This specifically touches upon developing sales and marketing strategies, building and motivating the team in rapidly changing environments, building relationships with clients and most importantly finding new business opportunities for IgnitionOne.

What is it like working in the IgnitionOne Japan office? 

The Tokyo office is situated in an area called Azabu Jyuban where there is a good mix of restaurants, cafes, bars, as well as commercial and residential space. There seem to be a number of modeling agencies in the area, which can occasionally be interesting. The office is not large but everyone is hard working and very dedicated to their jobs and we have a strong culture of team work. Language barriers and the 13 hour time difference between the US and Japan can be a challenge, but it doesn’t stop us from getting results.

What would you say is the most common grievance among Japanese marketers?

This is a hard question. Different clients have different grievance but I would say the biggest centers on performance.

How do marketers differ between Japan and the US?

Japanese marketers like to try new things but are not always patient and can sometimes be skeptical about technology. If they try something new, it needs to show a significant improvement in performance in a short amount of time or they will pull the plug. Marketers in Japan also tend to focus on small issues that can impact the bigger picture. For example, a small data discrepancy can be a large enough issue to offset a 5-10% performance improvement.

IgnitionOne recently released Remarketing in Japan. Can you tell us more about this and how it sets IgnitionOne apart from competitors in Asia?

Livemarketer is a feature that we like to talk about to explain the difference between standard remarketing and ours. Attribution and the option to use the whole Digital Marketing Suite for other channels with a more holistic approach is the way we bring our DMS to more sophisticated marketers.

Which area of digital marketing seems to be growing the fastest in Asia?
DSP’s, SSP’s, mobile, and ad networks are growing quickly in Asia, especially in Japan. We see this same trend in other Asian countries, but volume and market sophistication are still not there.

How do you spend your free time?

I have a young family (a six-year-old daughter and three-year-old son) so I spend a lot of my free time with them. We spend a lot of time in swimming pools as well as the park.

If you were stranded on an island and could choose only three items to accompany you, what would they be?

Assuming that I had Internet access: an iPhone, a knife and a tooth brush. If there is no Internet, I would ask for an Iridium satellite phone to try to get off the Island, and if I had to stay on the island for life, then maybe a knife sharpener instead of the phone.

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