Michelle Evans, Global Head of Digital Consumer Research at Euromonitor International, was named as one of the Top 200 Fintech influencers in Asia 2018. The list, created by Fintech Asia and LATTICE80, covers an exhaustive list of influencers in the Fintech industry within the Asia region. At the Money 20/20 Asia event in March 2018, she also spoke about how companies need to prepare for the super app era.
Michelle gives us insight to her work at Euromonitor International and what it means to be a knowledge leader in an ever-changing industry.
What does being listed as one of the top 200 influencers in the Fintech industry in Asia mean to you?
It is always humbling to be honoured as an industry thought leader. I am grateful that that industry has been so receptive to the insight and analysis I have shared over the years. Of course, none of this would be possible without the great team at Euromonitor, which works year-round building data and producing analysis as to how technology is reshaping the digital consumer globally.
How did you manage to become an influencer within your industry?
I believe the secret weapon to whatever success I have had in my current career is due to my past career. More than seven years ago, I joined Euromonitor as a payments analyst after having spent nearly a decade as a professional journalist. It was during my career as a journalist that I learned how to communicate complicated concepts and write to an audience – both are lessons that have served me well.
More so than anything else, journalism teaches you how to tell stories. It is a skillset I use daily whether it is writing a research briefing, preparing a presentation for an industry show or crafting an email to client to offer insights. Another aspect is the ability to take a complicated idea and distil it to its lowest common denominator. That has proven incredibly valuable as I began researching the impact of technology on commerce. I often ask industry contacts a lot of questions to ensure I understand the dynamics at play. After all, good writing is about simplicity and you can only write simply once you have a mastery of the topic.
What advice or lessons learned can you highlight concerning your pivot from a disruptive industry (traditional journalism) to a thriving industry (fintech)?
It has been fascinating career shift to have had a front-row seat for the downward trajectory of one industry only to find myself on the upswing of another. One of the most important lessons I learned now as a recovering journalist is the ability to pivot one’s self and one’s business. There are no constants in either so success will be dependent upon your ability to reinvent or reimagine your business, as well as your personal skillset. Although the shifts in journalism were well known even at the time I still worked in the field, I believe many foolishly held onto the belief that what got them there would keep them relevant in the future. Businesses facing the onslaught of technological shifts could learn a lesson or two from that experience.
How do you see the digital consumer changing in the future?
This digital connectivity, which underpins the very existence of digital consumers, has altered all aspects of life and will continue to do in the years ahead. In fact, the internet has been one of the most transformative innovations of the modern era with this widespread access driving generational shifts in how consumers live, work, play and shop. Consumers are expected to further integrate it into their daily lives with more turning to mobile for its on-to-go connectivity. While today’s most popular online activities are communication driven, connected consumers are increasingly using online access for entertainment, health and commerce purposes. Although in the early days, connectivity is reshaping commerce. Given that future commerce will be digitally influenced and executed, more consumer payments will be executed through digital devices in the years ahead. If, for example, only 10% of consumer payments globally were made digitally in 2021 that would equate to USD7.2 trillion in digital commerce.
What advice do you have for others?
Find something you are passionate about and do it well. The journey will not be easy, but the passion will make it bearable. Equally important is being open to the twists, turns and detours of the journey in the first place. If you could have asked me 20 years ago what I wanted to be doing in my career today, I would have said being a managing editor at a newspaper. I would have never described my current job because I did not know then that such jobs existed then – let alone a decade ago. However, if I would have gone into more detail describing what was appealing about being a managing editor at a newspaper at that time, there would be a lot of similarities with my job today. On the surface, the two appear to be different, but at their core there are a lot of similarities.
Download Michelle Evans' Money 20/20 Asia presentation on "How Companies Need to Prepare for Super Apps" here: http://go.euromonitor.com/event-content-digital-consumer-2018-2020-asia.html