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Marketing tries to keep pace with trends

Kostas Delialis, marketing director of Coca-Cola (Thailand), holds up a pair of cans to express his feelings.

Kostas Delialis, marketing director of Coca-Cola (Thailand), holds up a pair of cans to express his feelings.

Digital channel becomes area of focus as most consumers now tech savvy

Amid the economic and political uncertainties, fast-moving consumer goods firms have adopted marketing innovations and techniques to deal with today's consumers, who demand affordable basics to help them budget better.

Today's consumers are more connected and digitally savvy, and many would like the brands they buy to communicate with them as individuals. Many consumers are looking for products that multi-task, combining benefits and attributes, or just make their lives simpler.

Howard Chang, general manager of market research agency Kantar World Panel, said last week that consumers are spending less and less money and purchasing fewer items. Many major brands have posted slowing sales.

Consumers are more attracted to promotions, especially discounts, and have increased their purchases by 20 per cent on average.

Martin Choi, consumer insight director, said consumers have been gradually changing their shopping behaviour from buying products in bulk or large packages to small sizes, and from a couple times a month at hypermarkets to every day at convenience stores near home.

Compared to developed markets like South Korea, Thailand is in the early stages of online shopping, which covers certain products, such as cosmetics and make-up. However, the online market would move to other products like groceries.

Chamnarn Maytaprechakul, executive vice president of The Mall Group, said marketers need to take notice of the cost efficiency of their marketing. They should focus on customers' benefits as the top priority.

For example, for its latest soccer campaign in which all business units would share their marketing costs, that will make them more effective in implementing the campaign. The campaign would not focus on emotional benefits but on tangible results to customers, such as discounts and promotions.

Salinla Seehaphan, director of corporate affairs at Tesco Lotus, said emerging digital trends were changing the way people live, and the retailer wants to make the most use of digital technology to provide customers with maximum convenience and the best possible shopping experience.

"Tesco Lotus has launched many digital innovations that are popular among customers now such as a mobile application that generates digital coupons.

"We have used digital channels to engage customers in our marketing campaigns such as the latest campaign to celebrate World Cup 2014. We invite customers to get a specially designed, football-themed clubcard via the Tesco Lotus website and join the zambarobic dance competition by learning from YouTube videos. "Our Facebook page is one of the key platforms to engage customers and Tesco Lotus now has one of the largest fan bases with over one million fans," she said.

More individualistic

Petcharat Uthaisang, marketing director of McThai Co, the franchisee of McDonald's restaurants, said consumers are becoming more individualistic, especially on convenience issues, such as online shopping.

"McDonald's focuses on 'Customer First' in developing any marketing strategy and brand connection activities," she said.

McDonald's Facebook has more than 700,000 fans and its Line app more than 6 million members.

Hasan Basar, managing director of Bangkok PR, said the leading public relations agency has worked with two of the world's most innovative fast-moving consumer goods companies - Coca-Cola and Nestle.

"What we have seen clearly across all companies and brands in this sector is that innovation, which allows the consumer to connect closer to brands has become vitally important for the development of brands," he said.

"The innovations we are seeing act not only to excite the consumer, but also allow the consumer to customise the products, even for brands that had traditionally been thought of as 'mass brands'.

"That customisation is about making the products meet their own needs better. However, increasingly, it is now going beyond just customisation and also includes the 'personalisation' of products to both excite and bond with the consumer," he said,

Krobkeaw Panyarachun, brand communications manager of Coca-Cola (Thailand), said that in the 'Share a Coke' campaign, the company printed on about 250 million of its cans and PET bottles a set of expressions of positive feelings and common nicknames.

It allowed people to have a personalised way in which they could express their feelings and share a moment of happiness with their friends, families and loved ones.

The latest 'Coke Let's Join' campaign has just been kicked off as part of the run-up to the Fifa World Cup, of which Coca-Cola is an official sponsor.

Consumers can put their own portraits onto Coke PET bottles and also put themselves next to a picture of one of Coca-Cola's brand ambassadors, including a very popular singer, an actor, a comedian, a footballer and a stylish celebrity.


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