HMV in tune with lovers of music
Bronze medal Until about three years ago, music enthusiasts in Hong Kong had to be explorers to find titles of the artists they liked. Faced with a limited selection at the 500-odd 'mom and pop' record stores that dotted the territory, buying music was not always an enjoyable experience.
That changed in October 1994 with the arrival of the first HMV superstore, at Causeway Bay. With a philosophy that the needs of the customer were the main focus of its business, the company has been so successful that it now has four shops and has become Hong Kong's No 1 music retailer, with a market share approaching 30 per cent.
Features such as attractive stores, innovative promotions like membership cards, in-store listening posts (400 in the Tsim Sha Tsui store alone), in-store appearances by artists, a huge record selection, in-house deejays and competitive pricing helped HMV's Music at its Best campaign win the bronze medal in the 1995 marketing award for excellence.
The campaign involved print media and a radio campaign. Television advertising was considered too expensive. Philip Kung, HMV's managing director for the Chinese Asia region, said it was important to be part of the awards because it raised awareness of marketing as an integral function of business.
'It is a fundamental philosophy of our business that marketing is not just a promotion or department in our company. It is a function that provides the link between the customers and the company,' he said.
'It is a process where we need to know more about a customer to provide him with better service. We want to create awareness. All that comes together [in marketing] and it's a discipline we use that is a bridge to the customer.' HMV uses three marketing strategies: retail, communications and relationship to the customer.
The retail strategy is HMV's overall presentation to the customer; the store, the products, the different categories of titles, value for money and the service provided. It has a staff of about 250.
The communications strategy is about creating awareness of what HMV is and what it stands for. To spread its message, the company launched print and public relations campaigns, joint promotions with Kodak, Coca Cola, Cathay and the Hard Rock restaurants, co-operated on advertising with record labels and held in-store mini-concerts and autograph sessions with artists.
'Before we launched the business in Hong Kong, it was almost an unknown entity. There was a need for education because it was a new way of shopping,' Mr Kung said.
The relationship strategy was crucial because it involved establishing an on-going relationship with the customer.
With a membership card, customers get a chop for each purchase of a CD and a free disc after 20 chops. More than 100,000 cards have been completed.
Mr Kung said the company would open a store in Singapore by mid-1997 and more locations were being considered for Hong Kong.