Distinguished Marketer Award ; Harold Yip Man-ki HAVING A 'helicopter view' of the market and industry is vital for a successful marketer, according to Harold Yip Man-ki, a winner of the Distinguished Marketer Award. Mr Yip is general manager of Double A. He spearheaded marketing campaigns that doubled the monthly sales and increased market share for the paper brand in an industry that was surviving on a 'razor-thin' margin. Mr Yip joined Double A at the end of 2003 after the company had invested millions of dollars in advertising and promotion campaigns that failed to stimulate sales. He set about injecting new energy into the company's dwindling marketing team and implemented a strategy that mobilised its trade partners to promote Double A. 'The trade did not see any added value from Double A's advertising and promotion effort. Our strategy was to alter the mindset of the trade and finally to shape the supply chain to double its sales by the end of 2004,' he said. Mr Yip launched the 'Double A, Double Sales Challenge' with a new TV commercial and below-the-line promotions such as a customer loyalty club and a lucky draw. 'The most important initiative was the incorporation and mobilisation of the trade partners in the marketing activities so as to integrate the pull and push effort,' he said. 'There was lots of lobbying and tailor-made activities/promotions to the trade partners.' On the supply chain side, Mr Yip set about redefining the market to include a broader range of office supplies and implemented measures to reduce operation costs by shortening shipment lead time and reducing distributors' stock-keeping duration. 'The challenge for marketing in my sector is to build a brand in a commodity market where the trade believed price was everything. We have proved a premium brand such as Double A actually draws and keeps customers. This is because customers want a hassle-free product that will speed things up not slow things down. And they are willing to pay extra for that,' he said. As a result of Mr Yip's initiatives, monthly sales doubled in a year from end 2003, market shares increased from 16 per cent to 33 per cent in the same period, retail penetration increased from 28 per cent to 87 per cent, and price premium increased from 1.5 per cent to 3 per cent. Apart from having a helicopter view of the market, Mr Yip said a successful marketer should also 'read and listen more to all your partners and customers' and 'always remember to create values for the customers'.