Marketing to a digital savvy audience - the customer is the hero
As the regional hub for global businesses in Asia, and the world’s most vertical city, Hong Kong is recognised as the gateway to doing business on the mainland. And this city has carved out notable marketing niches matched by few others in the region.
Notes Tony Chow, Marriott International regional director, Creative and Content Marketing, APEC: "You only need to look at the outdoor billboards, and the powerful way neon-lit advertisements are displayed on buildings to instantly recognise Hong Kong's distinct marketing.”
Marriot’s marketing maven believes that Hong Kong marketers excel in helping international, regional and local brands use the Hong Kong platform to sell themselves to the wider Asian market, and in particular on the mainland. "Hong Kong marketers do this exceptionally well,” says Chow, “in terms of outdoor marketing across all types of brands and industries."
With the rapid rise in digital marketing, Hong Kong is evolving its traditional marketing strengths into the mobile and social media platforms. "These days, the consumer is the hero who makes the choices. So marketers need to adjust to this new mindset," explains Chow who has more than 20 years of experience in the media, marketing, broadcast and communications industry, including a decade in digital media.
Fuelled by the rapid proliferation of content marketing, coupled with the growing number of mobile-first consumers, this marketing veteran expects to see Hong Kong marketers outperform their regional counterparts by using a holistic marketing approach to reach their target audience. He also expects to see Hong Kong marketers continue to combine creativity with analytics, big data and digital content.
Chow notes that Hong Kong has a wealth of creative talent, in fact more so than most other places around the region.
But he says that Hong Kong’s marketers can be even more effective by "using online channels, to customise messages to build more personalised relationship with targeted consumers."
During his long career, Chow has produced many award winning TV commercials, online videos and television programmes for major clients. He adds that technology tools now have made it possible to track and manage digital marketing strategies more effectively, including "real time" feedback.
From a marketing standpoint, the savvy Singaporean-born marketing specialist says that real time feedback allows marketers to work with Hong Kong's long-established iconic brands to explore the digital environment. "This represent a huge opportunity for Hong Kong's creative marketing talent to help traditional brands bridge the [digital] gap and make connections with a new generation of consumers."
A case in point is that marketing professionals can help businesses that have built their brands around empathy both from a product or company point of view, exploit new marketing strategies that personalise the connection with the consumer. "It's about understanding and connecting with the consumer in a way they feel they are being treated as an individual."
With tourists increasingly seeking "interesting and unique" experiences, Chow believes Hong Kong's hotel sector can capitalise on the city's reputation for high service standards and its reputation as a shopping and dining paradise. He says by marketing "hidden gems" including scenic hiking trails, country parks and cultural experiences, Hong Kong hotels can tap into a growing tourism market looking for a holistic travel experiences.
"Hong Kong does a pretty good job marketing hotels to business travellers, but today's leisure tourists want to dive into the local culture for unforgettable experiences," Chow observes. "Hong Kong has everything it needs to deliver exceptional experiences, it simply needs to be marketed well."
The highly sought-after speaker in marketing communications will participate as a panellist at the Inaugural MarketingPulse event on March 21. Featuring world-renowned brand owners, marketing and advertising experts and top creative minds, MarketingPulse is a regional conference organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) to allow marketers and brands to learn about the latest marketing strategies and trends.