Saturday March 23, 2013

Traditional media going strong


Creative medium: (from left) Sajith, Zalman, Murty and Effective Measure commercial director (Malaysia and Singapore) Tom Hogg listening as Kudsia talks about radio. Creative medium: (from left) Sajith, Zalman, Murty and Effective Measure commercial director (Malaysia and Singapore) Tom Hogg listening as Kudsia talks about radio.

It remains relevant in the digital era

DON'T discount the traditional media yet despite the emergence of digital media.

That is the clear message from a panel discussion at the annual Malaysian Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Conference on Thursday, which sought the answer to Is marketing now online marketing?

Celcom Axiata chief marketing officer Zalman Aefendy Zainal Abidin, one of the panellists, says Celcom has increased advertising spending in the areas where it knows will make the biggest impact.

While he says that digital is one of them, it is not the only area where it is spending a lot more on.

“I think there's still a lot of room for some of the other traditional media,” he says. “I don't think we can discount traditional media right away. One of the things about online marketing is there's a lot of fake advertising out there − there's a lot of spam. So traditional media have its own value in terms of endorsing what is seen in cyberspace.”

DiGi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd chief marketing officer Albern Murty says DiGi also uses a mixture of traditional and digital media.

“There's no magical number, and from time to time we adjust the numbers to reach the segments we target. I don't think it's all going to be towards one media in the future; I think there's still relevance of using both digital and traditional media. How they can complement each other is probably very key. And complementing them will be the job of the marketing services team,” he says.

Google Malaysia country head Sajith Sivanandan says Google spent more than US$1bil globally in advertising last year, including on offline media.

“What matter are where the audience is spending most of their time and what do you (as a marketer) want to achieve. Why are we thinking (either) online or offline? All these distinctions are pretty much blurred right now.”

Zalman says Celcom is today structured by business units that mirror agency structure, with each head of an account having a person under him who manages the different mediums that can be used to engage with consumers.

“We believe that right now, we have to look at it more on a holistic idea direction. We think of the ideas that would bring the best returns. It could be an idea that depends on medium. So the specialist must know more than just online,” he says.

“We used to split online and traditional media, but last year we merged them into the business units. When you look at a campaign, you look at reaching the customer from every aspect of the his (media) consumption habit rather than just from one point of view. The danger of doing the latter is your (messages in the) mediums could be disjointed in what they are doing and what they are saying to the consumers.”

Celcom Axiata regularly uses its consumer lab to understand consumer behavioural insights better.

“We need to constantly learn about consumers, and we're not talking about simple focus groups. I believe in understanding consumers, be it using desktop research, focus groups or our own research and consumer behaviour studies. We also make sure we regularly check our mediums to see which mediums are still popular,” says Zalman.

Murty thinks the industry has to develop different ways of measuring the success of campaigns. “We're still very traditional. As we shift more and more to digital, and traditional is becoming digital, it'll be extremely challenging not only to do it but to find the right people that are able to.”

Meanwhile, The Star Radio Group deputy chief broadcasting officer Kudsia Kahar says in the country, five million people consume radio not by the traditional way and “we need to capture that (group) more and more so that we have accurate numbers.”

She puts radio content consumers into three categories, of which two are almost always engaging online.

Firstly, there are the traditional radio listeners who listen usually 20-40 minutes while driving to work.

“FM transmission in Malaysia is not great because there's a lot of valleys and high-rise buildings, but the emergence of smartphones has given radio a new lease of life and also created a new kind of radio content consumers: those who listen to us only by their smartphones or online via laptops and other devices.

“Then you have the third type of consumers who only catch up on podcasts.”

She says The Star Radio Group and other dynamic radio companies are creating commercial options for clients where they don't just touch the traditional radio scenario of 30-second ads, but follow up with more engaging campaigns online.

Kudsia says for radio, one can track online the listenership preferences and behaviours better than using focus group results. “This is great for us because listenership changes all the time.”

She says Star radio can also devise radio campaigns that are not necessarily on air. “In fact, that's one thing we discovered about Capital FM (Star's women-centric radio station). When they come to our website, they want to see a magazine', so it does not look the traditional radio website.”

The conference, organised by Matrade (the Malaysia External Trade Development Corp) and the International Advertising Association Malaysia chapter, also features Maxis Bhd joint chief operating officer Suren J. Amarasekera.

Speaking on how to lead in the competitive telecommunications sector, he says that Maxis is focusing to be an integrated player by leveraging the cloud services.

“Our vision is to bring the future to our customers and businesses; we want it to be simple, personalised and enriching manners,” he says.

“Today there are multiple layers of integration such as phone, tablet and television content such as Astro and Media Prima.

They have the content and we have the capability to provide the experience. Nowadays, consumer demand is more on mobility and multiple screen services to view the contents,” he adds.

Meanwhile, CIMB Group head group marketing and communications Effendy Shahrul Hamid explains how the global financial crisis has changed the banking sector and how banks are adapting to this change.

“Banks must continue to position themselves accurately amidst the evolving operating landscape, with a key focus on ensuring that its propositions continue to be relevant to its customer base,” he notes.

Unilever Malaysia and Singapore chairman and managing director Rakesh Mohan says having patience is a critical factor when engaging with the emerging market as well as building intimacy with the consumers, building local talents, corporate reputation and relevance.

“It takes time to build consumption in this market,” he says.

He shares several marketing strategies on how to approach emerging markets such as India where there is a lack of media penetration. He says one of the strategies used was stamping messages on bread.

“It's about leveraging opportunities in the market.”

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