Mr. Jason Lusk, Digital Marketing Lead of Microsoft Vietnam and founder of ClickSpace in Hanoi, shares his thoughts with VET about Vietnam's marketing industry.
What are the most important factors in adopting a marketing strategy?
Great marketing programs blend three elements: an honest acknowledgement of how customers really see the brand today, an achievable goal for improving brand perception, and a profound knowledge of their customers' deepest needs and desires. The intersection point between those three elements is as unique to each brand as a fingerprint is to each person. Great marketing ideas always sit at that intersection.
Sometimes, in Vietnam, sensitive TV commercials are screened during dinner time. While they may build awareness, they can also create a poor image of the company in the eyes of consumers. What are your thoughts on this?
When you see what looks like an inappropriate TV commercial at an inappropriate time, such as at family dinner time, one of two things is happening. One possibility is that the brand planned its media schedule poorly. Some amateurish advertising agency's media department did not exercise enough control over when the commercial would run.
Another possibility is that the timing is deliberate. Maybe Vietnamese media agencies have research saying they can sell more Viagra at dinnertime. If true, then restricting that sort of advertising at dinner time would be a public policy decision, not a marketing decision. Don't expect brands to stop doing it voluntarily.
There have been cases recently where branding activities have actually annoyed consumers. How can this be avoided?
When brands annoy their customers it is normally a case of marketers thinking tactically, not strategically. Good marketing strategists are like good chess players. They always think several steps ahead. If a marketing tactic is designed to grow awareness of the product, a good marketer asks, "How does the customer feel after becoming aware, and what action does he or she take next?" Thinking that way creates a clear journey from the first advertisement the customer ever sees to the customer's first purchase. It prevents marketers from annoying their customers.
The term "360 degree integrated marketing" has been bandied about recently. What are the difficulties in implementing such a strategy and how can they be overcome?
The marketing industry has the same problem that the construction industry has. Real estate developers have always needed to hire electrical contractors, AC contractors, and security contractors. These days there are really cool ways to integrate buildings' electrical, AC, and security systems to make them more energy efficient, which saves money. But a lot of real estate developers don't do it because they don't want to spend money on yet another "technology integration contractor".
Marketing has the same problem. Brands are used to hiring advertising agencies, PR agencies, and digital agencies. If brands want 360 integrated marketing communications to work they need to add an unbiased, independent marketing integration consultant. Regardless of all the success that integrated marketing communications has had around the world, hiring an expert to do it seems too new, expensive, and risky to many marketers in Vietnam.
How much creativity in there in marketing in Vietnam at the moment?
Vietnamese brands desperately need to invest in strategy and creativity, yet those are the very things for which Vietnamese brands refuse to pay agencies. Consequently, they all end up choosing marketing programs from the same menu of tired old ad concepts and silly social media mini games. Agencies have no incentive to deliver anything new that might actually help their clients win.
Mr. Jason Lusk is the Digital Marketing Lead of Microsoft Vietnam and the founder of ClickSpace. ClickSpace is a co-working center in the West Lake area of Hanoi that features a Coworking Cafe serving all comers and a Resident Member Zone with a quiet workroom and free printing and copying. He has been involved in many marketing-related activities and conducts marketing-related talks in Vietnam.