Go on-ground, get engaged with your product, understand your customers and the processes in place. That’s one tip Kevin Wong, senior manager of Sunway Group’s loyalty programme, Sunway Pals would like to share with marketers in Malaysia.
“Drawing up plans alone in a locked room will not provide you with the best chance of success,” he said. Marketers need to walk the whole customer journey themselves to potentially find friction areas and insight gold mines that paper research will not show. This is even more vital as companies compete to create differentiate products and services in the face of customers who are becoming more discerning than ever.
Describing himself as someone who “leads by engaging”, Wong says he likes to get involved in the ideation and construction of processes. But at the heart of it, to be successful, marketers today need to understand all units that the business depends on for success, regardless of their seniority within the company.
“The key traits of a top marketer are very similar to the traits of a top businessperson,” he said. Marketers need to be “dynamic enough” to understand all aspects of the business he or she is in, while being strategic enough to choose the right levers of marketing to pull to impact the bottom line positively. It is very important that they must also have the capability to communicate and describe ideas to all stakeholders.
Working with a team of 30, as the head of Sunway Pals, Wong says much of his time is spent on evolving Sunway group’s first ever loyalty program into a revenue generating, data driven, cross-industry marketing and behavior changing programme. Not an easy task in an ever-changing marketing landscape.
“Each one of our clients from the various sectors have different marketing needs and wants, and it is the objective of Sunway Pals to cross pollinate customers to as many as possible. On the customer front, we aim to build and strengthen their relationships with our clients, be it in breadth or depth,” he added.
Wong says the key challenge for him, is to provide the right diagnosis and solution to the right client at the right time, and then, see it through end-to-end with all stakeholders. Briefly speaking about the programme which has approximately 520,000 members to date, he explains that Sunways Pals allows members to collect points when they spend with its membership partners within the Sunway Group. Its members can then redeem these points at its participating retailers totaling about 850 merchants.
In the coming months, besides focusing on growing the number of transactions within the Sunway Pals ecosystem, one of Wong’s main tasks this year is expand its footprint to both Sunway Carnival Mall and Sunway Velocity Mall. The fact that Sunway Group is a conglomerate comprising 12 complementary business divisions, gives it an advantage when it comes to gathering data and creating “transnational marketing opportunities”, he said.
This serves to boost both its membership base and the marketing capabilities of Sunway Pals for its clients. Among the numerous silos under the group, Wong is banking to grow its loyal consumer base from the retail, leisure, hospitality, property, medical and education sectors. But ultimately to succeed as in today’s world he says, marketers need to have flexibility, understanding of the business and attentiveness.
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