While GSK has recently moved its global pain management team and nutrition category teams in its Singapore office, Malaysia still remains its key focus market in the region. To show its dedication to the market, GSK’s core marketing team for Southeast Asia and the region, "Team Asia" is based in Malaysia.
Helen Forsyth, marketing director, GSK Consumer Healthcare, Asia in an interview with Advertising + Marketing said that in terms of sales numbers, Malaysia is one of GSK Consumer Healthcare’s largest markets with the widest range of products available in the market.
“Team Asia, which is based in Malaysia, is currently 25 people strong and we are happy to be slightly separated from the global teams in Singapore. This allows us to have a bit more autonomy and freedom while being able to leverage the resource and expertise of our global counterparts in the Singapore office.”
So what is keeping Forsyth busy as the year comes to a close?
Currently Team Asia has its hands full with the launch of GSK’s consumer relations hub. The hub is headquartered in Manila and will support all consumer queries via the phone and email today for all Consumer Healthcare queries. The roll-out of GSK's global Consumer Relations hubs is part of a wider programme to transform the way GSK engages with consumers, said the company.
There are nine consumer relations hubs globally.
“This will make it possible for GSK to start creating a consumer data base. So while 2014 was all about setting up and getting in touch with consumers, in 2015 we are leveraging the data and consumer profile that we have captured and build a relationship with them. With this capability we can get in touch with consumers and have follow up conversations past the purchase point,” said Forsyth.
Digital up scaling is also a key area of focus for the company.
Just recently, GSK conducted a digital pitch where it appointed digital agency Next Digital for GSK Consumer Healthcare business in Malaysia. The agency will work on a retainer basis from January 2015 onwards.
Today the company spends an approximate 10% of its budget on digital paid media. The number was a mere 4% in 2013. Nonetheless, measurement in the social and earned space still remains a challenge for Forsyth and her team. To counter it, the company has created their own measurement templates to bring consistency in social and earned media space across the region. This allows for a fairer benchmark to compare results across the region and brands.
Forsyth added that GSK is also now setting targets to drive teams to engage in digital marketing.
“Are companies in Malaysia doing enough in digital and social? Probably not. But in companies like GSK we are learning fast and we have instigated a digital transformation programme to train our marketers in the region through self taught modules,” said Forsyth. So as 2015 rolls around, Team Asia will actively try to grow its in house capabilities and set constant targets to grow in the arena of digital marketing, she added.