In the blink of an eye, 2022 is coming to an end. This year saw the emergence of metaverse and NFTs, increased concerns over customer loyalty, just to name a few. Marketers will need to be adept at keeping up with these changes, along with all the exciting technological developments, in this new world of marketing, especially when it comes to consumer behaviour. Customer journeys today are no longer linear, and they are often spoilt for choice as we enter the world of “consumer convenience”. This means marketers are battling areas such as privacy, ad fatigue, brand safety, talent crunch, personalisation at scale, and many others.
Moreover, the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 dealt a significant blow to global and local economic activities, which also hit the marketing industry. Hence, marketers were concerned about how brands could increase their revenue under recession-like conditions.
With all the developments in the marketing space this year, one can only wonder if 2023 will be any different. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to a number of brand-side marketers to find out their hopes for the coming year and what they aim to change in the industry. Here is what they had to say.
Anson Shum, vice president, marketing, SAUVEREIGN
Because of the ongoing threat of COVID-19, the metaverse is filling a lot of social gaps, creating a constant stream of new interest. We are all accustomed to heading into the digital world to do almost anything imaginable, both exotic and routine. It is inevitable sometimes that we find the metaverse is reflecting our real lives, but if it was safe and easy to travel, I trust only a few people would explore the metaverse as the only social alternative.
Agility is still key as the environment remains uncertain for the new year. It is more important than ever for marketers to think about hybrid in-person and digital brand experiences to remain consistent and authentic with our customers.
I feel that brands have been running out of juice trying to adapt and mimic the newest and best piece of technology available in the market that we often forget there's still a human behind every avatar. In 2023, I am hoping to see more surprise and delight. After all, myself like other customers don’t always know what I want, we are waiting for the brands to inspire us.
Kristie Cheung, head of marketing communications, Lalamove
2023 is a critical year to see which COVID-19-related marketing trends will stay and change the face of marketing permanently. Marketers will have to stay adaptive as usual. But one thing for certain is that customers, especially the new generation consumers, are looking at brands beyond marketing.
They are evaluating companies based on their corporate values and the values they create for society, and are growing to appreciate genuine engagements and exchanges with brands.
To further our efforts during the past year, we will continue to bring a positive impact to the community through corporate social responsibility and we look forward to fostering meaningful interactions with our loyal customers.
Alex Law, marketing director, foodpanda Hong Kong
Looking forward to 2023, we hope to emerge stronger in the post-pandemic era, leveraging data to step into sustainable and inclusive growth, as well as to maintain and strengthen meaningful engagement with all our stakeholders. This requires hitting a reset on outdated data reliance, and immersing ourselves within an analytics culture as we remain agile and anticipatory towards the new normal of data-driven marketing.
Using our solid and comprehensive database that we have cultivated over the past few years, we remain committed to serving the community of customers that we have - reconnecting with them not only through end-to-end customer journey touchpoints, but also through our purpose-driven brand values. Yet, we are also excited by the prospects of the digitally-native and progessive Gen Z group, a generation that emphasises convenience, instant and easily digestible content, slated to continue overtaking Millennials as the ‘it’ generation in the coming year.
In 2023, we look forward to learning and engaging more with these contemporary users through creative marketing tactics and innovatively communicating existing services including an increased focus in our pick-up function.
Samson Fong, head of marketing, Zenyum
With the wave of emigration in Hong Kong, we witnessed the departure of friends, family, colleagues, and even the whole office of some brands by month or by week in 2022. Meanwhile, I also saw the untamed potential from new blood e.g. industry talents, micro-macro influencers, ad channels, event organisers, celebrities and fans communities - who all reimagined marketing and communications in one way or another.
In 2023, I wish for a blossom in the marketing, branding and advertising talent pool.
Be it from the brand owners, startups, agencies, slashers, Gen-Z, Youtubers, KOLs, or artists. I am also excited about the industry's dynamics. Now that more young talents are filling the roles of the seniors that left, picking up the legacy of the emigration wave, I wish them success. Continue to stagger and disrupt the market with creativity and new tech.
Kevin Huang, managing director, Carousell Hong Kong
I hope that in 2023, marketers can treat their various communications, marketing, and advertising channels holistically, including PR, paid, owned media assets, and CRM. Too often, I see marketers treat each in a silo, missing a big piece of what works and what doesn’t, as well as opportunities that can bring further value and enhance the customer experience and journey. After all, consumers aren’t living in a siloed world, so being thoughtful about how your customers live, work, and play, and becoming a part of it is vital.
As we enter 2023, the expectation is that the “ride” will only get tougher with the global economic uncertainty; marketers need to be wiser with every dollar they spend. Too often, and even today, brands aren’t connecting the dots as fast as consumers are and are typically more than five steps behind. We as brands and platforms need to understand better what consumers want, are doing, and where they are doing it as opposed to just following the hype or “drinking the kool-aid,” as we say. It is equally crucial to measure each channel's effectiveness and the ROI that it brings to our business, and if we’ve not done it, well, better late than never.
Messaging appropriately for the world we live in today will matter more than ever in 2023. My prediction is that ESG and thrifting themes will be more pronounced in the year to come, and I hope that brands that do embark on this do it thoughtfully.
Last but not least, be adventurous with your media options. The proliferation of new media opportunities in 2023 will become apparent, and, by far, the most exciting opportunity since social media will be retail media, and this is finally taking shape in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia.
Philip Chau, vice president, group head of marketing, Regal Hotels International
As we approach the end of the year, it is a good time to reflect on what we have done this year as marketers. Indeed, we had gone through a challenging two years. We have seen budgets cut, campaigns put on hold, and high-profile events moved to other countries. With companies still not ready to take a risk, marketers are still playing it safe, and our ability to create real impact is still constrained.
Going into 2023, I hope to see companies open up to invest more in larger marketing campaigns – more immersive and personalised customer experiences, more complex data and digital driven customer engagement, as well as more creative and outside-of-the-box brand launches and re-launches.
Consumers are done waiting - they are ready to be impressed and they are ready to be moved. It is time for marketers to shine and to show the world that we, more than anyone, can create emotions, create impact and create legacy. Are you ready?
Wilson Wong, marketing director, Price.com.hk
2023 could be a tough year for marketers due to the uncertain economic situation.
Marketers may need to focus on business performance-driven initiatives, especially when consumers' purchasing power may be affected by a potential economic downturn.
However, in this pivotal year, it may be a good time to consolidate and strengthen our marketing assets so that we are better prepared for future rebounds. Areas like membership, data and partnerships are good initiatives. While prosperous business years are always nice to spend marketing budget and do PR, tough business times present both challenges and opportunities for marketers. Now is the time for marketers to shine in 2023.
Ada Lau, brand director, WeChat Pay Hong Kong
With holidays around the corner, everyone's searching for festive gift-giving and preparing for red packets. By just counting the latter alone, the 320 million red envelopes consumed per year contributes to paper wastage equivalent to deforesting 16300 trees.
With ESG being more valued and becoming an integral part of business strategy, it's time for brand marketers to review every part of the festive promotions to see if green alternatives are possible through existing enabling technologies, such as branded digital red packets with cash vouchers and social sharing functions.
A small switch in marketing decision would make a huge impact on the ultimate consumption. Let's think green!
Agnes Lung, executive director and group chief marketing and digital officer, TamJai International Co.
Customer-centricity has always been my prime focus when it comes to marketing strategies formulation. I trust 2023 is set to be an interesting year of making marketing efforts more effective with the rapid development of martech, uplifting customer journey through extraordinary digital experience.
Besides, I also believe and hope there will be an increasing reliance on data-led decisions in marketing strategies and activities. With customer-centricity as the centre of marketing strategy, customisation will become the key to win customers’ hearts. Customer relationship management (CRM) will continue to grow and serve as a platform to understand customers' behaviours and to plan for more precise targeting with the data support.
All in all, I look forward to the synergy between martech, data-led strategies and partnership to bring in more excitement for the market. Whilst for us, we will continue to provide innovative and original campaigns with our newly launched mobile apps and CRM, augmenting customer experience to the next level through our groundbreaking collaboration such as The Sandbox metaverse to surprise our members.
Boudewijn Feith, general manager Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau, Reckitt
Hong Kong has entered the post-pandemic stage with more physical events coming back after the long wait, and we are happy to see the city becomes lively again! 2023 will be a year of creating value for our consumers and customers through innovations and creative campaigns.
At Reckitt, we will continue to protect, heal and nurture the Hong Kong community to live cleaner and healthier lives through our products and educational initiatives. At the same time, we should embrace macro-environment challenges and seek new opportunities to build shared success with our employees and partners.