Malaysian marketers: Think behaviour and not demographic

The Malaysian market is unique. It is multi-racial with each race having its own strong identity, tradition, sensitivities and behaviours. On top of that, within each racial segment, there are multiple demographics.

And while most Malaysian marketers are experts in marketing demographic wise, this needs to now evolve into "behavioural targetting", said Chai Hui Fung, marketing director, Nando's, Malaysia and Singapore.

Marketing in a segmented, multi-racial, complex society is by no means easy.  One challenge for Chai lies in appealing to all the different segments in the Malaysian society – each with its complex social behavior.

“The biggest challenge we face is how to target consumers. Sounds traditional, but due to the astronomical rise of digital innovations and the social change, understanding who will be our target and targeting consumers has become a much more difficult and complicated task than before,” she said.

To overcome this, insights and are primary. But deciphering data is by no means easy, says Chai. In fact, candidly, she added data is one of her key frustration points.

“While we know it’s important; we get and data from various sources; it’s challenging to integrate the data in order to get an accurate and holistic view of the situation,” she said. Measurement in the digital world, constantly evolving, is also an issue she said. There is still lack of set measurement matrix for marketing efforts on the digital.

“This makes it difficult for us to know whether our investments digitally are giving us the appropriate returns,” she said.

The Nando’s way

With the influx of information online, a brand can no longer succeed being one-dimensional and beat its own drum. It needs to add value to a consumers’ life.

Nando’s marketing strategy, she added, has always centred around building a genuine relationship with customers. While digital marketing play a key role in its marketing strategies; more attention is now placed on leveraging on technology to build better understanding of consumer behaviors.

“We want to hear them out so that we can figure out how we can add value to their lives, and can interact with them in manner that relevant to them and interest them. Instead of just focusing on products, our plans are always anchored on building community where customers can communicate with Nando’s on a personal level,” she said, adding:

Use all resources and insights available to fully understand the consumer and engage them in a marketing model. The one-size-fits all is a thing of the past.


Going forward, she added, with the marketing industry now data driven, marketers need to be able to analyse, understand and use data with the support of latest technology.

"Marketers must always keep track with the evolving technology and trends; and understand how that will impact the consumers' life," she added.