Marketing Excellence Awards judge Loo Hoey Theen on innovating quickly

Sunway Malls marketing director Loo Hoey Theen (pictured) has spent 13 years at the company, overseeing marketing strategies for new and existing malls. She has also been planning marketing budgets and making strides in innovating marketing practices. Past successes include developing the customer care department for the expansion of the mall as a differentiation and restructuring the mall’s marketing function to bring in increased traffic and publicity reach.

Loo currently manages a team of near to 40 staff. Prior to Sunway, she has a wealth of marketing and public relations experience at large firms such as Crabtree & Evelyn, Hartamas Shopping Centre and Ernst & Young. Over the years, Loo has accumulated deep knowledge in mall management, business development, customer experience, event management, branding and analytics. She shares with A+M what marketers should be doing to break through the clutter and catch up with the latest consumer behaviour trends below.

A+M: What do you hope to see in the submissions for Marketing Excellence Awards Malaysia 2019?

Loo: Consumer trends have changed tremendously with the growth of technology and connectivity. Hence, with that lifestyle has also evolved to be more integrated with social media, mobility, connectivity and also the speed of interaction.

In the coming Marketing Excellence, I do hope to see more campaigns demonstrating the fusion of this evolution of lifestyle with more integrated marketing efforts to reflect this change. A strong marketing campaign will package these aspects into an experiential journey for the customer.

A+M: What do you feel is the biggest challenge marketers in Malaysia face today?

Loo: Customers today have shorter attention span and an overabundance of digital clutter hence, trying to get the customer’s attention requires more meaningful and targeted messaging. Marketers have to work a lot harder to deliver these messages that will resonate with the customer.

Innovation is key in the delivery of good marketing campaigns, but with shorter attention spans, the marketer has to churn out more innovations in shorter periods.

The shortage of talent pool also puts a strain on the quality of innovation hence, marketers experience a condition called "innovation fatigue". Marketers should look out to other industries and expertise to create a new take on addressing challenges.

A+M: What type of work stands out to you as a marketer?

Loo: A good marketing effort should always address the company’s key objectives and be able to create a triple win situation for the brand, partners and customers. Marketing campaigns that achieve its strategic intent, delivered in a meaningful and impactful way without the "hard sell" but using "heart sell" would be make a huge difference in how a customer perceives a brand. Work like that stands out to a customer and as marketer, that is what matters most.

A+M: What do you look out for when working with agencies?

Loo: Chemistry, understanding of the industry and creativity. Chemistry between the brand and the agency is important as it creates a partnership that is more than just an agency-client situation. In a partnership, both have similar objectives and the desired outcome will be greater. Understanding of the industry reduces the learning curve time so that really helps in today’s speed of delivery of work. And finally, creativity which is so important to develop new innovation.

A+M: Where is the standard at for Malaysia's marketing industry? How else can the industry improve as a whole?

Loo: Different business industry is experiencing different standards and mostly this is driven by customers’ needs as well as the environmental readiness. With the availability of information online, marketers have access to wonderful resources globally and sharing of information is taking the industry to a different playing field. Networking between marketers, digital innovators, start-up ideation and having an entrepreneurial mindset are powerful drivers to shift the industry into new heights.

[The Marketing Excellence Awards is back in Malaysia for its seventh year to recognise and award Malaysia’s outstanding marketing campaigns With 33 categories open for entry, don’t forget to submit by 23 August 2019. Visit our website to find out more today.]

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