The new rules of the marketing game

April 15, 2019 09:34
Social media platforms and mobile apps can precisely deliver information to targeted consumers. Photo: Reuters

Hong Kong's main free-to-air television broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) saw its share price tumble to a 20-year low after it issued a profit warning.

Free-to-air television used to be the most powerful media in the city, and TVB once dominated the TV ad market thanks to the loyalty of its large audience base.

But the broadcaster is gradually falling out of favor with marketers in the era of the internet.

With the omnipresence of the internet and smartphones, social media platforms and mobile apps can precisely deliver information to targeted consumers.

Traditional media outlets can no longer dominate the information dissemination channel.

When companies devise their marketing plans, they want to find their potential customers in the population. With the help of big data, artificial intelligence and other technologies, the ultimate aim of such campaigns is to offer the right products to the right customers.

Developed by Harvard professor James Culliton, the "4P" concept of marketing used to be the rule of the thumb, referring to product, price, place and promotion. However, this product-centric marketing approach seems too simple in the era of business-to-business (B2B) transactions.

Traditional marketing plans originated from internal resources and products of a company. But the focus has shifted to consumers and clients in the B2B era.

The focus of marketing activities should now shift from product to solutions, from place to access, from price to value, from promotion to education , or SAVE, instead of 4P.

Apple and Tesla, for example, sell smartphones and electric cars respectively, but the core of their marketing message is principally their services and solutions.

Popular products may generate one-off profit, but profit from services and solutions can sustain for long time.

This is a big trend and companies need to redesign their products, services and marketing information by tailoring them to customers.

Digital marketing is still evolving, and everyone should keep an open mind.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 12

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Information Technology Federation Chairman