新媒介发展环境下，所有人都在谈数字化，不论广告主或是代理商，都将各自发展中心转移到了数字营销，但数字营销真的是解决一切难题的灵丹妙药吗？PHD亚太区CEO Susana Tsui并不这样认为，她在采访中直接对我们表示，如果现在关注点还是只停留在数字营销，那已经落后了。营销人士们要把目光放到更宏观的科技上。
Q: Can you share us some development plans about PHD in 2014?
A: PHD has been in the business for over 24 years. The way we started in UK is that we very much focused on planning and strategy that came before all the media buying and trading. After 25 years, we are now moving into an era that all is not about media anymore, it’s about communications which is enabled by technology. So our focus on 2014 is very much about how we use leverage technology to keep up with the consumer. That’s very important because other agencies will say their focus is all about digital. But I think if your focus is still on digital, you are somehow late to the market, because now technology has enabled the consumer to move so quickly that if you only talk about a small part of communication which is digital, mobile or web, it’s not about that anymore. Technology is enabled all the communication channels, even from TV to ITV, from display format to video, from CRM to social CRM, from retail to e-commerce, and more so like O2O. When we talk about communications, we can’t just talk about digital, because technology has enabled rest of the channels. A lot of clients and agencies are stuck in traditional and digital marketing, and the only way we can be ahead of the consumer so that we can take out our clients with us is that you focus on the large technology platform and not just digital.
PHD in Asia has been in 15 countries and 17 offices which is such a big network. The culture in PHD is very agile, moving flexible and fast. I think that’s a big opportunity and especially in Asia, because technology moves too fast and China market is very different from the other market. So we need to have very agile and flexible teams.
Q: Can you talk about the difference between China market and the rest of Asia market?
A: China market is very different. It’s one of the first emerging markets that prove to be economically strong. The economy is actually driving all the prosperous things in China. As in advertising and communication industry, that prosperity leads to a huge maturity in technology. In China we don’t have the global big players like Google, Facebook and all those players, this makes China very special because we have the equivalent like Baidu, Tencent and all these developers. That makes China very exciting, if you look at partners like Tencent, you’ve got WeChat platform, social network platform, games platform, e-commerce platform all together. Facebook is still trying to figure out how to do it. Google is trying to launch Google+ and other parts. They can’t do it fast. And the thing is that doing it fast in a market, you ask for small money and make big money. I like the spirit in China. You just go try and then you adjust and that’s a lot faster.
Q: What do you think of the trends in China market?
A: One of the big things and it’s already reported is that e-commerce is going to take up in China in the quickest time ever. If you look at the development in Amazon and eBay, all is going on for so many years, and now China e-commerce market is bigger than US. How people spend money is one of the big trends coming out instead of retail, from offline to online. Now there is O2O. How you get and drag people to the offline business is important.
People do not have that attention to go to different things, like you have 50 apps in iPhone and you cannot read all of them, so the convergence to product that is the most suited and of best usability for the consumer wins. You get on a lot of platforms, trying to buy from different companies, but at the end it’s all about the consumer. It’s all about the user, not about the brand name of the company, not how much money they have, but whether their product is actually suitable, easy, convenient and useful for the consumer. Convergence is going to be another big trend.
One of the interesting things about China, also very similar to other big emerging market with lots of people, is the trend of exploring outside tier 1 and tier 2 cities. So rural marketing is going to be very important. China is the perfect example because China has been one of the top developing markets in the world for many years. Marketers now need to expand, if you look at the population of the tier 1 and tier 2 cities, it’s still relatively small compared to rest of the country. But if you look at the trend of people, people make more money and move to the city, you have this whole migration of people wanting, people who live in small village want to move to town, people who live in small town want to move to big city. The cost of advertising in tier 1 city is very high. If you are a client and you have to sell bottle water, you can’t make the same money because the cost of advertising is so high. Instead of that, you spend advertising in tier 2, 3 and 4 city, you get more people. 10 years ago, tier 3 and tier 4 city people cannot afford bottle water, but now they can because middle class is expanding. People have more money. The interesting part about marketing is that we need to look at trends outside tier 1 and tier 2 cities.
I think one of the other trends leading in China is that China is leading the way notice screen how do you do marketing across TV, tablets, PC and mobile phone. There will be more trends, technology will have more. There will be more screens because the technology will have more. But I don’t think TV will be gone, it’s just different. Because it is a different TV, we used to TV and now the TV brings the same, used to have a big big TV, it takes a big piece, now it is on the one thing. Technology has changed TV, the actual TV and TV advertising. I think watching Youku is similar to watching TV and you have to call that video. It’s about the same entertainment on the screen.
Q: How about mobile marketing?
A: I think mobile marketing is already such a big part of everyone’s lives that it shouldn’t be anything special. I think what’s special should be commercial between mobile and social, because social and mobile now are the same thing. I don’t know a lot of people unless you are in the office or you go to a social network. You always go to your social network on your phone, because you can upload photo and talk to your friends and it’s fast. Nobody wait to go home or go to the office to use the social network. The mobile is already a very central piece of communications, because you buy things on mobile and you used to buy them on computer, now in a traffic jam, you are in your car and probably shopping, either through Taobao, Tmall, Yihaodian and others. It will be delivered to your home and it’s just so convenient.
Q: What do you think of the development of O2O in the future?
A: I think it’s a big opportunity for both online and offline. E-commerce is so popular right now, and the industry is still trying to figure a way to do it better, because I don’t think all the consumers are 100% happy. Sometimes you don’t get the right size, sometimes they deliver not on time, the whole business model from online shop, the usability of the website, to inventory and logistics delivery can still improve.
Technology will only make this easier and get more people to do it. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to buy on e-commerce, because it’s much cheaper. Technology also has enabled payment, and you just link to your account and pay the money. E-commerce is a big opportunity there and in the next few years, it will only get better including the experience and the service.
O2O is just beginning. If you look at the different website equivalent to Groupon and others, it serves a very different audience and different product. More and more people are used to getting on mobile to buy things on e-commerce, once you’ve done that, what if you want thing that can’t get delivered like restaurant, booking and travel. Those things are more service oriented, now you can use its platform because you are actually promoting it through aggregated services. If you are interested to read certain kind of content, you go to this place and they recommend you 10 different options. For me, I go to spa to do massage, I go to a woman beauty website and look at the content and then it recommends you 10 spas, I choose the right offer and at the same time I can book, make reservation and pay all online. Before without the platform, that spa could only do marketing around there, and it was just a small business like flyer or some salesman. They cannot afford TV or print ads, but it’s cheap to do it online, with the whole concept of driving business from online to offline, it will be successful and there are 2 reasons. One is that there will be more people online, second is that there will be more people doing e-commerce. These are the things PHD wants to explore. I think the new age of advertising person needs to have that, be very curious about different things socially, economically, politically and culturally. I also think that the new type of advertising talents needs to be very welcoming to technology. I don’t know anybody that will do well in the advertising in the future if you don’t like technology. It’s all about technology. It’s not because I promote it, it’s because all of our consumers are technology enabled, and that’s why we do it. That’s the difference between how PHD looks at the issue that we think so many steps deeper to understand it so that we can do better campaigns.