Sales / Marketing
Marketers stay in tune with changing marketsby Ada Ng
The rapid pace of technological advancement is changing the face of the world's consumer electronics markets where product shelf life expectations get shorter than ever.
Innovation, along with smart marketing and timing, are therefore crucial to sales performance in the competitive marketplace, according to David Chiu, marketing director, LG Electronics HK Limited.
In a technologically advanced cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong where people crave the newest and hippest digital gadgets, savvy marketers need to monitor closely customer preferences, respond to market demand, and ultimately build a product roadmap and marketing tactics based on these factors.
"Prominence in technology development doesn't necessarily translate into market success. You've got to consider the human side of it and create innovative products that are able to address customer demand for increased convenience while enhancing their lifestyle," Mr Chiu points out.
It was with this customer-focused approach that LG made quick inroads after entering the Hong Kong consumer electronics industry only five years ago. The local operation of the multinational now focuses on penetrating the handset and audio markets, with products including LCD television sets and monitors, DVD players and mobile phones.
LG Hong Kong has achieved double-digit year-on-year growth over the past five years—the result of innovation combined with market insights.
Since Hong Kong's mobile handset market is one of the most competitive in the world, Mr Chiu believes in a systematic approach to managing the corporation's brand equity, product portfolio and customer segments.
For instance, the company conducts annual large-scale, cross-country surveys of end users, assessing their usage patterns and future needs across product categories, as well as measuring customer expectations, preferences and dislikes. It also collects sales data on a regular basis to analyse buying trends and to evaluate the marketability of various product offerings.
"By doing this, we establish a tighter link between our customers' requirements and the products developed by our research and development team. This helps us to quickly respond to changes in the marketplace," Mr Chiu explains.
Based on serious market research, LG also focuses on bringing in products that cater specifically for Hong Kong consumers' taste and preferences.
"It is important for innovative brands to go the extra mile for customers, to see things from their point of view and to consider their well-being," Mr Chiu emphasises.
With a view to meeting customers' growing need for convenience, for example, the company's "Magic Wand" remote control applies motion detection technology, which enables users to adjust TV settings via simple movements. He remarks: "This electronic motion sensing device demonstrates our customer focused approach. Our design team is always striving to make things simple and user-friendly for customers."
Another key success factor in the fast-moving consumer electronics market is to maintain a win-win relation with trade partners, according to Mr Chiu. He adds, "It would be impossible to get our products to consumers without an efficient network of channels and retailers. It's therefore important to work closely with these partners by engaging in joint promotion campaigns."
Supported by Hong Kong's strong technology infrastructure, the mobile-handset and television markets will continue to grow, despite strong rivalry in the field, Mr Chiu anticipates, and predicts that the main focus this year and in 2011 will be LED-backlight and 3D television sets. More wireless-enabled televisions will stream into the market to cater for consumers' increasing desire to be connected.
He notes also that as one of the most sophisticated groups of mobile users in the region, Hong Kong consumers are pioneers who refuse to lag behind in technology.
"When it comes to mobile phones, people's need for multimedia usage and internet connection will only escalate. There will be a strong growth in demand for smartphones, as consumers increasingly access the internet and seek connectivity through their handsets rather than computers," he says.
In a bid to meet market needs, LG's marketing unit will continue to expand, Mr Chiu confirms. "Owing to the fast-moving nature of this industry, marketers must stay at the forefront of developments and be sensitive to changes in consumer preference. More importantly, in order to remain proactive and competitive, it's vital for professionals in the field to be passionate about the industry and consumer electronic products," he concludes.
Taken from Career Times 9 July 2010, B2