(Left to right: Chiqui Escareal-Go, Sam Christopher Lim, Emilio Macasaet III, Josiah Go)
Last November 29, 2022, National Book Store and the Shangri-La Mall sponsored a talk and book signing event featuring four bestselling business authors who gave marketing tips for 2023.
Marketing Anthropologist Chiqui Escareal-Go focused on how consumer behaviors can be quite unpredictable, being both rational and irrational; with the constant being how people are hardwired, no matter what stage in evolution – to avoid pain and seek pleasure. Helping consumers make an easy and clear choice – for example, in brand, promo or price management, is key.
1. Think brand relevance before brand differentiation. Many consumers have already changed buying habits during the pandemic so it is important to capture their new and evolving preferences. For instance, consumers have gotten used to the convenience of online payments and deliveries during the pandemic. They are still willing to pay for that convenience post pandemic, or in fact, it has become their default.
2. Think surplus in pricing strategy (i.e., the difference of perceived value and price) to help consumers feel they are getting their money’s worth. The additional volume can lead to more profit so long as there is economies of scale so watch acquisition cost as well. The sequence of product feature priorities may change so be aware if additional bells and whistles can really provide value in product specifications. For example, consumers have been increasingly switching to generic medicines versus branded ones that have been priced too prohibitively.
3. Think of excitement creators (like new products or new promos that can also build the brand) to justify emotional hesitation to buy. For instance, Bounty launched a buy 1 – take 1 promo for their new Hei Hei chicken burger launch.
4. Think of adjusting packaging size that may attract lost customers back to be category users, instead of just lowering price. Instead of not buying, some consumers may settle for less consumption in the meantime. For instance, Coke’s different packaging sizes (like Coke Sakto).
Franchising specialist Sam Christopher Lim shared five tips using the SHIFT acronym to understand the changing franchising and marketing landscape.
1. S – Scalability – This is about a renewed push and focus to create business models that can scale using franchising to enter new cities and even countries tapping other people’s money, time and talent. For instance, Bang Bang Bangus started only in 2020, but now has 100 stores in just two years. Potato Corner sustained its business through international operations, expanding in Singapore, Thailand, Australia, Canada and more.
2. H – Hyperlocal – Go to where the customers are, and make it easy for them to shop. The White Plains area has developed a drive-thru area with Krispy Kreme, Yellow Cab and Turks Shawarma. Other brands created stores on wheels, community stores and even cloud kitchens in new and specific areas to service the market and to test new concepts out.
3. I – Innovation thru collaboration – intensified collaboration or co-branding among the franchise brands has been happening . Examples are Moon Leaf and Potato Corner, Shakey’s and R&B Milk Tea, The Lost Bread and Arce Ice Cream. Even Max’s various brands now share common kitchens and delivery services.
4. F – Flexibility (handling Fear of Commitment) – This means not locking the customers in – making it easy for them to change their minds with more options they can combine and add. Consider flexible working as a start. For instance, airlines/hotels giving ease of rebooking and free cancellations. Brands can offer more generous return policies, and price guarantees. There are also more “slashers” in the field such as Lawyer/Blogger, Writer/Blogger, or more options such as Nomadism vs Owning (leasing cars, renting instead of owning).
5. T – Time – Convenience is a priority over loyalty. Consider Tap Cards (used internationally) and the ease of its payment, communication and shopping channels. It touchless technology that makes customers feel safe while shopping in physical stores.
Channel marketing champion Emilio Macasaet III talked about the three must-have marketing competencies in 2023 as job responsibilities of marketers continue to transform requiring a new set of competencies. (This is known in Mansmith and Fielders as The 3Ds.) These are:
1. Data analytics – This is the ability to frame the right question by analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating data using appropriate techniques and tools. Marketers need to focus more on prescriptive and predictive analytics which have greater value for organizations. Today, most marketers only use descriptive and diagnostic analytics leading to poor insights. As a marketer in the new normal, they should also be data scientist.
2. Discovery – This requires a higher level of cognitive ability and insatiable curiosity. In a risk averse environment, how might firms encourage its people to be more courageous in their quest for insights or new truths? As a competency, discovery is the ability not just to spot data anomalies but also leveraging data to obtain insight as well as foresight. One way to hone this ability is to be mindful and to learn how to ask power questions which often begin with “why or how might we….”
3. Delivery – As a marketer, how might one design a narrative that is memorable, persuasive, and engaging in the midst of clutter? The way marketers design and deliver compelling messages to omni shoppers is a competency in data storytelling. Storytelling is the ability to wrap a story around data using visuals and emotions.
Lastly, I shared the following big picture concepts that should be considered not just in 2023 but in the years ahead.
1. Evaluate the business model. Value proposition is only a part of the marketing mix, which in turn is just part of the offering model. The offering model completes a business model with the inclusion of operating model. It is important not just to have nice marketing creatives but to turn compelling creatives into compelling profitability. This involves looking into a business holistically, including how to scale – testing the effectiveness of the value chain and planning for real and relevant innovation, not merely catching up with competition.
2. Evaluate the revenue model. Ask if your business has a burning platform. The revenue model in the past may not be the same in the future, so consider alternative sources of revenue before your faucet runs dry.
3. Evaluate the core initiatives. Market development and operational efficiency must go hand-in-hand. A boxer always uses both hands going into the ring (imagine boxing with only one hand!). Never be limited with traditional market-driven, brand switching tactics, but look into market-driving strategy targeting underserved and unserved white spaces in the marketplace.
4. Evaluate the key assumptions. Premortem is always an important step to improve plans. Marketplace dynamics may have changed and it would be dangerous to think business as usual. Always challenge your plans, think Plan B and be flexible if change are needed.
5. Evaluate own mindset. Look into exploiting opportunities consistent with your vision, instead of being negative why things won’t work. Behaviors are influenced by thoughts so try to normalize as many activities as possible – – collaborating, socializing, networking, learning, dining, etc. Vision makes a big difference.
These tips can be made permanent in every marketer’s arsenal or tool box, where they become a checklist of things to consider at various points of the business review or during strategic planning. And as we expect the business landscape to continuously evolve, this guide can strengthen your fundamentals, anchor your purpose and focus your sights for future proofing. Expect this list to keep growing.
Josiah Go is chairman and chief innovation strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc.
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