The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the marketing world both in what marketers do – they must cope with seismic shifts in product and service demand – and how marketers do things – restrictions on travel and physical contact have turbo-charged digitisation in the industry.
MarketingPulse Online, a two-day virtual conference organised by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), brought together more than 40 marketing and advertising experts from around the globe to share their creative strategies. They also examined the latest marketing trends under the new normal and shared success stories about digital transformation.
Themed “Marketing for GOOD”, MarketingPulse Online, which ran on 30 and 31 March, examined how companies enhance branding strategies to engage consumers as part of the post-pandemic business recovery. The conference also focused on digital transformation and the impact of new marketing technologies. Speakers came from world-renowned brands including the Alibaba Group, Blue Bottle Coffee, Booking.com, DBS Bank, lululemon, Kuaishou (Magnetic Engine), Mastercard, MTR Corporation Limited, the South China Morning Post, teamLab and Qianxun (Hangzhou) Holding Co.
“With the pandemic reshaping global economies and accelerating digital transformation trends, a platform such as MarketingPulse becomes more important than ever before,” HKTDC Executive Director Margaret Fong said while welcoming international participants to the virtual conference.“From innovation and technology to shifting consumer behaviour and brand-new business models, the marketing and branding industry is now facing significant transformation,” she noted.“This conference provides a platform for global brands, creative minds and service providers to explore partnerships, innovative marketing solutions and business development opportunities.
During a session on the first day of the conference, Bryan Meehan, Executive Chair of Blue Bottle Coffee, described how the United States-based coffee roaster and retailer raises consumers’ awareness regarding various topical issues.
“Blue Bottle has three core values: deliciousness, hospitality and sustainability. One of the beliefs we have at Blue Bottle is a limitless potential of caring. And that word really matters right now. For people in business who are thinking about reopening and how to reposition their brand going forward, I think constant care is really important.” Mr Meehan said.
Guy Kawasaki, an American marketer, author and venture capitalist who previously worked as Chief Evangelist at Apple and Special Advisor to the CEO of the Motorola division at Google, advised on preparing for a digital future and mastering the art of communicating with customers in the new era.
“As a marketing framework, figure out how you can create a product and then convince the world that you have something that is unique and valuable. That explains all of marketing,” said Mr Kawasaki, now Chief Evangelist for Sydney-based graphic design platform Canva.
Marketing and philanthropy
Chris Tung, Chief Marketing Officer, Alibaba Group, named by Forbes as one of the world’s most influential chief marketing officers, led another session, examining how the e-commerce giant has demonstrated the true value of integrating marketing and philanthropy through digitisation, innovation and technology.
With the global tourism industry severely impacted by the pandemic, Arjan Dijk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Booking.com, described how major brands have responded to shifting consumer behaviour under the new normal, predicting marketing trends and tourism development as businesses begin to recover.
In addition, South China Morning Post CEO Gary Liu shared insights on moving a news organisation towards a digital future, exploiting the potential of digital technologies in accelerating innovation, engaging audiences and transforming the foundations of the media business.
On the second day of the conference, Lim Bee, Head of Marketing & Customer Management, Consumer Banking Group (Singapore), DBS Bank, addressed the groundbreaking engagement of the younger generation to connect with digitally native, tech-savvy customers through sharing of compelling and innovative experiences.
With livestreaming e-commerce channels and short-video marketing becoming wildly popular across Mainland China, MarketingPulse Online brought together marketing experts from leading platforms and brands to explain strategies and tricks of the trade to seize the significant opportunities presented by these platforms. The session featured Eray Li, General Manager of Southern China at Kuaishou (Magnetic Engine), and Alves Huang, CEO of Qianxun (Hangzhou) Holding Co, which has been rated the number-one live broadcaster on Taobao over the years.
MarketingPulse Online featured digital marketing workshops hosted by Facebook, iClick, PRIZM Group, Spread-it and Vfluencer which offered practical marketing strategies in areas ranging from social media marketing to big data and livestreaming e-commerce. Also available at the conference was a virtual marketing consulting service provided by local marketing firms, offering participants real-time opportunities for networking and intelligence exchange.