clientmanagementvn

working towards great client service

Archive for the category “Client Planning”

Human’ Values & Committment

“I was enlightened through precious experiences of the seniors, the light of aspiration, rising up and conquering”

 

In 7 years, Mr. Nguyen Cao Tri, the CEO of Ben Thanh Land – a real estate company has achieved considerable achievements for not only guiding this company but also developing and promoting successfully his biggest project named Riverside Palace. From the company started with only 7 people, Mr. Tri and his colleagues has incessantly determined and contributed to the company. As the company has developed rapidly and transferred to the bigger cooperation, Mr. Tri understands that his team is required to establish a new way to collaborate and interact to each other. The CEO cannot manage everything if the whole cooperation does not think together and think in the same way. His success is to build an organization culture that prioritizes the commitment of employees and cherishing the human’s values. With only 30-minute conversation with Mr. Tri, I was totally convinced by his fervent argument and vision. Here are some precious lessons that I want to share.

Attitude is the most important value.

“There are three factors to value an employee which are knowledge, skills and attitude”, said Mr. Tri. In an interview, a company normally will examine how excellent candidates could be, what they had achieved when they were at universities. However, attitude is the most essential value indeed.  Attitudes influence behavior and can have a huge impact on how much people are committed to and engaged in their jobs (Pearson Canada, 2013). A smart organization will be able to understand the employees’ attitude towards the company and how they put their hearts to the business. Skills can be trained but the attitude!

“Human’s value is the greatest value!”

This message sounds theoretical but that is what Mr. Tri wants to communicate. Human performs the accumulation of experiences throughout time. Human also represents for the knowledge gathering while working in the company. Human is the organization “property”. Human is the trademark. A good employee will make his customers figure out and remember the values that he brings to them. In the perspective of Ben Thanh Land, the company asserts the human is the most valuable element. Nonetheless, Ben Thanh Land does not promote for any specific individuals. While contributing to an organization, there is a requirement of co-ordination, support and team spirit between people. Every person can do his best at one thing and own any particular weakness. To build a cohesive team, the organization needs to distinguish people who will fit best with the company’s values and cultures (Mind Tools, 2013). In addition, the biggest training from the organization providing to the employees is not through any courses but from their daily work. People learn from the specific tasks, from the achievement and from the failures.

CEO’s characteristics and organization culture

Image

Figure 1: Reproduced from maximizesocialmedia, 2012.

To communicate the organization’s values to the employees, there are several ways a leadership could do. In prior to Ben Thanh Land Company, Mr. Tri decides to be the role model for his team by showing how he works everday. The leader needs to perform his attempt to make the colleagues follow and comprehend what their CEO wants from them. Actions speak louder than words. As a CEO, he just cannot speak to supply concrete guidance to the team. The leadership is the one who even has to work harder than most of the people in the company and that is how he communicates the organization’s values to inferiors.

The founder always has a substantial influence on the organization’s trait. His impact to the company can be through characteristics, thinking and performances at work.  Mr. Tri claimed that a CEO can be a trademark symbolizing the company. And sometimes, the product also is the element defining the organization and its leadership. For instance, Apple’s products indicate the creative feature and the pioneer Steve Job. To construct and maintain the organization culture, a good leader needs space to innovate, think, and strategize (Walter, 2013).

However, Cooperate culture is not all about the leadership (Keane & Casul, 2010 & 2012). In relation to the Ben Thanh Land Company, beside the importance of human’s value, the organization’s culture is also about the relationships with partners and clients, the correlation between leaders and inferiors, company’s strategies, vision and mission. Culture is a wide category, which changes throughout the development process.

Cooperate Culture and Employees’ Commitment

Image

Figure 2: Reproduced from caloriaimprove, 2012.

Working is just a part of a human life. In an organization, people are often connected together because of their tasks. Business is merely a trade. People can be satisfied with their work while some are not. The main purpose of these individuals is to earn for living. However, the culture of cooperation is the reason that inspires employees having a strong attachment to the team. Mr. Tri understands this point as trying to create a culture that his colleagues feel conformable with and have a sense of belonging to the company. Talking about business is talking about relationships and a great relationship allows great work to blossom (Solomon, 2008).

Consensus is the secret key value.

Among this competitive market with the open door policy, under any circumstances at any unpredictable time, the consensus of leader and employees will help the company to compete and survive. More than the self-determination of distinctive individuals, the encouragement from the leadership connects and boosts the team to endeavor and overcome hard situations. Moreover, the leadership needs to show their inferiors that how the whole company will go through and portray the team’s future since the leadership’s roles are dealing with changes and setting directions (Kotter, 1990).

Word count: 940

Image

Proof of life taken by Thanh Nha, 2013

Reference:

calorinaimprov 2012, ‘The Commitment Diet – Anyone can do it’, images, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.carolinaimprov.com/2012/02/to-be-successful-at-anything-we-need-to-commit/&gt;

Keane, A & Casul, M 2010 & 2012, ‘Lecture 7 Organization Culture’, course notes for COMM2385 CLIENT MANAGEMENT, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 6 September 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

Kotter, P, J 1990, “What Leaders Really Do”, course note for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Melbourne, viewed 7 August 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

maximizesocialmedia 2012,’ 7 Traits of Highly Successful Social CEO’s!’, images, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://maximizesocialmedia.com/social-media-consulting-7-traits-of-highly-successful-social-ceos&gt;

Mind Tools 2013, ‘Understanding Workplace Values – Finding the Best Cultural Fit’, mindtools, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/understanding-workplace-values.htm&gt;

Pearson Canada 2013, ‘Values, Attitudes, and Their Effects in the Workplace’, pearsoncanada, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.pearsoncanada.ca/media/highered-showcase/multi-product-showcase/showcase-websites-4q-2012/M03_LANG1160_05_SE_C03.pdf&gt;

Solomon, Robert, 2008. The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Walter, E 2013, ‘8 Life And Leadership Lessons From Arianna Huffington’, Forbes, 9 March, viewed 6 September 2013, < http://www.forbes.com/sites/ekaterinawalter/2013/09/03/8-life-and-leadership-lessons-from-arianna-huffington/&gt;

Should we draw the line between global and local clients?

Words by Nguyen Hoang Anh, s3343741

Taking the first step into the office, I was impressed by the colour covering the whole room, which presents exactly the company’s name – ‘red brand builders’. After a long way heading there under the dazzling sunlight, this fire resemblance did overwhelm me a little bit. When my eyes were trying to be familiar with this image, Mrs. Uyen Nguyen – Client Representative Director with more than six-year-experience, appeared, adding extra hotness with her red dress. Honestly, just the fact that I was wearing a blue sweater at that time made me think that it was the sign of us as yin and yang, which is pretty much similar to my intended topic: the juxtaposition of putting global and local clients next to each other. However, when she smiled and started to talk, her gentle voice and intriguing stories are like a sip of water I just drank, cooling down the heat of my anxious flame as well as making me question my own belief toward this topic.

Read more…

Keep calm and be a super Account Manager

“Hey, want me to tell you about the projects I am working on?”, Danh enthusiastically asked. Before I came to the interview, I already printed out a list of questions that I wanted to ask him. But with his offers, the conversation then went in an unexpected way.

Danh Pham is currently the Account Manager at Viet Mai Advertising. He is working on several projects at the same time. Food, award, cars. Just to name a few. Through what he told me, three tips to deal with clients can be woven as follow.

Image

Danh Pham – Account Manager at Viet Mai Advertising
(Photo taken by the author)

“Rule 1, client is always right. Rule 2, if they are wrong, please revisit rule 1.”

Many communication experts said that “Client is always right” or “You can’t say NO to your client’s request” because after all it is the relationship and business that matters (Markert 2007; Solomon 2008). This “theory” seems to be true for Danh. The heading above is his two hilarious rules to deal with clients. Simply put, you cannot frankly say “No” to your client. You should agree on their good side first and give them your suggestions later. This gives you a higher change that clients will listen to you. More importantly, he advised that account people have to know thoroughly about their clients so that they can approach these clients in the right way.

Image

Can you differentiate your instant noodle products from the others?
(Reproduced from Dan Tri 2013)

Danh’s team is working on a TVC for T.H. – an instant noodle brand. Ideas were planned by the client and they only asked Danh’s agency to execute it. The problem is that instant noodle is a saturated market in Vietnam in which every package, flavors and advertisement look the same. Turn the TV on, you probably see happy people eating instant noodle together and saying how delicious and yummy the flavor is. Done! Danh couldn’t fight with the client as they said it was wasteful to plan everything again. Instead, he said: “Your sales can increase up to 100%-200% in the next two months after the TVC is broadcasted. But I want to see it in the long term. So after six months, give me the report”. After a bunch of advice for the brand, the final choice is let them make the mistake first, then they will gain the experience later, Danh sadly acknowledged.

Solomon (2008) advised to always question your advertising before released: Is it boring? Can it catch customers attention? Does it enhance the client’s brand? In the case above, it seems like reality does not always match with theory.

PEOPLE – the most important factor in CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the process to obtain and maintain the mutual relationship between a company and its customers in long term (Marketing Teacher n.d.). Experts state that to initiate CRM, three elements should be applied: people, business process, and technology (Chen & Popovich 2003). Among these three, people is the most important factor to obtain and maintain this service.

In the middle of 2013, Rolls-Royce will officially launch its first store in Hanoi. Viet Mai is pitching with other agencies to win the project. Danh is optimistic that his agency can win as the client already signed the Memories of Understanding contract with only his agency. The client goal is to sell approximately 15 cars in the first year. The reply of Danh was: “What Rolls-Royce needs now is to change the bad perception of Vietnamese. When you can change it, selling your cars is no problem”. For years, Rolls-Royce was negatively captured by the media. People associate it with rich men and women who get involve in corruption and dirty money. Bingo! This extra thing Danh advised the client made his agency stand out: we do not only execute what you gave us, we point out what is good for you.

Image

Rolls-Royce will be available in Vietnam soon.
(Adapted from Rolls-Royce n.d.)

More things to prove that people is important in CRM: Danh pointed out that Vietnam market does not know the real values of Rolls-Royce. Those values lie in the carefully hand-made car bodies with the size designed to fit only its owner (Rolls-Royce n.d.). Danh said he flied back and forth between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City about ten times. The client only required Danh for two meetings. The other times Danh used to socialize with the clients, do market research about Hanoi and the place where first store will be opened. Danh also flied to Hong Kong and Thailand to know about the store conceptualization and decoration. Those extra things establish the Service Excellence which helps winning the client’s heart. Solomon (2008) said “You cannot lead an account from your desk”. So get out, meet people and do your research!

Smart planners needed!

Experts said that you should live your client’s brand to be a good planner (Solomon 2008). They include knowing their history, strengths and weaknesses, what people and the press think and so on. Experts also suggested that client planning should be “client-centric” rather than “agency-centric” (Sebastian 2008). We should plan to grow their business, not ours.

The Rolls-Royce case above somehow reflects this idea. Danh has strategically thought about the long-term benefits for the client. Also, his good aesthetics and analysis skill help to bring a global brand into another local context, as well as point out the differences of Vietnam market that client should be aware of such as the bad perception and unawareness of its values.  After all, global-local adaptation is a crucial factor that many professionals advise every international business to have (McMain 2008).

Danh also shared that one key account of Viet Mai is T.H. automobile distribution. Viet Mai has done about 50 projects for this company and it established a good relationship with T.H. These two companies know each other so well and develop a good level. In planning, trust is important as only if the client trusts your agency, they will listen to your idea. The CEO of T.H., according to Danh, is a very good strategic-oriented person but he is very conservative. “It needs time to build trust and make the client listen to your plans”. Lucky enough, when you can endure your clients, they might become an important key account of your agency. Remember that when they grow, you grow with them!

So what we got now? Always satisfy our client’s needs, Be a service excellence person, and Plan smart. I said goodbye to Danh. A question is still stucked in my head: “Is it against our ethics to do whatever clients want even when we know it’s not good?”

Image

[Proof of Life] Danh and me
Taken by a waitress at Highlands Coffee

Word Count: 1088

Nguyen Phuong Uyen – S3325080

 

References

Chen, IJ & Popovich, K 2003, ‘Understanding customer relationship management (CRM): People, process and technology’, Business Process Management Journal, vol. 9, no. 5, pp. 672-688.

Dan Tri 2013, ‘Vi sao nguoi Han thich an mi goi?’, image, Dan Tri, viewed 12 May 2013, <http://dantri.com.vn/thi-truong/vi-sao-nguoi-han-thich-an-mi-goi-680632.htm>.

Marketing Teacher n.d., ‘Customer Relationship Management’, Marketing Teacher, viewed 12 May 2013, <http://marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/lesson-crm.html#>.

Markert, T 2007, You Can’t Win a Fight with Your Client and 49 Others Rules for Providing Great Service, HarperCollins, New York.

McMains, A 2008, ‘To Compete Locally, Global Brands Must Adapt’, Ad Week, 25 September, viewed 12 May 2013, <http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/compete-locally-global-brands-must-adapt-97049>.

Rolls-Royce n.d., ‘Provenance’, Rolls-Royce, viewed 12 May 2013, <http://pre-owned.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-roycemotorcars/provenance/homepage>.

Rolls-Royce n.d., ‘Provenance’, image, Rolls-Royce, viewed 12 May 2013, <http://pre-owned.rolls-roycemotorcars.com/rolls-roycemotorcars/provenance/homepage>.

Sebastian, T 2008, Tell Your Clients Where To Go! A Practice Guide to Providing Passionate Client Leadership, Infinity Publishing, Pennsylvania.

Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, Kaplan, New York.

Client Planning verdict: Creative Localization versus Selling in Saturated Markets

Interviewed by Pham Hung Hau – s3360661

Illustrations by Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh – s3309990 

In early 2013, Starbucks stirred up Vietnam’s coffee retailing market with its grand entrance. The Seattle-based coffee giant brought with it a yet another massive challenge to the local oligopoly, whose saturation is already troubling the players, most notably Trung Nguyen. Much anticipation heaped up on whether the international agent would strive and if the locals could weave through the increasingly saturated market. While it would take time for the answer to unveil, I am intrigued to make an educated guess on who will struggle more: Starbucks in its localization or Trung Nguyen in their selling effort. This calls for a discursive study of client planning. I was lucky to have come into acquaintance with Ngo Minh Thuan, founder of DNA Digital, in this little quest of mine. Despite my seemingly tactless approach (it’s chronic, ugh) for an interview on this topic, fantastic Mr. Thuan promptly agreed to “inspire” me, personally and professionally.

“I started my career without knowing it would be my career”

Me and Thuan at DNA Digital Office. Proof of life taken by DNA's receptionist.

Me and Thuan at DNA Digital Office. Proof of life taken by DNA’s receptionist.

I and Thuan met in his “violet-ish” office. DNA is not very extensive; there are only twenty-something people. These digital natives, however, are devoted to bettering people’s experience in the spirit of passion and digital craftsmanship. It took us more than ten minutes to “warm up” with Thuan’s journey into the Communication industry. Entering college, young Mr. Thuan studied Web Design and Programming at Ho Chi Minh University of Polytechnic. His first experience with communication was in 2006 when he was involved in a digital campaign for Heineken. Soon after that, he got caught up into understanding what people think, triggering their excitement, and manipulating the ideas. “In a sense, I started my career without knowing that it would be my career.”

Although primarily a creative guy, he was also often involved in dealing with client, making him a well-rounded service provider – working creatively, logically (planning), and socially (client managing). It was therefore convenient for me to consult Thuan on the topic of client planning.

The client planning verdict

Agreeing that it’s hard to deny the importance of client planning, Thuan noted that the autonomy is not always with the agency. Often, the planning comes from the client and the agency’s job is to make additional comments based on acquired customer insights. “Often,” that is.

“I personally prefer working for international brands trying to localize to consulting local brands striving for sales in a saturated market; the ‘often’ is more frequent and in better quality,” said cheeky Thuan.

He later explained that the global clients have a better grip of what they want and keep clearer alignments of the job. Mr. Gary Woollacott (Casul 2012) of Opus Executive Search also shared a similar client service tip: “Do your own hard work.” This, in my opinion, has to go both ways. In order for client planning to effectively play out, the client must have an established self-awareness (vision, objectives, goals, etc.) and, at the same time, leave room for the agency to “play” with their own “hard work” (i.e. giving them problems, not the solutions) (Solomon 2008).

While, at the other end, not many local clients do a good job in this regard. Thuan described his working with a local telecom company as “painful” and “dull:” “They had their own agenda, which was heavily government-based, and left room for neither creativity nor strategic planning.” In other cases, the clients fail to understand their own business. Let’s talk Trung Nguyen.

Now let’s all agree Trung Nguyen is a coffee powerhouse and they don’t need to worry about making money. But as Starbucks has come in, their market share will surely shrink one way or another. When their cash cows can only be so big, they will need to turn to the question marks/problem children (Morrison & Wensley 1991). It, then, comes back to selling in a saturated market.

“The problem with Trung Nguyen is that they are focusing on the wrong lines of product (a ha, SBU!) and making wrong propositions,” said Thuan. He thinks that it’s ineffective to sell “creative coffee” and try to go global when the domestic sale is not yet optimized. “In essence, Trung Nguyen is not taking the right steps.”

For these reasons, Thuan concluded that selling in a saturated market is tougher than localizing a global brand. I second it. Starbucks 1 – 0 Trung Nguyen.

But what are these steps Thuan is talking about? Why is Trung Nguyen making it wrong?

Although a coffee giant, Trung Nguyen will have to turn to their problem children/question marks and "puppies" for sales when their stars start to age and their cows have no more room to grow. Illustration by author.

BCG Matrix: Although a local coffee powerhouse, Trung Nguyen will have to turn to their problem children/question marks and “puppies” for sales when their stars start to age and their cows have no more room to grow. Illustration by Linh Nguyen.

From a theoretical perspective

To answer the above questions, I consulted the Ansoff Matrix, a key point in the scope of client planning (Watts, Cope & Hulme 1998; Keane & Casul 2010). I believe Thuan was referring to this particular market expansion grid.

For Starbucks (and other global brands trying to enter a local market), the steps they take are more or less in a singular sequence: they take existing products to a new market (market development), develop their products to appeal to the local customers (product development), then work towards optimizing sales (market penetration).

Whilst, for local brands like Trung Nguyen, they have two route options to choose from. Starting with the existing market and products, they can either choose to develop their products or acquire a new market with what they already have.  It’s not always good to have options; you can either go with the wrong one, or cannot choose and go with both (what Trung Nguyen does). Even when you choose the right one, there’s doubt that prevents you from fully committing to your choice (Curry, Ringland & Young 2006). This predicament is popular in many markets and thus is highly possible for Trung Nguyen to be caught up into. The predicament also means a more challenging job for the agency when planning, for the client’s preferred route may not be the best one (Solomon 2008). To add, as Thuan noted, it’s hard to go against the client’s agenda, especially local ones.

Starbucks 2 – 0 Trung Nguyen.

Global brands (Batsy) have a singular path, while local players like Trung Nguyen (Spidey) have to choose from two route options.

Global brands (Batsy) have a singular path, while local players like Trung Nguyen (Spidey) have to choose from two route options in the Ansoff Matrix, which may complicate the planning task. Illustration by Linh Nguyen.

Concluding remarks

All that being said (and scores kept), it is not yet possible to definitively answer whether it is harder to localize global products or to sell in saturated markets. Based on Thuan’s sharing and contextualizing from theories, it is predictable that it is more of a challenge for the agencies to help local clients to strive in saturated markets. This is due to the local client’s lack of self-awareness, failure in prioritizing their SBUs, and dilemma in choosing the right step in their market expansion quest. As agencies, we can only help them with the last two problems, given their collaboration.

What would you suggest if you are to do a strategic planning for Trung Nguyen?

Word count: 1,109

References

Casul, M 2012, Work Prep for Client Service Managers, video recording, viewed 10 May 2013, < http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEtCRTnFh2c&feature=share&list=PLffF0z7scp3wothQixoO0p0tCnz_nJsad>.

Curry, A, Ringland, G & Young, L 2006, ‘Using scenarios to improve marketing’, Strategy & Leadership, vol. 34, issue 6, pp. 30-37.

Keane, A & Casul, M 2010, ‘Client Planning’, course notes for COMM2384 Client Management, RMIT University, Ho Chi Minh, viewed 9 May 2013, Blackboard@RMIT.

Morrison, A & Wensley, R 1991, ‘Boxing up or Boxed in?: A Short History of the Boston Consulting Group Share/Growth Matrix’, Journal of Marketing Management, vol. 7, issue 2, pp. 105-129.

Solomon, R 2008, The Art of Client Service, Kaplan Publishing, New York.

Watts, G, Cope, J & Hulme, M 1998, ‘Ansoff’s Matrix, pain and gain: Growth strategies and adaptive learning among small food producers’, International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol. 4, issue 2, pp. 101-111.

Advertising agency, do I need them? From the point of view of a small business

“I’m still stuck in the traffic jam. Will be there in 10 minutes”, Christina texted to me after I sent her a message about my arrival in her store on Pasteur Street. Wandering in Ipa-Nima store, my eyes were totally attracted by this brochure placed on the receptionist desk. I approached the receptionist to ask about the brochure and acknowledged that this actually belongs to the advertising postcards of the new collection of Ipa Nima namely the Gatsby Glamorous.

Image

One picture in the Gatsby Glamorous Photo shoot, reproduced from Ipa Nima’s Facebook page (I wish I remembered to bring the one that I saw in store to took photo and posted here)

“I’m so sorry to let you wait so long, Khanh”, Christina came in with a warm smile. After a few greetings, I took the brochure I had just seen and followed Christina to her office. Right after sitting down, I took the brochure out and questioned Christina which advertising agency did this postcards for them since I could not hold my curiosity any more. Surprisingly, “actually we didn’t hire any agency to do advertising for us. It’s our own idea to advertise for this new collection”, Christina gently answered. Suddenly, questions about advertising direction for a small business is full of my mind and it soon became the main topic in my interview with Mrs. Christina Yu, Creative Director from Ipa-Nima.

Is advertising on magazine is really effective for small fashion brand?

Showing my curiosity towards advertising tools used by Ipa-Nima, Christina paused in a moment and said “Actually, in terms of advertising for new collection, I usually hire professional photographers and models to do a photo shoot, then pitch the editors of some fashion magazines to get a publish page.” Normally, after doing the photo shoot, Christina would make these photos on postcards, point-of-sale artworks in her shops and send to their customers in order to enable them have visual experience towards the concept of the new collection.  According to Vaccaro & Kassaye (1988), advertising on newspaper or magazine is considered as the greatest advertising expenditure to most small retail business. Nevertheless, when sharing her thoughts relating using this advertising tool, Christina actually showed her doubt towards the effectiveness of that tool. When open a magazine, you normally see hundreds of advertisements of various brands and when reading the magazine, readers tend to skip through the advertisement pages so it’s really difficult to attract the attention of our target audience even if our ideas used to advertise for new collection is great. Adding to her perception about advertising on magazine, Christina explained that to most Vietnamese magazines, they really concern about who they advertise on their magazines so choosing models to present my products is extremely important.

Christina strongly believes that opening an in-store event is a more effective way to advertise for my collections because customers have chance to have actual experience towards my collection. Additionally, Christina also prefers to promote for her brand by using one of the phenomenon in advertising, which is social media. If you buy my bag and you really like it then you tell your friend on Facebook of how much you love it as well as the recommendations for my friends to visit the store. That would be an effective personal communication level.

Image

Mrs. Christina Yu at the launch of Gatsby Glamorous Collection 2013, reproduced from Ipa Nima’s Facebook

Hiring an advertising agency: is it a NEED?

Yes. I think hiring an agency to do an advertising plan is such a great ideas, at least for corporate companies or business that opens around 40 to 50 stores globally. Unfortunately, Ipa-Nima is still a small business and I don’t think hiring advertisers is feasible for my brand at this time. Asking for further reasons why she thought hiring advertising agency is not necessary, Christina shared with me her experience when working with an agency once. Although having no experience in working with Vietnamese agencies, Christina used to hire an agency to advertise for her collection in Japan and USA. After working with them, she realized what they did actually could be done by employees in her company. Being more specific, they represent for my company to pitch ideas of our photo shoot to the editors, approach event organizers to have a showcase for our new collection. Ultimately, she figured out that hiring advertisers might not make any significant influence towards decision of magazine editors or event organizers whether they accept her advertisement for the new collection published on magazines. She added to her point that her employees can win an acceptance of the editors if they effectively utilized people in their network. More importantly, for small fashion business as Ipa-Nima, there is no need for too many advertising activities to hire advertising agency. Even though magazine advertising is not effective as she supposes, however, it is actually the mainstream advertising tool for her business.

Since Ipa-Nima is still a small business, which does not allow the company to allocate staffs into different department so basically, my Sale Manager is in charge of both boosting sale and preparing promotional activities when launching new collection so sometimes I seriously consider hiring an agency to help her with advertising and marketing stuffs unless the expenditure on hiring them is less expensive. Relating to financial issues of small business in desire of hiring an agency, Cookson (2013) declares that some agencies tend not to prefer signing contract with small business. He explains that lower financial investment from small business might be the core reason why big agencies unlikely to work with them. Cookson suggests that working with marketing consultant is also a great idea than working with advertising agencies.

After all, Christina admitted that she did hire an agency to do branding for Ipa-Nima because developing brand is indeed a complex task that requires deep research about phenomenon in the industry (Magloff 2013). For any fashion-related business, branding is an extremely activity to position your brand in customer’s mind as well as in the market. Normally, branding is no need to happen every year but after each 3 to 4 year, updating brand image is necessary. Although Christina provided several reasons of not necessary to work with advertising agency, however, branding is not an easy thing that any small business can do effectively. For that reason, she has to ask for support from advertising agency to ensure the process is run smoothly and effectively.

Image

(Mrs. Christina Yu and me, taken by her staff)

Word count: 1094

Author: Do Huynh Phuong Khanh – s3324406

References

Cookson, P 2013, “Advertising agency for small business”, Ad Army Group, viewed 12th May 2013, < http://www.hirethebestmarketingconsultant.com/advertising-business.php>.

Magloff, L 2013, “The advantages of using an advertising agency”, Houston Chronicle, viewed 12th May 2013, < http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-using-advertising-agency-3596.html >.

Vaccaro, J.P & Kassaye, W.W 1988, “Increasing the advertising effectiveness of small retail business”, Entrepreneur: Practice & Theory, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 41 – 47.

Compromising on creativity in the creative industry: A dilemma

Advertising is an industry driven by creativity; and therefore the central point of each and every advertising campaign, as well as the client – agency relationship, is creativity (Sullivan 1998). Communications professionals are often called shortly as “creatives”. Creativity, in a sense, is not simply a tool to serve the clients’ needs but also a construct of the creatives’ identities. Ironically, more than often, clients are afraid to take risks in truly creative ideas and urge the agency to safer and more conventional alternatives. This dilemma easily discourages the young and enthusiastic new comers of the communications industry.

In a recent interview, Hung Goon, who currently works as the Business Director of Account Management of OgilvyOne Vietnam, had kindly shared his thoughts on the issue to dear readers of Client Management VN Magazine.

Figure 1.

Differences in perceptions about creativity

The reason that many agencies have to compromise their creative ideas roots in the clients’ and agencies’ different perspectives on creativity.

As a senior account manager elegantly remarks, ‘advertising is that lovely area where art and business rub up against each other’ (Hackley 2000), there are fundamentally different streams of thoughts regarding creativity coming from two sides. Whereas creatives usually think of creativity as a spontaneous process with intuitive thinking and its originality value, clients think of it as a more structured process with analytical thinking and its effectiveness value (Mitchell 1984). As a result, while the creatives hope to achieve originality with the works and thus tend to be more willing to take risks, clients hope to gain effectiveness and thus are in favor of safe and conventional choices. Goon indicated that there is no right and wrong in such thoughts and whether spending the time to argue with the client and possibly damage the relationship or to cooperate and seek for the common solution for those different thoughts is entirely our choice.

Figure 2. Adapted from DaveCharest.com n.d., Forbes.com 2012

It is a cliché in client – agency relationships that while clients usually regard the creatives as too “artsy-fartsy” and knowing nothing about business, the creatives believe that a business could never understand creativity and advertising. Goon, however, disagreed with this idea and stated that: 1/ “creatives are expected to know business to do their best” and 2/ “everybody is creative at something and at certain levels”. According to Goon, whereas business may not be the creatives’ expertise, account managers, who stand between the client and the agency, have the responsibility to inform and encourage creatives to learn about business. Furthermore, he explained that while some people are creative in communications, others are creative with numbers and money and business models. Thus, account managers’ job is to educate both parties about each other, and be a bridge to connect what the creatives know about advertising with what clients know about business to work out the best solutions to a common goal.

Creativity in spite of the clients, or because of them?

According to a study of senior copywriters working in New York City with at least 17 years of experience in the industry, most of the creatives think that they achieved creative excellence despite the clients, rather than because of them (Hackley & Kover 2007). Goon appeared to be very surprised of this information and how much he hoped for a change in such perspective in the creative industry. As stated above, Goon believed the cooperation between clients and agencies to be extremely significant not only for the relationship of two sides but also for professional communicators to achieve their goals of creativity.

“Feedbacks are good, and don’t let them be the obstacles in your way to be creative, let them be the ladder […] let them be the wings”, Goon said. He indicated that agencies’ level of creative freedom and autonomy is totally a negotiable factor if creatives know how to listen and understand the ideas of clients. Instead of stating their creative ideas are good, agencies should actively ask the clients why they shy away from unconventional ideas. The revelation of the clients’ reasons in such situation can be tremendously helpful insights for further improvement of the campaign. Clients disapprove creative ideas for a reason; the job of the agency is to know that reason and work on it, instead of thinking negatively about the clients.

Figure 3. Adapted from Discover Education n.d.; Personal Trainers n.d.

Further engaging the clients into agencies’ creative process does not necessarily mean further compromising the creativity. Instead, Goon suggested agencies use the creative working process as an opportunity to educate clients to take reasonable risks in communications campaigns and to not judge them through traditional measures such as sales figures or audience reach.

A walk-away level of creative freedom, should we or should we not?

Despite many advices above, one can raise the question that whether they are all too good a scenario as clients are not always willing to cooperate. What would happen then, and should agencies set a walk-away line to protect their creative integrity, like they do with the budget to ensure profit?

Goon seemed suspicious with the idea, stating that ‘creativity is a too vague field to easily put a straight line on like we do with money’. An agency can know with what amount of money they can make make profit, whereas to satisfy the level of creative freedom for the entire agency’s creatives is a much harder task. Therefore, Goon suggested to not having a fixed line, as creative projects are not always available in the industry.

Conclusion

Compromising on creativity is not unavoidable as agencies can work their way to achieve their goals of creativity while still satisfying the clients’ needs. Account managers, as the liaisons in the relationship, play a very significant role. They need to inform creatives the business side of advertising and inform clients the trustworthy expertise of creatives, and act as a bridge to connect these parties. Furthermore, they need to perceive feedbacks from clients as guidance instead of obstacles, and educate clients how to take risks in creative campaigns. In other words, good account managers guide the agency to achieve creative goals thanks to the clients, not in spite of them.

However, in the worst cases where clients are not willing to cooperate, whether a walk-away line of creative freedom should be drawn is debatable, although Goon stated that we shouldn’t. I believe it is a professional ethic for creatives to produce creative and original works and it is arguable whether an agency should work in restricted creative frame because of the lack of other works.

HO HUU HUY – s3324401

Word Count: 1094 words

References

DaveCharest n.d., ‘Creativity’, image, davecharest.com, viewed 03 September 2012, <http://davecharest.com/unlock-your-creativity>

Discovery Education n.d., ‘Stop sign’, Discovery Education, viewed 03 September 2012, <http://school.discoveryeducation.com/clipart/clip/stopsign.html&gt;

Forbes 2012, ‘Money Bag’, image, Forbes, 11 July, viewed 03 September 2012, <http://www.forbes.com/sites/helaineolen/2012/07/11/bad-advice-on-how-to-handle-money-marriage-and-sex/&gt;

Hackley, C 2000, ‘Silent running: tacit, discursive and psychological aspects of management in a top UK advertising agency’, British Journal of Management, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 239–254

Hackley, C and Kover, A 2007, ‘The Trouble With Creatives: Negotiating Creative Identity in Advertising Agencies’, International Journal of Advertising, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 63-78

Michell, P 1984, ‘Accord and Discord in Agency – Client Perceptions of Creativity’, Journal of Advertising Research, Vol. 24, Issue 5, pp. 9-24

Personal Trainers n.d., ‘Ladder climbing’, Personal Trainers websites, viewed 03 September 2012, <http://www.personal-trainer-websites.com/images/Climbing-to-success.jpg&gt;

Sullivan, L 1998, Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This! A Guide to Creating Great Ads, Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

Soft rain penetrates the Earth better than a storm

Having a comfortable and friendly lunch with Mr. Nguyen Duc Quang, an account supervisor of Biz-Eyes Public Relations, a whole new world of PR practices in reality was exposed.

This young man has nearly four years experiencing in PR industry and he is now working for Biz-Eyes Public Relations, one of five specialized companies belong to SQUARE Direct Communication Group that could be seen as an ideal one-stop shop for every brand. Besides their two biggest clients Samsung and Coca Cola, the agency is a trusted partner of various well-known brands such as Honda, Tiger, Colgate and Dutch Lady. They also have run many outstanding concerts and events in Vietnam like Sound Fest and Rock Storm.

Helping clients to get success in a new profitable market is always the desire of every PR team. Since many powerful existing players out there are trying to create barriers to prevent newcomers from being developed in the market, the dream seems not easy to become true (Pehrsson 2009). Discussing three strategies of Bryce and Dyer (2007) and their combinations that help to crack new markets in Vietnam, Mr. Quang agreed those are very helpful, but besides entry barriers, other external factors such as Vietnamese cultures can also hinder new ventures. To clarify, he took a campaign done by his agency named Aivayta that promote Real Leaf of Coca Cola in the Vietnamese ready-to-drink (RTD) tea market. Although the campaign applied a combination of Leverage existing assets and Reconfigure value chains, the outcome was not so glorious as Real Leaf still lags behind other leading players such as Zero Degree green tea and Dr. Thanh. “Aivayta did create a great viral buzz, but it wasn’t effective in increasing sales,” stated Mr. Quang, then he points out some reasons that negatively affected the campaign.

At the first view, Coca Cola is an international giant with great reputation and possesses huge experiences in the beverage field. To produce Real Leaf, they leverage their partner Nestea’s brand recognition, know-how in design and manufacturing of RTD tea products. For those reasons, the agency hopefully expected to help this big client create a big pump that gain considerable potential customers from the market share leaders. But since the “Vietnamese people use Vietnamese products” campaign has been spread out, the number of customers perceiving Vietnamese brands as good as foreign brands increases up to 58% (TNS 2011). “This could be good news for us as the Vietnamese, but not for us as an agency working for an international brand,” he laughed. “In fact, this caused a big obstacle for Real Leaf to enter the Vietnam market and compete with other local products.”

On the other hand, his agency added more value by creating the Tea Master as a representative for Real Leaf and letting him get caught in various public places. As a result, the campaign provoked curiosity among the public and soon became a hot topic on social media channels. The product did differ from those of incumbents the way delivering value to customers. Unfortunately, “the Vietnamese’s buying behaviors are mostly conservative”, as 65% of them would try new brands but then still stick to their favorite (Nielsen 2010). “Most of the Vietnamese tend to assume their consuming products are already the best so that it is tough for us to make our client’s brand become the top of mind,” he claims. Furthermore, since inflation has been recently growing, consumer confidence faced uncertainty in purchasing decisions that they are unwilling to buy and try unnecessary or new items (Nielsen 2011). As a result, even though the campaign has been successful in reconfiguring value chains, during this phase, it is difficult for Real Leaf to break through the RTD tea market in Vietnam.

The last strategy that was not applied in the case is establishing a niches. To explain, Vietnamese people are becoming more conscious about personal health that lead to higher demands of natural and healthy drinks rather than RTD tea (Cimigo 2010). Therefore, the magnitude of market share in the RTD tea industry is being lessened. If Real Leaf aims to fringe segments, they probably could not gain the expected sales.

“Also, creating niches for Real Leaf means only attract to some customers, isn’t it a too humble strategy for the world’s top brand like Coke?.”

Apparently, the barriers of this campaign were not entirely coming from the incumbents but the Vietnamese cultures and contexts. “In this case, it would be better if we executed a continuous strategy with more events and increase frequency in approaching the target public through media channels.” Mr. Quang advised. “Yep… soft rain penetrates the Earth better than a storm, especially when foreign brands enter a new market.” More importantly, as 90% of Vietnamese people would open to products having better quality even it is more expensive (TNS 2011), he believes the campaign could be run more effectively if there were more efforts and improvements that fit to the Vietnamese’s characteristics. “Along with the strategies, focusing on the product’s quality and flavors suitable for Vietnamese customers are also important tasks to attract more customers,” he assured.

After all, to help the client enter a new market, besides considering client’s advantages to select the right strategies, Mr. Quang suggests a client manager should carefully research and match the client’s and the market’s cultures, especially when they are foreign companies, to make customers more familiar to the brand and then gradually gain them from existing players in the long run. “A client manager should have deep understanding of marketing and media options to recommend clients the best strategy for their business, and also be able to give them helpful advice whenever there comes a problem,” he states. “If the campaign brings out positive results, we can become their trusted partner and the agency-client relationship will be strongly enhanced.”

Mr. Quang has provided many valuable experiences for freshmen in PR industry as well as students who will be working as a client manager in the future.

Word count: 1000

References

Bryce, DJ & Dyer, JH 2007, ‘Strategies to crack well-guarded markets’, Harvard Business Review, pp. 84-92.

Cimigo 2010, Understanding Vietnamese consumers’ healthy choice, Cimigo, viewed 31 August 2012.

Nielsen 2010, Vietnam Grocery Report, The Nielsen Company, viewed 29 August 2012.

Nielsen 2011, Vietnam Grocery Report, The Nielsen Company, viewed 30 August 2012.

Pehrsson, A 2009, ‘Barriers to entry and market strategy: a literature review and a proposed model’, European Business Review, vol. 21, no. 1, pp. 64-77.

TNS 2011, Too Franchise or not too Franchise?, TNS, viewed 31 August 2012.

Agency-Client WOW Relationship

Read on for highlights of guest lecturer Danreb Cartagena Mejia’s talk on ‘The Importance of PR Planning from agency and client perspective.’

Meet Dan. One time journalist from Manila, turned PR practitioner in two of the most respected agencies in Vietnam, and now working on the other side of the pond as the Marketing Director of ACFC Vietnam, the top fashion retailer in the country with brands such as GAP, Calvin Klein, Diesel, Tommy Hilfiger and Nike. 

Last July 10, 2012 Dan visited the halls of RMIT University Vietnam to share with the current crop of client management students universal secrets in the practice of public relations in Vietnam from both sides of the client-agency relationship dichotomy. “I enjoy both,” he quipped when asked which role he preferred.

Image

“I enjoy both.” Dan on working in the agency or client side.

When it comes to one’s career, Dan recommends working in an agency first before becoming a client. “Agency gives you the implementation experience. You will know the network, and as a client you know what is happening, you understand what is going to be more realistic, what the real budget is.” 

Because he used to work for the agency side, he knows the tricks of the trade, and uses it to make better negotiations.

Because of his agency skills, Dan seems to take on the role of an all powerful, ideal client. Perceived by most as having the upper hand in this relationship as agencies take the usual role of seeking approval with every PR strategy and tactic they come-up with. How then can a WOW relationship be achieved with this unequal footing?

Dan, talks about the importance of the Way Of Working. 

“You need to know what each side wants. What each side perceives as important, what is valuable to them.” At the end of the day, keeping in mind that both sides want the same thing can result in the WOW factor.

Image

Source: Dan Mejia guest lecture slides, July 10, 2012
presented at RMIT University Vietnam.



That’s easy then, because both agency and client want the same output in PR… quantity and quality. Whether its using push or pull to educate the public about your brand or campaign, getting a return on investment (ROI) is what matters.

Image

The trends in PR for 2012- “its all about adaptability.”

Dan’s recent business trip to London gave him insights on the top 5 emerging trends in PR for 2012 (and beyond). This he suggests can be one of the ways both agency and client can work towards their common goal of achieving PR quantity and quality in these tough economic times. 

“The new public relations is about understanding relationships between people, what people want and need from these relationships, and how they form, sustain, and use communities of interest.”



But when it comes down to it, Dan posits that “An agency is only as good as its client.”

Yet there is something that can be added to this point of view, and I would like to make this suggestion, that… Agencies should help make their clients better. 

What are some of the ways agencies can educate clients? Hidden among the bullets in Dan’s presentation slides is one of the current challenges in public relations in Vietnam… “it is the agency’s task to educate client and raise the bar of PR Ethics even if the client emphasizes its own policies.”



Now that, in any perspective is a great result and will definitely create a WOW! in achieving a great agency-client working relationship in the public relations industry in Vietnam and beyond.

As future client managers, in what other aspects can we help make clients ‘better’? What are some of the issues a client need to know more about? How can we have a WOW relationship with our clients? Share your thoughts, by  replying to this post.

~Mel C

To connect with Dan and know more about the exciting PR possibilities in Vietnam’s growing fashion landscape please send a message via:

FACEBOOK.COM/ACFCVIETNAM
FACEBOOK.COM/NIKEVIETNAM
@danrebcmejia danreb.mejia@imexpan.net

Managing Client expectations – an art of communication

‘Managing client expectation is not only a work, but also a kind of  ‘art’ for people in communication industry to perform their skills’

Nguyen Tien Anh is a 24-year-old man who is working as an account executive for Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam – one of the global leading advertising agency networks. The meeting with him provides me some interesting tips in managing client expectation that I haven’t learn before.

Nguyen Tien Anh – Account Executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam

University teaches you that there is a need to manage the clients’ expectations from the outset; however, what does it exactly work and what are some of the actual ways that the account executive should know to apply for managing their clients’ expectation? This is clearly to understand that in all industry, the client always want to have the BEST products and of course, they do not want to be disappointed in the final products that the agencies give them.

Once you present to them a wonderful ideas and then your final products make them disappointed, you fail to keep the relationship with that client. Nobody wants to pay for what doesn’t make them satisfied at all’, Nguyen Tien Anh said in the intervie

Horowitz (2012) also states the same point: ‘If we don’t do an adequate job of managing expectations, we set ourselves up for a failed relationship. We fail to build trust’. Moreover, in some situations, the clients might claims seriously at the agency and the agency would have negative impact on its reputation.

 

 Figure 1. Reproduced from Project Management Tips

           In the interview with Nguyen Tien Anh, he states that the account team plays a key role in managing clients expectation and the more the account team plans carefully to do that, the better the relationship with clients is. The job of an agency is to always bring the BEST ideas for their clients and wants the client to expect on their quality of work. The first expectations are the one that a potential client first brings to you when they are considering hiring your firm to take on the project (Kelleron 2012; Horowitz 2012). However, there are thousands of reasons affect the process when ideas turning to the final products, and as a results, the final ones are usually not like the same with the client’s expectation at the beginning. If we are not carefully in communicating with the clients, the end goals might not correct and attainable. Mr Nguyen Tien Anh suggested some ways to limit disappointment of the clients for something that has to be happened in reality

          Firstly, building a good relationship with your clients

          There is nothing better than you understand clearly what your clients WANT and NEED. Actually what clients need are different from what they want, and your job is to give them something that fits their actual need. It’s a way to reduce the high expectation of what they want and brings them realistic ideas. Therefore, face to face meeting is necessary to build up a closer relationship with your clients. The more you keep contact with them, the easier you are when helping them engage in the process of the campaign. Many clients are not sure about what they want to accomplish or not good at delivering the ideas. Therefore, that’s the time for you to be a good listener and catch exactly the key message. Olguin (2012) also suggest the similar idea of being a good listener to manage client expectation

Figure 2 – Reproduced from American Financial Partners

         Make the clients directly participate in every step of the process

          The disappointment of clients will be extremely high if they do not engage in the process. Nguyen Tien Anh states that making the clients to actually participate in the process would make them understand more about the difficulties of doing the process and it can make the clients feel that the agency works with transparency. By showing them clearly how each step goes, the clients can give us feedback and what they want to change to make things more appropriately and practically so we can improve it. This suggestion of Tien Anh is quite similar to the suggestion of Solomon (2008): ‘make your clients understand how you approach a given assignment; what the steps are and what the agency will deliver at each step’. However, Tien Anh provides me deeper explanation of what we should do to help the clients know clearly what is going on. Whenever every step of the process is done, contact the clients immediately and show his/her what this step looks like. Then, ask his/her for a signature to approve for this step. The clients are the people who give out decision for every part of conducting the campaigns/products. Moreover, we have to contact the clients when any problem happens, say sorry first, and then give them advice/solution for that problem.

 “Everything needs approvals of the clients, even from the color to the material of the costume. Everything!”

 Olguin (2012) also suggest a similar tip for managing client expectation: regularly communicate and address problems directly:When communication is direct and transparent, trust forms and helps to create a foundation for long-lasting relationships’

          Lastly, turning everything into contract

Figure 3 – Reproduced from Carib Flyer

         This is one of the most important steps to prevent the agency from clamming and unexpected situation. For every product/campaign, there are lots of times the clients want to add/delete some parts. They might want something yesterday, but they want something else today and then they ask us to change into another thing tomorrow. This is a very normal ‘need’ of the clients; however, there are also some situations that the clients do not remember what they told the agency. After that, they claim the agency for doing what they do not say and this might lead to an increase in disappointment with the final products. Including everything in the contract is a solution and a safe way for the agency to ‘protects’ themselves and makes everything more clearly for the clients to remember.

There are still many other tips to help manage client expectation and that depends on each situation. The three tips Nguyen Tien Anh gave me is the common ones that are very effective for big agencies, especially when working on big projects. An account executive is not only a person that clients hire, but also a friend who can understand the clients’ need and always be beside to help them solve the problem.

Word Count: 1085

 

ABOUT: Nguyen Tien Anh has worked as an Account Executive of Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam for nearly one year. He used to study Bachelor of Commerce and MBA in RMIT Vietnam Saigon South Campus and has just graduated at the beginning of 2011. As a very active and creative person, he used to work for VAA Production – a company of the famous Vietnamese actress Ngo Thanh Van, which trains talented people and helps them to ‘bright’. At that time, he nearly finished his bachelor of commerce and he planned to study more to upgrade his knowledge. Therefore, he stopped working in VAA and started his master of business administration program. After graduating, he worked for Ogilvy – a very famous advertising agency for half year and then moved to Saatchi & Saatchi Vietnam. Saatchi & Saatchi is a global advertising agency network with 140 offices in 80 countries and over 6,500 staff. It was founded in London in 1970 but now headquartered in New York City.

References

Horowitz, A 2012, ‘Managing clients expectations’, Journal of Financial Planning, January-February, pp .6-7

Kelleron, B 2012, ‘Tips for managing your client’s expectations, Kitchen & Bath Design News, March, Vol.30, Issue 3, p.30

Olguin, M 2012, ‘6 Tips to managing client expectations’, Small business ideas and resources for Entrepreneurs, 7 May, viewed 9 May 2012, <http://www.inc.com/michael-olguin/6-tips-to-managing-client-expectations.html&gt;

Solomon, R 2008, The art of client service, Kaplan, Newyork

 

Name: Dang Thanh Thao

Student’s ID: S3298804

The effectiveness of advertising – How to demonstrate it to client?

Checking the effectiveness of advertising is an extremely important issue. The cost of advertising is often very large. In the same way, the 30-second commercials on television that cost tens of million, or just a quarter page color print of a newspaper published nationally and can cost up to several million. Hence, the enterprises as well as the “investors” need to know the ROI for their advertising to measure in some ways.

According to Zyman (1999), he asserted that the measurement of advertising effectiveness is a difficult job, but not so that people give up. Also, the author indicated that the market research companies as well as some consultants with a reputation around the world have proposed different measures to determine the most accurate close to the effectiveness of advertising.

There are a number of different models for measuring advertising effectiveness (Belch & Belch 2009). It is difficult to accurately measure the effectiveness of a particular advertisement, because it is affected by such things as the amount and type of prior advertising, consumer brand awareness, the placement of the advertising and a range of things about the product itself, such as price and even the ability of the target audience to remember (Belch & Belch 2009).

Miss. Tran Nguyen Kieu My (Account executive) who worked at VBC channel for 2 years with many experiences in term of maintaining good relationships with current clients, looking for potential clients and so on. In early 2012 until now, she takes the new role of media planner at Fifth iMedia which is a one-stop leading digital marketing solution and service provider in Viet Nam covering both the internet and mobile media and their convergence as a main media for both consumers and marketers. To figure out the answer, I had a short conversation with Miss. My and learned many practical experiences through her sharing.

Tran Nguyen Kieu My- Media Planner- Fifth iMedia Vietnam

The clients always care about the result of their advertising investment, so how do you deal with this tough question from clients?The effectiveness of advertising can be evaluated under a variety of different angles” said Miss. My. Also she added to this point that the judgments of the advertising itself that advertisers can use a number of factors: the level of advertising in mind of the audience, the percentage of the audience understanding the meaning of the ad. Additionally, these factors can be used for many different media (newspapers, radio, TV and so on). They can be measured directly by personal interview or a focus group interview. Nevertheless, these elements have the disadvantage that it does not reflect the cost for advertising. With regard to an investor, investment issues are effectively tied to the amount of investment that they spend.

Is there any basic formula to show the index as the client’s requirement?To assess the cost effectiveness for advertising, we can use the index cost per thousand, cost per point”, said My. Also, she clarify her statement that cost per thousand for advertisers know how much to spend money to advertise to gain exposure to 1,000 people, while the cost of a point helps advertisers know how much cost for the an overall review score of the ad (general point rating: GPR = average range x average sample frequency of advertising media).

On the perspective of new media, it is quite different to the traditional media. Miss. My was willing to share that for advertising on the Internet, due to the technical support to the determination of the effectiveness of advertising is more favorable. Such people can know the exact number of people interested in and click on the ads, which can calculate the cost for a customer clicks.

On the other hand, many clients perceived that the effectiveness of advertising needs to be judged by sales, with profits of the company’s achievement. How do you deal with this situation? “Indeed, with the statement mentioned above, advertisers and marketing researchers cannot entirely satisfy the requirements of this type of client”, said My. In addition, she revealed that an advertisement may achieve of interest and the public mind, but it is not necessarily effective in terms of sales and profits. Conversely, there are unfavourite advertisements missing meaning and aesthetic but it can bring the opposite effect, increasing the sales of the company. Similarly, a low-cost advertising does not guarantee that it will bring higher profits.

And how does this issue being resolved? Miss. My shares that after each campaign, people often review sales before and after the advertising, and this is the most basic steps. But it’s not entirely accurate, because actually there are many factors that impact on sales of the company, not just advertising. Miss. My added to this point that many marketers took the mistake that the channel will only play a small role in the success or failure of marketing for a new product. For example, the Vietnam consumer market is completely different from developed countries, with hundreds of thousands of shops for distribution from urban to rural where always meet the daily needs of consumers. So, the system stores nearby are playing a large proportion of the entire distribution system of Vietnam’s market. Therefore, the distribution channels play a particularly important role in the success of every business in Vietnam.

Return the arising issue that has made, the effect of advertising that are required to be present at the margins or not?Actually an advertisement does not necessarily aim is to increase sales or increase profits, and thus its effectiveness is not necessarily reflected in profits”, said My. Additionally, whether the ultimate goal of marketing is to promote business activity and profits, the activities of marketing, including advertising, in each particular stage is not necessarily profitable. Furthermore, she brought the point that stage of launching new products to market, the company aims to gain the brand awareness of products from many targeted customers.  Hence, the company’s goal is to make advertising more customers know about the products. Advertising clearly is considered effective if it can reach more customers and make more customers know and remember the product.

To conclude, Miss. My claimed that “We hope that Vietnamese enterprises before each advertising campaign for their business, please pay more attention to the objectives of that campaign so that we can better appreciate the effectiveness of advertising. Additionally, identifying how the advertising expenses aim for, the agency can avoid complaining about the expensive cost of advertising from its clients.

Word count: 1,082

Ho Chi Minh, 11 May 2012

Posted by Nguyen Vo Minh Nguyen

 

References:

Belch GE & Belch MA 2009, ‘Advertising and Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective’, 8th edn, the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Zyman S 1999, ‘The End of Marketing As We Know It’, BusinessSummaries, viewed 5 May 2012, < http://www.bizsum.com >.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: