Racheal Lee
Mar 22, 2012

Digital spend by Malaysian brands to go up: Industry players

KUALA LUMPUR - Digital spend by Malaysian brands are expected to go up as more brands are going online, resulting in more impressions being served and more search keywords being purchased, industry players said.

Consumers will spend even more of their time online and will increasingly start multitasking
Consumers will spend even more of their time online and will increasingly start multitasking

Girish Menon, chief executive officer at GroupM Malaysia, noted that consumers will spend even more of their time online and will increasingly start multitasking, including accessing the web while consuming other media like TV or radio.

“Also, they will be connected regardless of the place, time or device. Clearly, the question for brands about digital is not ‘to do or not to do’, but rather ‘how quick can we get there’,” he told Campaign.

He suggested brands to try different digital marketing channels and gather experience, and that the digital adoption should be “top down” instead of “bottom up”, whereby the others in the organisation will follow suit when the leader shows the way.

“Brand should also collect data about the digital services, digital media, consumer behaviour and their attitudes. Possessing such data and information will be the divider between successful and failing brands,” Girish said.

Nicky Lim, CEO at Grey Group Malaysia, meanwhile, suggested that a quarter of the budget should go to digital. He noted that while brands feel that they must be on digital, infrastructure and platforms needed to roll out to engage with the consumers.

“Also, for the generation Y, we must connect with them via digital and a lot of agencies are going for it. As it progresses, digital is not only about banner, but also about connection and business to business communications (B2B),” he said.

A recent research by McKinsey & Co revealed that Malaysian businesses that are online allocate about only 1 per cent of their advertising budget for digital media.

In a separate survey by Nielsen Malaysia, the country's media advertising expenditure (adex) for January Feb ended up with a contraction against the same period last year.

Advertisers spent RM1.414 billion on media space/airtime in the first two months of 2012, declined 1.7 per cent compared to a year ago. Adex on the Internet contributed a mere 0.6 per cent to the overall spending, but it marked a 46.2 per cent increase from the previous year.

Both Menon and Lim said brands in Malaysia are not spending enough in digital, and that they are not responding quick enough when consumers are moving fast into the digital space.

Menon added that while brands are struggling to reconcile with the growing need for consumers to be in control of their brand experience, brands are also lacking knowledge about digital marketing and resources.

“The shift from traditional ‘campaign-based approach’ to a digital ‘always on approach’ is a big hurdle for brands. Many brands do not have the creative content or resources to support an ‘always on’ digital communication strategy,” he said.

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