Don't let the medium drown your marketing strategy

By Lawrence Chia

Hong Kong is a paradise for digital marketers. In the past few years, incredible technological strides have been made in inbound marketing, social media, and mobile advertising. These are new key trends, not only in our city but across the world.

When these keys are used in combination with an omni-channel approach and employ big data, you can create a disruptive marketing strategy no matter what industry your company belongs to – allowing your business to survive and thrive. However, without creativity there can be no success.

Successful digital marketing requires – indeed demands – that technology be used in an innovative and intelligent way. Much of the exciting, boundary-pushing marketing of the last few years has been based on the incredible advances made in technology and its application. The Internet of Things, drones, augmented reality, and O2O strategies all provide amazing new ways to reach audiences.

In my opinion though, we are starting to neglect two cornerstones of the customer experience: creativity and good content. Without these, any use of tech solutions will be lacking in imagination and originality by default – it's like you've been given a shiny new car with nobody to drive it. Innovative marketing solutions require creativity and content management skills – and always will.

In 2015, we already have enough technology to design a myriad of new and amazing customer experiences – it's ideas where we are lagging behind.

Certain forward-thinking companies have seen this problem coming and are proactively seeking solutions. Take Proctor & Gamble's Connect+Develop strategy, "a way for companies to harness the ideas and strength of people outside the organisation to make improvements to internal processes or products".

Essentially, P&G are casting their creativity net as wide as they can in the hopes of developing new and exciting products that match unmet needs – taking traditional laboratory idea generation and research in a new direction.

Crowdsourcing creativity if you can't find it in-house is not only a smart thing to do, it's essential to survival. In Hong Kong, I have seen some amazing social media campaigns in recent years – take the Hong Kong Tourism Board's 'Be My Guest' campaign.

Aimed at Facebook users in short-haul visitor markets close to Hong Kong, the campaign asked the audience to share messages on social media in return for a chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Hong Kong. Inventive and fresh, the campaign won the HKTB over 450,000 new fans and the 28 winners had a blast on their trip.

This is what happens when creativity and content management fire on all cylinders. Too many times though, I have seen social media or inbound marketing campaigns fall on their faces. There is an established pattern: a company will take a simple or over-used marketing, recycle it and 'jazz it up' with technological bells and whistles to make it look eye-catching.

At the end of the day though, it's the same old idea. Without interesting, truly creative ideas and unique content that evolve as the needs of our customers evolve, then we are all in danger of getting washed away on a technological tide which looks and sounds nice, but has a weak message that is easily drowned out.

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