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Marketing must suit consumer demand   2009-08-02 - VNS

Electronics production at the Thang Long Industrial Zone in Ha Noi. Companies have been told they must adjust to the changing needs of consumers and create new marketing strategies.

VietNamNet Bridge - Companies must adjust to the changing needs of consumers and create new marketing strategies, heard a conference held yesterday in HCM City.

Leading foreign and local economists, marketing experts, CEOs, and company managers met at the conference to discuss marketing strategies during the economic downturn.

The head of the Viet Nam Marketing and Management Institute’s research division, Luu Trong Tuan, said consumers were tightening their belts and new strategies needed to be adopted.

Companies should withdraw from weak markets and focus on areas where their brand is strong and competitors are weak.

Offering simple, durable products and warranties were also important, Tuan said, adding that if prices were cut, quality should be maintained.

An advisory tone and inclusion of practical information should be used in advertisements, he said.

The size of the sales force and the number of distribution channels are vitally important as well.

Companies should increase their staff, if possible, and expand their distribution channels to facilitate market penetration, Tuan said.

Marketers must also reforecast demand if consumers trade down to models that stress good value.

In tough economic times, consumers’ buying patterns change. They research information about products, sometimes switch to cheaper brands and stop purchasing luxury items.

Giles Watkins, advisor at Indonesia-based McKinsey&Company, said companies should adjust prices based on their customer profiles.

But he said they should also ensure that customers are creditworthy and cease doing business with anyone who cannot pay.

Vu The Du, former general manager of GfK Asia in Indochina, said Vietnamese consumers were known for their optimism, preference for foreign products, a variety of demands, and a need to stand out from the crowd.

They also like to buy promotional products, are fairly easy to entice, prefer to buy online, and take out loans at banks and financial organisations to make purchases.

The rural market has great potential, and Du said online marketing and payments via the internet should be offered to build up the retail network there.

Appropriate pricing adjustment to lure more rural customers was necessary, he said.

The conference was organised by the Vietnam Marketing and Management Institute.

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