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Digitalize or die

Spending more on online than traditional marketing is still not a trend observed in Macau, according to a digital marketing consultant based in Hong Kong and considering opening a branch in the MSAR

Local companies could reap benefits from investing more in digital instead of focusing on traditional marketing tools, suggested Lug Giroud, the co-founder of Wild, a digital marketing consultancy company, in a conversation with Business Daily.
“One of the reasons why Macau is kind of behind is because companies like casinos, which obviously drive a lot of the business here, still have budgets that are disproportionate when it comes to traditional marketing,” Giroud noted.
The digital consultant further claimed that companies in the casino and tourism industry that “don’t invest in digital in a proper way, will suffer greatly.”
According to the co-founder of the company based in Hong Kong – who has previously lived in Macau – the main difficulty affecting local companies is that digital tools “are completely different between the Western world and the Chinese world,” while “most businesses in Macau need both” to efficiently market their products and services.
For Giroud, who spoke at a meeting organized by the French Macau Business Association (FBMA) last Friday, success in choosing adequate social media platforms depends on a company’s capacity and goals.
“There is not a precise matrix where you are going to tick something and it is going to give you the answer. It is a grey area,” he explained.
During his talk, he explained that WeChat tends to yield better results in reaching out to a mainland China-customer base, while platforms such as Facebook and Linkedin continue to be widely used for Western-based markets and audiences.
Yet, for Giroud, there is no question as to whether or not to go digital.
“When you have a tool that is that much more efficient than the others, and your competitors start using it, if you don’t, you die,” he said.
Regarding the services Giroud’s company Wild (wild-at-heart.net) provides to some “big corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises” in Macau – on non-disclosure agreement terms – the co-founder claims they address two “bottlenecks” that agencies in Hong Kong “are not tackling”.
These can be summarized as: choosing the wrong Key Performance Indicators (KPI), and not creating a strategy.
“One problem with not having a strategy is that people are not educated enough on the technology, that is too recent, and people don’t know what they want,” he said.

E-payments and the cloud
A focus on Chinese consumers and markets has been driving companies today to operate more on WeChat, although the platform is still “much less used in Hong Kong” than it is in Macau and mainland China, points out Giroud.
One particular aspect of WeChat in Hong Kong highlighted by the businessman, is that it does not offer a payment feature.
Accordingly, the fact that Macau is developing the cloud with Alibaba, he added, “will have a great effect in developing and changing things.”
“It will happen naturally. People will go online. Some people will pull the trigger and they will reap the benefits, for sure,” Giroud claimed.

OPINION

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