Thursday, August 26, 2010

Marketing planning in Thailand

Developing a strong marketing plan helps to identify and clarify priorities for your business. It is equally important to consider Thailand-specific factors when writing your marketing plan.

In general, a marketing plan can be separated in to four main sections:
1. Setting of goals and objectives
2. Reviewing the current situation
3. Formulating the actual strategy
4. Allocating resources to undertake and monitor the plan

Whilst you shouldn't take months to complete your marketing plan, it should also not be the product of one person's work in a single afternoon. Involve important stakeholders in the process and even involve team members.

But what Thailand-specific factors should you consider when writing your plan?

1. Political situation - first and foremost, you need to consider where the country is heading politically. It is almost impossible to predict, but that in itself tells you that the uncertainty needs to be incorporated in to your marketing plan. Committing millions of Baht to large scale date-specific events may be money wasted if protests begin again at that time - include terms in your contracts whereby you are entitled to refunds if this is the case. This instability also means you need to set realistic objectives.

2. Don't underestimate the importance of your brand / message - the local market in Thailand is very brand conscious. Creating a buzz around your brand, through online media or others, can result in excellent sales.

3. Be ready to offer promotions and flexibility - if there is one thing Thai's like, it's a promotion! We see them all over Bangkok and some shopping centres seem to roll from one promotion to another. The reason for this is simple - it brings customers through the door.

4. Find accurate sources of market information - for every expert claiming the economy is growing, there is one saying it is stagnant. Find sources of information for your industry and market that you feel are the most realistic.

5. Be realistic when reviewing your competition - it is a common flaw in Thailand to underestimate the competition; look closely at their offering and see how it compares to your own.

Thailand is currently very unpredictable. Your marketing plan must take this in to account - if you need assistance, seek marketing help.

Written by Stuart Blott, General Manager, Sutlet Group Co., Ltd.

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