Marketing in Indonesia 2016: Any Advice?
    Category: Column By : Hermawan Kartajaya Read : 2329 Date : Monday, December 07, 2015 - 06:37:28

    I got that question a lot recently. Despite the general anxiety for next year, I prefer not to talk about economic forecasts because I want to share some qualitative wisdoms. For me, three marketing drivers deserve special attention in 2016. The first and “primary” driver is the shift in technology. The 4G mobile connectivity will become mainstream throughout major cities in Indonesia. Therefore, rich media will be more important than text on mobile phones. As attention span becomes shorter, text should be no more than 140 characters while video should attract interest in the first five seconds.

    The second and “main” driver is the shift in political, economic and social landscapes. The political dynamics have shifted from centralized consolidation in Jakarta into localized competition in cities and regencies. Thus, Indonesia will face the new normality with GDP growth equaling this year’s level—it’s hard to see a rebound next year. Social dynamics, conversely, will be strongly influenced by a particular lifestyle, from grassroots to affluent segments. As a result, the third and “ultimate” driver will be more personalized customer service. With these drivers, we at MarkPlus foresee three strategic, yet paradoxical, marketing directions in 2016:

    1. First, there will be online-offline integration in marketing. Contrary to popular belief, online marketing will not replace offline marketing—they will complement each other. Primarily “offline” companies will need online customer engagement. Thus, high tech service providers will grow significantly next year. Conversely, online companies will need an offline presence. The Internet’s rise will spur the need for face-to-face engagement, helping to grow the logistics, warehousing and distribution sectors.

    2. Second, next year will be one of style with substance. Last decade’s rapid growth has not necessarily improved people’s productivity but has definitely improved their lifestyle. Despite the slowdown, society now appreciates style. The connectivity among customers will improve the transparency of quality. Quality’s importance is shown in healthcare, which as become a growing industry for the middle-class. As customers become careful in choosing products and services, style should complement substance. The need for style and substance will create new industries combining design with authentic quality.

    3. Finally, “H2H through M2M” will be a dominant force next year. Human-to-human (H2H) interaction will be a key success factor for marketing in 2016. The enabler for H2H interactions is machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity, also known as the Internet of Things.

    Ultimately, humans and technology will complement each other. Thus the paradox: Enabled by technology, customers can be treated with a human touch, transforming customer service into customer care. Customers prefer to be treated as a friend rather than a king. Storytelling will be a better way to communicate with customers. The H2H approach is the way to win in 2016. It fits Indonesian culture, which is very social and emotional. It fits the progression of a marketer’s role from functional (1.0) to strategic (2.0) to entrepreneurial (3.0). An entrepreneurial marketer takes risks, and creates the required human connection to make things happen. I wish you all the best in 2016.