Retail in Asia


A wrap up of the Marketing Exchange Forum

Marketing has always been about creating value for the customers, and therefore, building demand and desire for goods and services. Recently, the advent of new technology and consequent changes in consumer behaviour pushed business to move from a brand-centric to a consumer-centric approach and adapt their marketing practice to meet them in their digital environment.

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On 22nd January, over 100 professionals and academics in the field of marketing gathered virtually to kick-off the first edition of the “Marketing Exchange Forum” organised by the Sales and Marketing Consulting Unit (SMCU), an integrated platform launched by the Department of Marketing of the City University of Hong Kong with the goal to promote a dialogue between university and businesses to discuss the state-of-the art within the field.

The event was opened by Prof. Li Juan Julie, Associate Provost (Academic Affairs) and Chair Professor of the Department of Marketing, and Dr. Zheng Xu, Associate Professor and Associate Director of the SMCU, who officially welcomed guests and introduced the consulting unit before leaving the virtual stage to the Master of Ceremonies for the event Dr. Jinjie Chen.

Keynote speaker for the event was Anson Bailey, Head of Consumer & Retail, ASPAC, Head of Technology, Media and Telecoms, KPMG China, well known personality in the area of business consulting with expertise across different sectors, particularly retail and digital transformation. Anson Bailey is also an invited advisory board member for the newly launched consulting unit and active supporter of academic research in Hong Kong. Anson opened the event touching upon recent transformations across different businesses, from digital to sustainability, highlighting the importance for companies to build a strong image which reflects trust, authenticity, and purpose-driven mindset to navigate the turbulent times.

Source: City University of Hong Kong

The event covered four main themes: marketing digitisation, adoption of AI in marketing practices, consumer behaviour, and pricing and channel governance. The four themes were discussed by both professionals across different sectors and academics for a total of over 15 speakers.

Among the highlights from the different sessions, professionals such as Fareeda Cassumbhoy, Philip Chan, Herbert Yum, and Alessandro Tomio provided the audience with an overview of challenges and opportunities for businesses to embrace technology and innovation and how a potential collaboration with academics could facilitate the implementation of new solutions.

Fareeda Cassumbhoy, Group Chief Digital Officer, Pico Group, invited advisory board member of the consulting, and prominent personality in the creative sector, discussed how digital transformation has pervaded the marketing industry and how that has changed the role of creative agencies and also the different roles within organisations, drawing attention on people’s role in the transformation.

Philip Chan, Senior Director and General Manager of Canon Hong Kong, focused on innovation and technology and talked about B2C and B2B market demands for new products.

Herbert Yum, Head of Research at Euromonitor International, while introducing a new study on consumer behaviour, highlighted the importance of data and potential collaborations with scholars.

Alessandro Tomio, Commercial Director APAC, Lacoste, opened the session on pricing and channel governance, brought in his professional experience to explain how omnichannel represents the future of retail, but at the same time requires a business transformation at different levels to be fully implemented considering the challenges in managing different channels in different markets.

Among the academics, Prof. Yanzhi Li, Professor of Marketing and Head of the Department of Marketing hosting the consulting unit, chair of the board, presented a series of studies in partnerships with different organisations focusing on technological innovation and adoption of machine learning and sophisticated conceptual frameworks to support the solution of real-life problems particularly in the Mainland Chinese market. Dr. Minkyu Shin, Assistant Professor, discussed “AI wash” as a current trend across different sectors; Dr. Vincent Wong, Assistant Professor and financial talk show host and anchor for several media outlets in both Hong Kong SAR and Mainland China, presented a study on consumer behaviour focusing on the structure of advertising slogans; and Dr. Eunyoung Camilla Song, Assistant Professor, who introduced her study on mobile shopping.

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The event benefited from a wide audience across different sectors and markets. Closing remarks were provided by Prof. Yanzhi Li announcing the 2nd edition of the Marketing Exchange Forum.

In the meantime, the SMCU will organise seminars throughout the year to share research findings and continuously engage with the professional community.