Marketing in Hong Kong: The Complete Guide

marketing in Hong Kong

Introduction to Marketing in Hong Kong

The economy of Hong Kong had a freedom index of 90.2 in 2019, an indicator that suggests it is one of the freest economies on the globe which is something they have maintained for multiple years now.

It remains to be one of the friendliest economies to invest in and one of the most optimistic economies in Far East Asia. The strengths of Hong Kong’s economy include almost no public debt, sound banking systems, stringent anti-corruption measures, functional legal systems, close ties to the booming economy in China and robust foreign exchange reserves–standing at about US$410 billion at the turn of 2019.

The year 2019 will go down as the worst year of the 2010-2019 decade for Hong Kong’s economy for two reasons: the Chinese economy, which influences Hong Kong’s economy, has been experiencing a slump since tariff squabbles began between China and the United States in 2018. Secondly, the ongoing extradition protests have virtually brought business to a standstill. The collective toll is expected to contract the economy with as much as 2.9 % by the end of 2019.

It is not gloom though; the US and China have struck a deal to go slow on tariffs. This deal is part of other deals that will extend into 2020. Therefore, exports from China and Hong Kong are expected to increase again at the start of the year and spur growth.

marketing in Hong Kong

Source: Smart Insights

Why is Marketing Critical to Help Hong Kong Businesses Grow?

Marketing is defined as the promoting and selling of products or services and includes conducting market research and advertising as well. All in all, marketing serves as a tool to establish and maintain relevance, demand, competition, reputation, and more.

Do you understand what your target markets want? When did you last observe your clients discuss your product or service on social media or the internet? And what were their sentiments towards your business or brand? The answers to these queries lie in marketing. So, without marketing, a business will face a much higher chance of closing down due to a decline in sales.

Another important role marketing plays in your business strategy in Hong Kong is that you will gain on your competitors so that you may boost your revenue and market value. The government of Hong Kong imposes virtually zero corporate tax on businesses that operate in the territory, making it a lucrative but competitive business landscape to operate in.


Marketing Trends and Opportunities in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a culturally distinct territory, business marketing in the territory can be an avenue for fostering cultural sensitivity.  One of the mistakes many businesses make when expanding in foreign territories is to assume that their old marketing strategies will be translatable in the new markets. Although many Hong Kong residents lead modernized life, superstition is still part of their culture. Numbers, for example, still affect how they make decisions. Number 4, for instance, signifies bad luck while concepts like Feng Shui are taken seriously.

Marketing Trends and Opportunities in Hong Kong

Aside from traditional cultural sensitivities that have been part of Hong Kong’s longstanding traditions and beliefs, it’s equally important to look at new developments. Observing the increases in the introduction of newer social networking platforms in Hong Kong, most of them are aimed at competing with regional behemoths such as Weibo and Weibo. Marketing methods have since evolved to take advantage of these specific platforms.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (MI) playing a remarkable role in search

Reports show that as much as 50% of marketers worldwide are already applying the concepts of AI to market goods and services. Hong Kong marketers are part of the pack. AI and MI are two truly global technologies of the ending decade because most of the marketing companies (such as Google) that apply them tend to target an international audience. The influence of AI and MI on marketing is expected to increase at the turn of the new decade.

If you intend to market through Google, you could benefit from RankBrain, an AI program that is poised to complement Hummingbird, which places an emphasis on the context and meanings rather than keywords when returning search results.

The rise of mobile search – making a smartphone-first approach essential

The shift from laptops and desktop computers to mobile smart devices as primary ways of using the internet changed how marketers stage their promotions. In 2015, the share of the population in Hong Kong with a smartphone was 70%. At the end of 2019, the total share is 77%. That number is expected to soar to 79% in 2023. It is also estimated that about 97% of Hong Kong residents access the internet with smartphones, with each user spending an average of 3.2 hours on the internet every day. With such stats, a Hong Kong-based business stands to reap many benefits from search engine marketing (SEM) and social media marketing (SMM).

The surge in non-visual experience

Many Hong Kong homes have intelligent personal assistants like Amazon Echo that are increasingly taking over the search needs of their users. The whole world, not just Hong Kong, is experiencing “Alexa” craze, or overreliance on an intelligent personal assistant for help and searching answers for queries.

Since these devices relay the search results to the user through speakers rather than a screen, more and more digital marketers are beginning to deliver a non-visual experience to users through them as well.

A deeper understanding of the client journey

Mapping the clients’ journey had previously been a challenge for may businesses because of three factors: diverse platforms, a variety of content available to users, and the fact that each person has a different online experience.

Marketers are starting to have a clearer understanding of the pathways taken by customers before transacting with a business. This has been made possible by the introduction of advanced analytics software and behavioural insights that can only be churned using machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Used effectively, data-driven approaches will empower marketers to discern where their clients are each step of their journey to transact with the business. Marketers will eventually identify things that work best at each step as presented by the digital media.


The 4Ps of Marketing

Understanding the 4 pillars–also known as the 4 Ps–of marketing is extremely important in any marketing plan. To build a well-suited strategy, you will need the right marketing mix to achieve the aforementioned combo. This mix entails the 4s of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion.

Product

The product is a tangible item or intangible service that meets the needs of the client. All products follow the product life cycle, which marketers must understand and make plans for each stage and its unique challenges. Furthermore, marketers need to understand the problems the product/service is attempting to solve and the product/service’s selling propositions.

Price

The price is the actual amount of money the end-user will pay to acquire the product/service. Pricing affects demand; the buyer will consider the product’s perceived value rather than the objective behind the cost. An underpriced or overpriced product may not sell well. That’s why the marketer should attempt to view the product in the client’s perspective. A product with a positive value can be successfully priced highly. A product with little value will need to be priced lowly to sell.

Promotion

Promotion describes the communication aspects of the whole marketing function. It may entail such things as sales promotion, public relations, special offers, and advertising. The promotion channel chosen by marketers should be suitable for the appropriate for the product, the end-user, and the price.

Place

Place or placement describes the manner in which the product will be offered to the buyer. Distribution is one of the key elements of placement. Marketers use placement strategy to assess the suitability of a channel for the product. End user’s assessment of the product completes the remainder of the marketer’s product strategy.


The Two Funnels You Need to Know As A Marketer

The Marketing Funnel

A marketing funnel is used to describe the journey your customer has taken with your brand. It maps the entire route between the first contact the customer has with your brand or product/service to the moment a purchase they make a purchase.

The entire process is broken down into 6 stages:

  1. Awareness: This is the topmost stage and entails potential customers being drawn through consumer research and discovery and marketing campaigns.
  2. Interest: Once the leads have been generated, they proceed to the next stage – the interest stage – where they obtain more useful information about the brand.
  3. Consideration: Here, leads become marketing qualified leads and are viewed as prospective customers. Marketers can target them with more details about the brand’s products or services through email marketing.
  4. Intent: The marketer will only proceed to the intent stage if the prospective customers demonstrate that they’re interested in buying the brand’s products. This can happen through a survey or when items are put in the car present on the eCommerce website.
  5. Evaluation: In this stage, prospective buyers make their final decision about whether to purchase the brand’s products/services or not. The marketing team will try to convince the buyer the brand’s products are the best choice.
  6. Purchase: This is the last stage of the journey. The buyer proceeds to make a purchase from the brand.

The Customer Experience Funnel

Customer experience funnel advertising describes the moment when a business considers the different states customers go through before buying their products when designing their marketing campaigns. The insights obtained are used to come up with the correct advertising strategy to appeal to the correct customer at the correct time.

The customer experience funnel consists of 3 layers: awareness, consideration, and conversion.

First layer: Awareness

This layer consists of consumers that have not interacted with the brand before, hence they are not familiar with the brand’s products. As such, a brand will try to capture their attention to establish awareness for itself and its products to the consumers. The brand can choose to target consumers with advertising or field demonstrations among other marketing options.

Second layer: Consideration

This stage consists of consumers who have passed the Awareness stage – they have already transacted with the business or they’ve been informed of the existence of the brand and its products through advertising. Hence, a brand will try to nurture and remarket itself to them to convince them that its products or services are still the best choice in the market. Unlike awareness advertising which mainly occurs in the form of social media marketing, Second Layer marketing occurs in the form of paid search, search engine marketing, and email marketing.

Third layer: Conversion

This stage consists of consumers who have been exposed to a brand and its products more several times and are ready to make a purchase. At this stage, consumers have a “want” and they are starting to consider a brand’s products or services as a potential solution. They are yet to make up their minds on the specific product or service to buy. They may start researching online before deciding. The brand can employ the right remarketing strategies to convince them to settle for its products.


The Online and Offline Methods of Marketing

Digital marketing

Digital marketing, in its broadest definition, is a collection of strategies used for marketing products and services using an array of digital technologies including the internet and mobile phone apps as well. Now, with the integration of the internet and smartphones, digital marketing has become one of the most affordable, effective, and most sought after form of marketing.

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a collection of strategies that are aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of website traffic. This traffic is obtained by increasing the overall visibility of a web page or website to visitors who use a specific web search engine. The main feature of SEO is its unpaid results (often referred to as “organic” or “natural” results). It is highly particular; you can target specific kinds of searches: video search, image search, news search, industry-specific search, academic search and so on.

SEM: Search Engine Marketing

Unlike SEO, Search Engine Marketing is a marketing practice that employs paid adverts rather than organic or unpaid results. As a marketer, you will pay the owners of a search engine to your add to appear in the results returned by the search engine (SERPs). The marketer is required to bid on a given range of keywords that a user is more likely to type in the search engine when searching for certain products or services.

SEM: Social Media Marketing

SEM is a practice of using social networks (Weibo, WeChat, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.) to connect with your brand’s audience and create awareness, generate traffic, and increase sales.

The success of SEM is determined by the quality of the content shared by the brand and whether it is useful to the audience or not. SEM is an invaluable marketing tool to any business present in Hong Kong because, as much as 85% of Hong Kong citizens have a presence on Facebook (the most popular social network in the territory), while 83% of them are on YouTube (the second most popular social network in the territory).

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketer is regarded as part of SEM in some avenues. Whether it should be considered to be a distinct filed or part of SEM, it entails capitalizing on product mentions and endorsements from influential social media figures (referred to as Influencers) who commands a huge following.

Content marketing

Content marketing is the practice of marketing your brand’s products and services through creating and sharing an array of online material (including blog posts, videos, tutorials, social media posts, and ebooks).

Think of it as a subtle way of creating brand awareness; you don’t explicitly promote the brand but rather stimulate interest in it. The success of social marketing is extremely reliant on the quality of the content and how useful it is to the audience. The more potential clients consider it to be useful to them, the more they will be aware of what your brand is offering.

Video marketing

Video marketing entails integrating engaging videos into the marketing campaigns. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, a video could be worth more. Video marketing can entail pretty anything a brand would want to present to the audience in the form of visuals. It can entail how-to videos, customer testimonials, viral entertainment content, customer testimonials, etc.

Email marketing

Email marketing, at its basic level, is the use of customer emails to market your business. A business normally keeps an email list of many customers who have consented to receive marketing material from the business. Once in a while, the business would send marketing content and deals to the emailing list and track the engagement. Some sections of the digital marketing world think email marketing is dead, but that’s debatable.

Offline methods of marketing

As its name implies, offline marketing has been defined as promotions or advertisements that are published on media channels outside of the internet. Offline marketing is effective in attaining the attention of potential customers who are in the general area of your business, and directing them to you!

Broadcast advertising

Broadcast advertising is the practice of a brand informing the audience about its products and services by airing relevant adverts on radio or TV. Today, TV channels and radio stations almost entirely depend on broadcast advertising for revenues, even as more businesses shift to digital marketing because of its effectiveness.

Print advertising

Print advertising is a type of offline advertising that employs physically printed media, such as newspapers and magazines, to reach clients and prospective clients.  More and more advertisers are ditching print media in favour of digital media solutions that can be used to target the same audience, such solutions as banner ads, social media marketing, and mobile advertising. Of all offline marketing methods, print advertising has declined the most. Many publications are moving online to offer e-prints of their magazines and newspapers because most of their readers would rather obtain the online than have to show up in a physical store to buy them.

Outdoor advertising

Outdoor advertising is the practice of advertising a brand or its products and services to consumers when they’re outside their homes. This form of advertising can take several forms including billboard advertising, transit advertising, street furniture, banners on supermarket carts and sporting arenas – pretty anywhere the consumer would be caught walking. Outdoor advertising is highly effective if the marketer intends to target inhabitants of a small locality.

Here is a video about offline and online marketing to help you understand the two better.

Source: Life Media UK


Adopting a Multi-channel vs. Omni-channel Approach to Marketing

Multi-Channel Marketing

Multichannel marketing describes the ability of a brand to interact with prospective clients on multiple platforms. The channel might be a promotional event, a retail location, print ad, and so on.

Benefits of Multi-channel Marketing

  • Mimics the behaviour of the consumers and empowers the brand to personalize its efforts
  • Focuses on the whole funnel and assists marketers in adjusting to modern’s fragmented customer journeys
  • Leverages the existing algorithms to boost ROI
  • Assists the brand in unifying its message; consumers want consistency

Cons of Multi-channel Marketing

  • Labour and material costs are high; the brand has its hands on many things
  • Cannibalising on sales i.e. opening a web-based store could affect the in-store experience
  • Potential channel conflict, for instance, an independent distributor competing with direct sales

Omni-channel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing, on another hand, describes the multichannel selling approach that offers the client a more integrated shopping experience. Hence, the client can be purchasing items online using a smartphone or desktop, or in a physical store but the whole shopping experience is seamless.

Benefits of Omni-channel Marketing

  • Better data collection & analysis: you can collect a lot of data from multiple channels through cookies, shopping carts, device IDs, mailing lists, etc. which can be analyzed and used in decision making
  • Greater synergy across multiple channels and departments
  • Better campaign designing and targeting which is a result of better customer segmentation
  • Greater brand visibility

Cons of Omni-channel Marketing

  • It is hard to keep off from channels that are of less value
  • You’re likely to neglect the offline experience if you run an online shop alongside a physical store

Growing A Business in Hong Kong with SEO, SEM & Social Media Marketing Services

Digital marketing and growth hacking go alongside each other. Growth hacking describes the practice of executing an array of strategies to foster business growth. As the digital battleground become more competitive and challenging – limited budgets, uncompromising targets, limited resources and so on – more businesses are becoming keen on growth hacking.

Lean Marketing Strategy

Lean Marketing Strategies have been defined as a process that allows a marketing strategy to build on itself in time. Through consistent and continued evaluation, companies are able to adapt and adjust their marketing strategy as and when needed.

The lean marketing strategy has become highly important in today’s competitive and diverse marketing landscape as it helps quantify many elements of the marketing process that were once seen as immeasurable. Having a lean marketing strategy is also a vital aspect of implementing a data-driven approach.

Using A Data-driven Approach

Growth hackers focus more on all types of digital marketing opportunities for an obvious reason – they are easily trackable. The greatest resource for a growth hacker is data analytics. Data analytics provides the essential key to targeting, aggregating, and refining the marketing strategy. With a data aggregating and analysing tool in place, growth hackers can begin segmenting the audience and putting offers to test.

Increase Profits Reduce Costs

A brand’s client acquisition cost and the lifetime value are two magical numbers. In growth hacking more emphasis is placed on the LTV > CAC rule whereby CAC (cost of acquisition), the cost of acquiring one user via a given channel, is less than LTV (customer lifetime value) or the potential revenue the brand stands to get from the user in the future.

Online and Offline Marketing Expenditure in Hong Kong

Online marketing

According to Statista, expenditure on digital marketing in Hong Kong is expected to hit US$770 million at the end of the year (2019). That’s about a 12 % increase from US$640 million in 2017. As digital marketing in Hong Kong continues to evolve and give rise to new channels and trends, this expenditure is only set to increase steadily in the coming years.

Offline Marketing

It’s been recorded that fewer residents of Hong Kong read newspapers nowadays. For example, as of 2018, 47.4% of residents read the newspaper, as compared to 69.3% in 2010.

Now with the introduction of streaming services such as Netflix, more people consider TV adverts to be an inconvenience. As a result, offline advertising in Hong Kong is in decline. By the end of 2019, total expenditure on offline marketing is expected to drop by as much as 25%, partly because of the protests as well.


List of Top 15 Digital Marketing Agencies In Hong Kong

1. Media One

With over 10 years of experience in the industry, MediaOne is a leading marketing agency that offers content marketing, web design and development, social media marketing, Search Engine Optimisation and PPC advertising as some of their key services.

Address: 4/F The Lee Gardens 3, 1 Sunning Rd, Causeway Bay Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 9226 4438


2. Token Workshop

Token Workshop is one of Hong Kong’s most well known full-service design and production companies with expertise in the handling of graphic design campaigns and visual arts projects.

Address: 2/F, Neng Heng Sheng House, 94 Jervois Street, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2833 5956


3. Swivt Technologies

Besides social media marketing and SEO optimisation services, Swvt Technologies specialises in UI/UX design, mobile app development, and web development as well.

Address: Room C 12TH Floor, 425K Queen’s Road West, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 5739 5784


4. Colar Marketing Solution Limited

Color Marketing specialises in event marketing, and have years of experience and expertise in conceptualising, planning and executing events. From product launches and corporate parties to exhibitions, Colar is well-equipped to take your events to the next level.

Address: Unit C, Level 16, Reason Group Tower, 403-413 Castle Peak Road, Kwai Chung, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3524 7131


5. DigiSalad Limited

DigiSalad Limited deals in virtual reality campaigns, motion graphics (video and animations), responsive web design, mobile app and UI design, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Address: Unit A6, 33/F, TML Tower, 3 Hoi Shing Road, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3103 2588]


6. Integrated Management Systems

IMS is a popular digital agency inHong Kong that provides consultation services in planning digital strategies. They’re known for their work in data analytics solutions, web development, marketing automation, and digital transformation strategies and so on.

Address: IMS 36th Floor, 41 Heung Yip Road, Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3611 0130


7. BMG – Beyond Media Global

BMG creates Full Stack Marketing campaigns that bring to life multicultural personalised experiences, which aim to drive results at every stage of the user journey. Their services include content optimisation, influencer marketing, PPC marketing and so on.

Address: 19/F, Tung Chiu Commercial Centre, 193-197 Lockhart Road, Wanchai, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2492 2770


8. Dragon Social

Dragon Social is a digital agency in Hong Kong that deals in content management, PR & digital media, native advertising, and influencer marketing.           In the social media marketing scene, Dragon Social works with a variety of platforms and allows clients to best target their audience through this.

Address: 7/F, WeWork, 40 Bonham Strand, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3480 4211


9. FirmStudio

All of FirmStudio’s services fall into three areas, marketing strategy, web technology, and creative design. Their marketing services span from digital to offline marketing as well, and work to distinguish brands and products in order to attract new customers, and remain visible in today’s dynamic market.

Address: 10/F, Kingsfield Centre,18 Shell Street, North Point, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3188 6988


10. First Page Digital

First Page Digital uses a customised and multi-faceted approach when it comes to planning your digital marketing strategies.

Address: Room 3503-07, 35/F, Wu Chung House, 213 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2356 3200


11. Digital Business Lab

Digital Business Lab is a social media agency in Hong Kong that focuses on creating engaging content for your business, so you can build meaningful and long-term relationships with your potential customers.

Address: 1501, Pacific Plaza, 410 Des Voeux Road West, Sai Wan, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 8120 3518


12. Fimmick

Fimmick is a digital marketing company that offers its clients data-driven and integrated marketing solutions. Besides social media marketing and influencer marketing, they also deal with more niche services such as recruitment marketing and employer branding services.

Address: 1/F, Hung To Centre, 94-96 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 3622 5388


13. Creativeworks

With over 14 years of experience, Creativeworks is a full-service digital agency in Hong Kong that handles social media marketing, search engine optimisation, reputation management, content management, and PR & digital media.

Address: Unit 1010-1015, 10/F, Tower B, New Mandarin Plaza, Tsim Sha Tsui East, Kowloon


14. Ad One

Ad One aims to provide their clients with a one-stop solution to their digital marketing needs. While they have a  wide scope of services under their belt, Ad One is known for their China Online Marketing and China Social Media services.

Address: 10/F, The Rays, 71 Hung To Road, Kwun Tong Kowloon, Hong Kong

Tel: (852) 2372 0568


15. AdSmart

Admart is a digital agency in Hong Kong that focuses on brand enhancement through big data ad business intelligence. Their services include website and mobile app development, social media marketing, event marketing and so on.

Address: Unit 8, 30/F, New Tech Plaza, No.34 Tai Yau Street, San Po Kong, Kowloon

Tel: (852) 3998 4215

Where to Learn: Digital Marketing Training Courses in Hong Kong

Whether you prefer online or offline training, there are dozens of excellent training platforms to select from in Hong Kong. The duration varies and can sometimes depend on how free you are in a week. For instance, many online programs allow you to set up your own flexible time schedule. Here is where to learn marketing in Hong Kong.

Online Marketing Courses

General Assembly

Location: USA

Duration: 5 weeks

Language: English


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Location: Hong Kong

Duration: Up to 10 weeks


Offline Marketing Courses

The University of Hong Kong

World ranking: 35


Hang Seng Management University

World ranking: N/A


Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

World ranking: 47


The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

World ranking: 171


HKBU (Hong Kong Baptist University School of Business)

World ranking: N/A


Marketing Hong Kong 2020

As one of the top Far East business hubs, being close to China and being a multicultural society with a well-performing economy, Hong Kong’s digital marketing scene is unique and thriving. To stay ahead of the marketing curve in Hong Kong, you should work with a digital agency that you can trust.

Here at MediaOne, we work closely with all our clients so that we can understand your needs and put together a results-driven digital marketing strategy that will give your brand and business the competitive edge it needs!