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Marketing landscape changing [Business Times (Malaysia)]
[February 06, 2014]

Marketing landscape changing [Business Times (Malaysia)]

(Business Times (Malaysia) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) KUALA LUMPUR: AGENCIES operating in the highly competitive markets of Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore are being forced to radically rethink how they approach client marketers.

While the Big Four holding companies of WPP, Publicis, Omnicom and Interpublic hold strong positions as the most preferred creative and media agencies, independents have emerged as front runners in the social media and digital advertising space.

The findings were revealed by Marketing Research's 2013 editions of agency rankings reports, which cover marketing spend, budget allocation and client marketers' agency preferences in the key areas of marketing services - creative, media, digital, public relations, social, loyalty/customer relationship management, direct marketing and event marketing.

The series of reports are based on interviews of just under 2,000 client marketers in Asia Pacific.

"Maintaining strong relationships with client marketers are harder than ever - most of the top 10 agencies are large, global organisations, making it a challenge for client marketers to find the independent agencies, as many of them are small outfits with low total market awareness," sad Lighthouse Research director Jessica Li.

"The independent agencies will need to grow awareness of their companies and capabilities and come in touch with the type of clients that is looking for their specific skill sets and expertise." Singapore is the region's most competitive market with client marketers in the island nation spoilt for choice - an average of 231 different agencies nominated by the marketing community there.

In Malaysia, that number was 158 while 124 agencies were nominated in Hong Kong.

Unsurprisingly, the agency long tail is longest in Singapore, with an average 13 per cent of companies mentioned contributing to 50 per cent of total agency preferences.

Hong Kong and Malaysia is not far behind with an average of 16 and 18 per cent, respectively.

Global agencies are clear winners in the more traditional agency types such as creative and media with WPP shops accounting for a largest share of preferred creative agency nominations in both Hong Kong (21 per cent) and Singapore (21 per cent) but with a 14 per cent share in Malaysia, where WPP is behind Publicis (16 per cent) and Omnicom (15 per cent).

However, local independents such as PurpleClick in Singapore and GuruOnline in Hong Kong beat most their global competitors in many of the non-traditional areas of marketing.

"The rise of independents among non-traditional agencies is evidence of the increasingly complex and changing advertising agency landscape.

"With consumer patterns changing as a result of digital, client marketers are on the lookout for niche agencies that not only deeply understand consumer behaviour, but also demonstrate superiority in the chosen niche," Li said.

Marketing Research's 2013 agency rankings reports are based on an annual online survey with 1,983 client marketers in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

The questionnaire covers key questions around marketing spend budgets and allocation, preferred agencies, agency engagement and decision factors when choosing agencies.

The survey data was collected and processed by Lighthouse Research and the reports were written by Marc De Lange and Thomas Isaac from INTUIT Research Consultants (

Media & branding (c) 2014 The New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Berhad. All rights reserved. Provided by, an company

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