What Does the Future Hold for Malaysian Marketing?
What does the future hold? Nobody can tell us with any certainty. Let’s face it, even the weather is wrong 75% of the time, and apparently they’re using science. But we can certainly conjure up a pretty good informed guess.
Of course we’ve got plenty of reasons to be optimistic about marketing in Malaysia as it stands today. It’s not just exciting emerging channels of communication like WhatsApp marketing, or the technologies unlocking new potential for the likes of social amplification and buzz marketing, it’s the increasing size and opportunity of the market itself. But how might that landscape look in the future?
We’ve decided to put on our future-looking goggles and gaze into our crystal ball. Here are some predictions on the future of Malaysian marketing, from the factually likely to the tantalisingly speculative.
1 – Broadband Rollout Means Broader Content Consumption
This might seem like an unambitious prediction, but it’s an incredibly important one. Marketing in Malaysia today has to take into account that while internet penetration is amongst the highest in the region, connection speeds are sometimes not. And there are still millions of citizens who lack basic access.
The latest official figures show that 85% of Malaysian households now have access to the internet. That’s up from just 70% in 2015. On top of that, 98.1% of households have access to mobile internet via a smartphone. So that’s today, what does tomorrow bring?
While internet access is growing, fast fibre broadband is still a smaller part of the puzzle. Only 2.5 million of 6.5 million households have access. Recent plans by the government state ambitions to open up the broadband market, pushing for wider rollout. The result should be that greater penetration, and greater internet speeds, are surely on the way. That means consumers with increasingly faster connections will be able to engage with even more high-value digital marketing content such as super HD images, videos and interactive content.
2 – 5G Will Transform Marketing Opportunity
It’s no overstatement to say that 5G data networks will transform our world. Countries like South Korea are already gearing up to launch 5G nationally in the near future, delivering up to 10 gigabit a second connectivity wherever you might be. That’s fast enough to download a 2 hour movie in just over 30 seconds.
Cyberjaya is set to be the first test-bed for 5G in Malaysia, with experts suggesting that in all likelihood it will be 2022 at the earliest before it’s widespread nationwide. When it is here though, the transformation of opportunity will be monumental.
Much like wider broadband rollout, higher bandwidth content consumption will become increasingly the norm. Why worry about watching videos on your smartphone if you can download them in the blink of the eye? E-commerce is also likely to benefit. Why wait to get home to order your new trainers online when you can carry out your purchase on a superfast mobile connection? But it’s the wider connectivity where 5G stands apart.
Ultrafast wireless connections across the nation will unlock the true future of connected devices that’s been promised by the much-discussed Internet of Things (IoT). Fast, reliable connectivity means devices which can communicate with increasingly complex levels of data, providing increasingly complex functionality. That connected reality will unlock opportunity in all functions of marketing, from distribution to promotion. It means IoT-enabled devices will become more reliable, more popular, and consequently reduce in price, making them increasingly accessible opportunities for avenues of marketing.
3 – More Consumers with More Money
This is a win, win really. We will have more consumers, with more money, in the future. This is something we explored in considerations about optimism for marketing in Malaysia, but it’s worth repeating.
Malaysia’s GDP per capita grew by more than 50% in the decade from 2006, reaching US$9,500 in 2016. That trajectory to growing disposable income is set to continue as Malaysia sustains its economic growth, continuing its growth in consumer spending. The number of households with disposable income over US$25,000 is expected to nearly double from 2017 to 2021. That means some eager consumers looking to connect with some valued brands.
It’s not just domestic spending that is set to rise. In 2017 Malaysia received almost 26 million tourist visitors, spending RM82.1 billion in the country. That’s an increase from 21 million visitors spending RM53.4 billion in 2017. With a general push for increased tourism, alongside the long-awaited opening up of ASEAN’s aviation market, this growth is set to continue.
What this means for you is a domestic market that has more disposable income to spend on the products or services you’re marketing, and a growing inbound tourism market that’s equally keen to sample what the nation has to offer. Whatever your marketing philosophy, more affluent consumers and a growing economy is surely a win.
4 – Marketing Will Be Going Virtual
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) marketing are already gaining traction in our modern marketing environment, but they’ve not really hit it big in Malaysia yet. Content Nation is itself partnering with some exciting VR and AR offers, so we’re more than a little excited about this emerging proposition. The combined total market value of VR and AR is expected to reach US$95 billion by 2023, up from just US$18 billion today.
There are a number of elements that are set to combine in order to catapult these technologies to the fore. First up is the argument for connectivity that we’ve already discussed. 5G in particular will open up AR possibilities, as smartphones and wearable tech become enabled by superfast connections that open up augmented experiences. Imagine walking past a cinema and your smartphone augments an image of the building with the latest movie trailers and showing times? That’s just one example of the opportunity we’re talking about.
Second is the growing proliferation of advanced devices with ultrafast processors – namely your smartphones. The first ever iPhone, the precursor of the smartphone revolution, had just 128 MB of processing power. The iPhone X, a decade later, had increased that processing to 3 gig, a 2,300% improvement. Today’s latest models are supercomputers in our pockets, and as the technology improves, and becomes more affordable, more people will have the perfect device to engage with VR or AR marketing.
Wearable technology is another area that’s likely to see growth that leads to AR and VR expansion, particularly around wearable glasses. Let’s face it though, recent innovations in this space have failed to inspire, so while the future potential is there, someone still need to come up with the formula that leads to mass market adoption. That reality is inevitable at some point however.
5 – Robots Will Take Your Jobs
Now we’re getting a bit sensationalist. We’ve heard a lot about the robot revolution, and it’s undoubtedly going to be a challenging time of transition for many. Low-skilled workers in the region are particularly at risk, with more than half the workers (137 million people) in Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines at risk of losing their jobs to automation over the next 20 years. The situation for marketing is a lot more complex.
First of all, despite what your boss might say when you miss a deadline, marketing is not a ‘low-skilled’ job. It is primarily a creative pursuit, arguably one of the least accessible avenues for automation and artificial intelligence.
There are of course areas where automation is already having an impact. Social chat bots are one example, creating automated responses to standard audience queries. Content creation and automated article writing is a slightly trickier proposition, where AI is increasingly qualified to regurgitate facts, but unable to create a new persona, voice or inspire or direct an article through innate creativity.
So Robots will not really take all your jobs. As marketers our creativity secures us against the worst of this terrifying AI uprising. It will however mean that increasingly large numbers of analytical, fact-based or repetitive tasks will become cheaper to undertake with AI than it will with humans. So best get your creative hat on and start showing off how good your imagination is.