For most of the Thai businesses which want to expand their market in Myanmar, this question might give you a headache. Should we use the insightful marketing service or sent some of our team members to test and learn the market in Myanmar?
There is no right and wrong answer because different businesses need different targets with different approaches. However, having enough data and insight about the market will guide the businesses in Myanmar to have the right target and the right technique to approach the target.
In Myanmar, the middle class and per-capita consumption have increased significantly due to the growth of country’s economy. This growth opens more opportunity for many brands in the FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) industries and service industries (e.g. private education institutions, entertainment).
Thai FMCG products such as beverages, confectionery, packaged foods and personal hygiene products are extensively popular for its fair/cheaper prices with high quality and more visibility or availability in the market. In the process of opening up and growing economy, Myanmar consumers in major cities evolved from a generation of necessity for social appearance and lifestyles.
With the development of the country, the internet and social media has become a new platform for people to entertain and seek information rather than mass media. The increasing Internet and mobile penetration rates, Social Media has become a new channel to reach the consumers.
The mobile users’ rate of Myanmar has 33 million of mobile users with 88% of smartphone users in 2017 and Viber estimated that 18 million people are using its application actively. Many foreign companies start to use social media to reach consumers who go online for product information.
Does all the foreign businesses in Myanmar success?
Even though there are a lot of glowing opportunities and possibilities to have prosperity, not all the foreign began to success and be able to dominate Myanmar’s market. The reason behind of some failure is mainly about not having enough insight about Myanmar consumers and market. Not understanding the culture and consumers’ behaviour create backfire to some of the companies.
For example, Vietnam Airline which flies to Yangon faced a problem when they published their magazine with a picture of a model wear Shwedagon pagoda as her dress.
Another one is when Malaysia-based Teo Seng Chan Liquor Merchants came under fire online for using an image of the temple on the label of a whiskey bottle. Both of the cases happened in 2015 and the cases indicated about the different culture and level of sensitivity on each issue. To avoid those problems, foreign businesses really need to learn more consumer’s insight.
On the other hand, Thai’s famous beverage Chang penetrated the market in short time and gain a lot of good response from the consumers. It made 2 main adjustments to fit in the Myanmar market : the price and the taste of the beer. It lowered the alcohol content to suit the local taste and lower the price to compete with the existing market.
Royal D electrolyte beverage has been businesses in Myanmar for a long time ago but when other competitors came into the market, they changed their style of production and product style to keep up with the new demands of the market. Instead of selling electoryte bags, they turned it into a beverage.
Myanmar customers are fairly loyal one for now due to the limited availability of alternative choices but as a brand, it needs to consider for suitable changes to keep up with the market’s demand. To keep up with the new demands, a business must know the insights of the consumers and their behaviours.
What does insightful mean?
Mostly we mistook insight as data, observation and knowing the customers’ want but it is more than that. Knowing about those facts are only a part of knowing customers’ insight. It is a deep analysis of target consumers’ behaviour, motives and values.
Then convert those data and knowledge into a strategic marketing plan to channel the consumers’ desire for the product.For example, if we compare between the Chang and Myanmar beer in the beverage market, we can see Myanmar beer still stand very strong.
In my opinion, the main reason why Myanmar beer takes top place in the list is because of the branding and how it touches the deep emotional stage of Myanmar people. It touches the pride of being a Myanmar citizen and links it with the value of the brand. Then they shape the perception of the consumers for years to see Myanmar beer as the pride of the country. At the same time, it also involved in sport and festivals to let the consumers think, drinking Myanmar beer and cheering up for Myanmar team or joining the festival is a cool thing for Myanmar citizen.
Even they rebranded the new logos and name, they stick to their core value into the pride of Myanmar. Of course, other beer brands able to penetrate some market share but Myanmar beer still stand tall as a biggest competitor because it already linked consumers’ emotion and desire with the brand really well.
Having the mechanics of detailed analysis and a great insight will help your products to have competitive advantage. However, if you couldn’t deliver inspirational and touching message to develop more surprising and interesting products and services, then all your good insight definition work will fall eventually.
To deliver the strong messages which can portray your brand’s value and image, you would need a marketing team with great insight and channel the desire of mass audience into the product.
To penetrate the Myanmar market is as a new brand is not easy because it takes time and a lot of resources. However, with good marketing strategy, it is possible to draw attention from consumers and make the one’s product stand out. Furthermore, with the increasing usage of internet, brands use Facebook to deliver their messages and maintain brand image. The platform presents a huge advertising opportunity and makes it easy to pursue marketing objectives, from brand awareness and driving sales in Myanmar.
In conclusion, it leaves the same question from the beginning : Should you use the insightful marketing service or sent some of our team members to test and learn the market in Myanmar? Which option will allow the brand to penetrate the Myanmar more efficient with less time and resource consuming.