HERE AND BEYOND
Armenian companies perk up in use of marketing tools
Media Room

ARKA information agency as general information sponsor of ‘Philip Kotler in Armenia: 11.11.11’ project in the Internet, teamed up with Armenian Marketing Association and SPRIN Group PR-company to conduct a series of interviews as part of the project. Rebecca Hakobyan, Head of PR and Marketing Unit at Ameria Group, spoke about her vision of marketing development in Armenia in an interview to ARKA reporter.

ARKA: How developed are marketing tools in Armenia? Do Armenian companies actually realize and use efficiently the opportunities that marketing opens? How effective is, in your opinion, application of marketing tools in Armenian reality?

R. Hakobyan: Tough competition in some industries, including banking, hotel business, retail trade and telecommunications, was a natural engine for the development of marketing. It is most apparent in the banking and financial advisory industries, which were the first to recruit more marketing specialists and develop cooperation with creative groups while the banks now are investing, among other things, into marketing-related instruments, in particular, CRM and market researches. So we can see that Armenian companies are increasing use of all the marketing tools in practice.

ARKA: What are the weak points of Armenian marketers in your opinion?

R. Hakobyan: Well, Armenian marketers are about one decade behind the creative drive of developed markets. Unfortunately, the creative ideas generated by local marketers and creative managers very often lack individuality, are merely information-oriented and copycats of other ideas. This results in a pretty humdrum market.
Another point is that the use of social media capacities is underdeveloped in Armenia. Moreover, this market is in a rudimentary stage. The overall picture is changing though along with the waning efficiency of traditional media, especially in communications with certain target audiences.

Finally, both the companies and marketers have little idea of international practices and standards of marketing performance measurement. Hence, they don’t use them appropriately.

ARKA: What are the resources that the local companies resort to for the promotion of their products? What should be done by the ad agencies to challenge the decrease in the efficiency of mass ad?

R. Hakobyan: Armenian companies typically focus on ATL advertising (above-the-line – traditional or classic advertising) and spend little on BTL tools (below-the-line is a set of marketing communications that differ from ATL direct advertising by the impact they have on the consumers and the techniques used to influence the target audience). With growing social stratification and emerging variable target audiences, where TV and radio ads fail to ensure the desired results, the situation may change to the contrary.

ARKA: How actively do Armenian companies use internet-marketing capacities to promote their products online? Does the world web anyhow influence the pricing models and is it likely to become an effective advertising tool?

R. Hakobyan: Along with a growing number of local Internet users, the Internet surely begins to play an increasing role in marketing. It may become a powerful tool for advertisement of products and services targeted at business community and younger generation. So, Internet will have some influence on the ad prices, limited though, since the majority of population are passive Internet users or don’t use it at all. This holds FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods are everyday consumer products) producers and some other major advertisers back from making large investments into online advertising and promotion. Moreover, this is a bottleneck for further dramatic growth of online advertising in Armenia.

ARKA: What new tools are currently available to the marketers? What is the outlook for use of marketing models? What is the main problem of today’s means of communication?

R. Hakobyan: More dynamic marketing models should be developed in the course of time to incorporate the global developments and their impact on the target audience. The main problem, and even a challenge that the modern means of communication face is lack of transparency and dynamics. Any marketing initiative may get a bad rap or be easily copied.

ARKA: How active are local companies in development of brand and brand awareness?

R. Hakobyan: Eventually local companies have come to value the significance of brands. A strong brand is based upon competitive product or service and development of new products to reinforce the perception of the widely known brand. Otherwise, in a short period you may lose whatever you have achieved in the fast changing world. With globalization all across the world, a local brand may enter the international markets only if it is propped up by innovative and hyper-quality products and services. This is the only way for Armenian companies to survive and increase their brand value in the international markets. Given the role that Internet and the social networks are playing in the developed economies, any company should be duly represented in the Internet community prior to international market entry.

ARKA: Philip Kotler, a distinguished Professor of International Marketing at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, US, will visit Armenia in November. What expectations do you have? Which industries can benefit most from the marketing guru’s advisory? What question would you ask him?

R. Hakobyan: Kotler’s visit will be surely a landmark both in academic and practical terms. I think that with the elections upcoming many politicians could ask for marketing guru’s consultation on how to organize promotion of persons and election campaign more efficiently.

As a member of marketing unit at a finance and advisory group I would be like to know Kotler’ opinion on how to promote abstract services, i.e. most efficient marketing tools to promote financial and advisory services, with maximum impact but minimum marketing costs, and the application of such tools in emerging markets vs. developed countries.

 

ARKA News Agency

Updated 18.11.2011, 10:42
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