The Marketing Association of Thailand (MAT) forecasts marketing spending next year will increase by only 3% because of the negative outlook for the global economy.
Marketers are expected to prioritise their investment in the areas of content platforms, commerce platforms and payment platforms next year, said the agency.
"Next year is a challenging one for marketers and they must understand consumers precisely and clearly," said Somchat Visitchaichan, vice-president of the association during the second day of the 3rd World Marketing Forum 2023, hosted by the Asia Marketing Federation and the MAT. The event ended on Friday.
Marketers need to think "out of the box" as everything will be unpredictable, uncertain and uncontrollable because of global economic uncertainties and geopolitical conflicts, said Mr Somchat.
He cited a survey jointly conducted by the MAT and the Chief Marketing Officers Council that polled 121 respondents, which each have an annual revenue of more than US$100,000. Roughly 50% of the respondents said the local economy is unlikely to expand next year and is expected to post average growth of just 1.33%, in line with economic volatility worldwide.
Mr Somchat said three factors customers are expected to focus on next year are health, quality and digital technology, according to the respondents.
In last year's survey, quality was the top priority. Health and well-being are part of a global trend that is not just physical, but also psychological, he said.
Ake Pattaratanakun, vice-president for communication and ethics at the association, said more than 50% of respondents said they will not increase their marketing budget next year or they expect to increase it by only 2.9%. Last year, 5-10% of respondents expected to increase their budgets for 2023.
In last year's survey, commerce platforms were the first priority for marketers, but this year content marketing is the main focus, specifically social media, said Mr Ake.
However, Mr Somchat said chief marketing officers also continue to prioritise human development, profit-making and responsibility for the planet.
Mr Ake said in terms of deep tech in the future, chief marketing officers see artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT) and robotics as being important tools that will lead to success.
Marketers need to embrace technologies and build relationships with customers, partners and stakeholders to co-create open innovation, said Mr Somchat.
He said marketers should come up with new ideas as they cannot use the same methods to ensure success.
Mr Somchat cited Phyathai Hospital as an example. It offers an "all you can health check" using a buffet model, which has attracted more customers to many departments of the hospital. The campaign had a larger marketing budget, but it increased the hospital's revenue, he said.
Marketers need to think and act quickly, said Mr Somchat. They need to experiment during each campaign in order to stay competitive. If they are too concerned about uncontrollable factors, it will be hard to get the job done, he said.
Mr Ake said Thailand's marketing trends next year focus on customers, data and sustainability.
He said AI should help marketers do more with with less money. The technology offers a deeper dive in terms of customer insights and should help marketers understand each customer in more than a single dimension, said Mr Ake.
The use of IoT and AI, including generative AI, would empower marketers, he said. Still, it is people who decide how to use these tools to create things, said Mr Ake.