Go digital or get left behind, Grey warns Thai companies

Thai advertising agencies should focus more on digital marketing to help clients increase multi-platform access to consumers, suggests leading global ad agency Grey Group.

The New York-based agency said digital marketing has changed considerably because social networks carry such sway.

Thai ad agencies should transform from traditional media to digital media, developing multi-platform strategies, said James Heekin, the group's chairman and chief executive.


Heekin: A matter of business survival

"Digital marketing is critically important, it's a sanctuary for business survival," Mr Heekin said.

Grey Group spent a lot of time and money to transform from traditional media to digital media and internet-based marketing tools, he said.

"If you don't move towards building new digital and multimedia platforms, you will get stuck at the same level and others will overtake you," said Mr Heekin. 

Local ad agencies lack the awareness to change, so the arrival of a big agency like Grey Group will inspire them, he said.

Last year Grey Group acquired a 60% stake in nudeJEH, a Thai ad and digital agency. It was renamed GREYnJ United.

The new company has access to Grey Group's in-house broadcasting production facilities (GreyWorks), its full-service digital and social medial agency (Grey Digital) and its Hong Kong-based shopper-marketing agency (Grey DPI).

In the complex business world, the company is focusing on work integration to reach the right consumers in each country, Mr Heekin said.

"We are focusing on buying professional creative agencies all over the world, such as acquiring nudeJEH in Thailand last year. It's a famously active way to generate revenue," he said. 

Grey Group was Adweek's Global Agency of the Year in 2015 because of its ability to deliver effective business solutions and innovation to its clients. GREYnJ United won Digital Agency of the Year 2015 by Adman Awards in Thailand.

GREYnJ United projects over US$5 million in billings this year, rising 15% from last year.

"I'm happy with the growth in Thailand because we have a very strong positioning in the ad industry," said Mr Heekin.

Grey Group, wholly owned by WPP advertising and marketing services group, serves 20% of the Fortune 500. WPP is a world leader in advertising and marketing, operating in 154 cities in 96 countries.

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