I love Pattaya. I love its musk, the way it makes me feel and the fact it seems to be getting better and better. I can’t make it any clearer than that really, now can I? There have been times during my six years now spent living in Pattaya where I have questioned my logic, but still I persevered. And I guess this perseverance which has been the secret my special relationship with this city. But what is it that has charmed me? My answers may surprise you.
However, and this was only recently that it hit me, this is part of the appeal. It is so far removed from a typical street found in the UK or America, that it is absolutely alluring. Who wants to live in a place that reminds you of back home anyhow? I came to Pattaya to escape the mundane functionality of the UK. It is the idiosyncratic appeal to Sois that make Thailand and Pattaya what they are. So, I love the roughness and cultural differences you get from everyday Sois here in Pattaya, but that alone are hardly a rationale to say you love the place. In actual fact, I would say that would be strangely odd. Pattaya and the people that live here are unpredictable. When I worked in the UK in marketing, I actually found it almost tragic that you could do your research on a specific customer type or market and,
When you look into many Sois in Pattaya, the appeal is not obvious. Many roads in need of repair, food carts difficult to navigate round, motorbikes parked into whatever space they can find. A mass of over head cables lining both sides of the road, blocking many of the shop fascias, and, in every instance, at least two stray dogs either sleeping in the middle of the road or looking to play a game of ‘chicken’ with every car that passes.
in general, pretty much predict what they were going to buy and what you needed to do to influence them. You could even pre-empt what they were likely to start buying next year too through trending analysis. There is certainly a skill in doing this, but it can certainly be done. Is that really what we as a human race had succumbed too, that of a cog in the wheel of society that others could predict? Here in Pattaya my marketing and all round business skills have had to sharpen to new heights, as I very quickly discovered people here do not act in quite the same way. Getting someone to do what you want, from correct marketing, from visiting a new pub or trying out a new restaurant, is a far more challenging affair as you, to large part, need to rewrite the rule book. A guy I was speaking to the other day summed it up beautifully. He said he was walking past a new go-go bar on Walking Street that was celebrating its launch night and so had put up a sign reading ‘Free Beer’; when he looked inside he said there were no more than a dozen customers. There are so many events and things to do that the customer now
doesn’t even respond even if you give things away to them. Market dynamics are so different, especially in the food and drink sector, where many foreign owners open not to make money, but to give their girlfriend something to do (e.g). So if there motive is not to make lots of money, by default their business decisions will be different to other commercial ventures. To put a party on with free food is common practice, to sell a bottle of beer and only make 10 baht profit is pretty normal too. I love Pattaya therefore as the customers are different and that means a new challenge. Casing point, I could find on any given week a party that was providing free beer and food, often to celebrate a launch of a new condo or what have you. On top of this the town is evolving with new businesses opening and different tourist nationalities now starting to grace these shores, and this is happening at relative pace. This also will open a new can of worms, or should I say, opportunities. You just have to love Pattaya, don’t you?
Up To You
Anyone who has visited or lived in Thailand will have probably heard this phrase, more than once! But, what does it actually mean? Or, as we explore the possibilities, are there many meanings? Let’s start with some examples of when you be gifted the “Up to you” dilemma! You’re about to go out and it’s hot, very hot and humid too. You would really prefer to wear your favourite shorts and sandals, but you find yourself asking your Thai girlfriend “Is this ok, or should I wear my long trousers and smart shoes?” She replies “Up to you!” Ok, let’s have a think. Is it, she doesn’t mind or doesn’t care, or is it that you generally wear shorts everywhere and she’s used to it, or she would rather you wore smart long trousers and shoes because you normally look like a tramp often found sleeping in a door-
way on Soi Buakhao? But, it’s really hot… So you ask again. The reply is the same, but this time she sounds more pissed off than indifferent like before. Strange game this one. Ok, so you decide to wear the long trousers and shoes as it’s a more polite look. Was it really up to you? Another scenario, very common one this! You ask you Thai partner “What would you like for dinner?” You’ve guessed the answer already “Up to you!” she replies… Right, you think long and hard about this one. You don’t really fancy the sea food buffet or eating things that are so spicy you could strip several layers of paint off the woodwork in your house with one teaspoon full, so you suggest Sizzler! Logical, they have a nice fresh salad bar that is very unlikely to cause any gastronomical upset and it seems Thai and Farang friendly. Again, you get the more aggressive “Up to you” as a reply. What’s wrong with Sizzler? So they don’t serve deep sea creatures with tentacles in a super spicy fish sauce, surely that’s a good thing right? So, you compromise and end up eating at a Japanese buffet bar served by a robot. Your new mechanical friend looks at you and seems to know that his restaurant wasn’t your first choice, but you’re enjoying the experience all the same! This was a compromise outcome, again not really up to you. Your best friend invites you for a night out with the boys. Beers and bars is the order of the evening on offer with a drunken return in the early hours stinking of fried onions and Doner kebab! You ask you girlfriend if it is ok to go. She says… “Up to you”. Does she mean I don’t mind, go! Or does she mean I really don’t want you to go out with Gavin and his mates because you’ll end up in a dodgy bar somewhere, spend far too much money and come home wearing an extra small pink flirt tee shirt together with many embarrassing photos posted on Facebook for the world to see and you will return home with a bargain 250 Baht led torch you bought from a passing street seller. This one could mean that it’s really “Up to you” if you want to come home and find the condo door locked! So, “Up to you” seems to mean many things, including; yes, no, maybe, I’d rather you didn’t, I don’t want to go to A-Go-Go bar, I don’t care, I really don’t care, I’m not listening so I cannot give you a straight answer, I cannot give you a straight answer just in case I lose face if I get it wrong and it’s not up to you at all, the list is exhaustive… If the truth be told, it seems that there is a common thread here and there is only one meaning after all. It’s “Up to you” to work it out!
“Connect, Quantify & Deliver” By Dan Cheeseman Co-Founder and Director Inspire eMagazine
Business success rests on a number of factors, certainly getting your business model right is fundamental, but often many good businesses still fail because they do not reach out and connect with their target consumer. Choosing the right media to connect with your key consumer is challenging; be thorough though as if you choose wrongly your advertising spend is wasted. I want to fast forward this discussion as I only have so many words spare for this article; but remember this: be clear on your business offer, who your target consumer is, and then get your advertising messages aligned to this consumer and choose the right media that your target consumer interacts with. You also need to consider whether you want to focus on traditional or digital media, or indeed a mixture of both. But be able to substantiate on why you have chosen what you did. Get any of these wrong and your business success is seriously compromised. Inspire eMagazine is a complete digital product that targets expats, more to the point, working expats in Pattaya (and other key regions in Thailand too). Inspire chose digital as its channel as this is where our target consumers spend most of their time, whether on their mobile, tablet or computer. Traditional media is increasingly difficult to get in front of this segment, and tracking it is impossible. If you are a business that would like to connect with good quality expats then Inspire is ideal for you, and I can explain why if you would like to arrange an exploratory meeting with me.
Inspire connects with over 150,000 expats a month from those using the Inspire App, one of our regional or national websites, weekly e-newsletters, and range of social networks that includes Facebook, Linkedin to even Russian site, VK. The Inspire You Tube channel alone gets over 30,000 views per month and we have our own TV channel running 24 hours a day in 7 of the biggest fitness centres in Pattaya too. Video is a key strategy for your online marketing, in fact its vital, more so with faster Internet speeds making video increasingly the medium of choice for many online users. Plus You Tube is the number two search engine, bigger than Yahoo and Bing, pretty amazing hey? We offer our advertisers a complete package at a price well below what they would typically pay from a traditional media option – and our numbers are there for all to see. So, if you want to CONNECT with expats, be able to measure and QUANTIFY how your advertising campaign is working, look no further: Inspire can DELIVER for your business. Our team is full of expertise that will help your business succeed, that includes marketing at the highest level with CocaCola Enterprises, developing business propositions for some of the largest retailers in the UK to professional, best in class video production. I would love to hear from you, Inspire and all our team are passionate about getting it right for you and your business (It is part of our company values). Please do contact me direct and find out how Inspire can help your business. CALL 086 155 2500 or email dan@ choicegroupasia.com