Spurring the marketing sector to greater heights

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Advertisers Association (MAA) hopes the government will consider incentives and relevant assistance that will spur the marketing industry to a higher level in the upcoming Budget 2023.

Among the assistance it is seeking are on talent retention, innovation and a waiver of import duties on selected items.

The association’s president Claudian Navin Stanislaus told StarBiz that “closer to home, the marketing industry is a myriad of stakeholders of different sizes. The sustainability of the industry is dependent on there being a place for all to grow, if not thrive.

“The industry hopes Budget 2023, to be announced on Oct 7, brings some relief for them too, or we will be seeing more iconic names lost from the industry and talents migrating to neighbouring countries.”

Navin, who is also Baba Products (M) Sdn Bhd’s head of communication and consumer marketing, is urging the government to provide funding and assistance programmes for entrepreneurs to stimulate innovation in marketing technology and to be a regional leader in this space.

A reduction or waiver of import duties on selected advertising material, he said, would also help agencies and media owners keep cost manageable and not snowball it down to advertisers and eventually, consumers.

To encourage a healthier advertising expenditure or adex, tax breaks and incentives should be considered for companies that invest in marketing.

This will encourage companies to keep the money flowing in the industry, which would help create more jobs for the many graduates looking to join the industry, he added.

“Special consideration should also be given for campaigns that promote Malaysian brands abroad. Perhaps something like carbon credits, where work on campaigns promoting SMEs abroad earns agencies and media owners credits that are tax-deductible.”

On the small and medium enterprise (SME) front, he said it was a crucial sector for economic sustainability, as SMEs accounted for 98% of the total business establishments in the country and contribute to 40% of the gross domestic product.

With a strong SME base, it augurs well for the industry as more SMEs would mean more potential advertisers.

This warrants SMEs easier access to financing, a simplified recruitment process for foreign workers and tax relief for expansion into new markets to create an ecosystem that nurtures entrepreneurialism.

“Making it easier to register a business and lowering transaction costs could also bring more small businesses into the formal economy. This will enhance tax collection not in terms of value alone but by volume as well,” Navin noted.

MAA member companies not only include SMEs, non-SMEs and multinational market leaders, but also covers brands in various industries like construction, services, food and beverage (F&B), technology, consumer, manufacturing and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG).

In terms of membership, the association has over 1,600 members via its affiliate members programme.

As the association’s member companies cover various industries, he hopes that incentives would also be considered for the different industries. All these would bode well for the marketing industry overall, he added.

“The construction sector is hoping for an expedited release of infrastructure projects under the 12th Malaysia Plan.

“This would help address the current overhang in the sector, as well as provide a boost to employment and economic growth.”

The food sector, he said, was another area which he hopes the budget would provide some relief and assistance. Some form of assistance like subsidies in the short term would help alleviate the burden of escalating costs.

He added a collaborative effort and support in lowering the cost to businesses would be a boost and would have a longer-term impact for both the upstream and downstream businesses, and ultimately on the public.

“One sector that could be of particular focus would be the tech sector. This is proven by the number of tech unicorns that have emerged locally in recent years.

“With Web 3.0, the Metaverse, and 5G within touching distance, the government should provide incentives and assistance to boost the sector on the whole.

The budget would hopefully include tax breaks or subsidies for investment in innovation, new technology, upskilling and sustainability, he noted.

For consumer goods, he said incentives for marketing locally produced goods would not only benefit brands with a strong local footprint, but will also go some way towards getting fledgling brands to conform to regulations, ethics and best practices that serve to protect consumers.

Such moves would also support the entire supply chain, both direct and support industries, and create more jobs and job opportunities.

Commenting on the upcoming Budget 2023, he said: “The budget is expected to be a positive one, but it is where and how it’s allocated that will make all the difference.

“There needs to be a balance, between supporting the public and keeping industry moving.”

Originally posted on The Star Online

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