“I’m always looking for new ways to rock the market.”

By Delani Philips

Although Danny Hoh graduated with a degree in finance, he was always drawn to the world of marketing.

As a young lad, he found part-time work at events, and fell in love with the vibrancy of the industry.

“My personality and interests have always been better suited to the dynamism of marketing, so even though I received several finance-related job offers, I held out until I managed to get a position at Sunway Lagoon as an Advertising & Promotions Executive.”

In just over 20 years, Danny has risen through the marketing ranks of the Berjaya Group and Maxis in Malaysia, and Hyatt Plaza in Doha. H

is move to the Middle East at a young age was an eye-opener and a pivotal point in his career.

“I was still in my twenties when I was offered a position at the Hyatt Plaza Shopping Mall in Doha and my role was to lead and manage the Marketing Divisions for their shopping mall, retail, theme park and hypermarket. It was a tall order, and I was also in an unfamiliar country where I didn’t understand the culture nor the language.”

Suddenly thrust into a role where he had to manage a large workforce made up of many nationalities was a challenge.

“Many of my employees had been with the company for a long time and were much older. I could imagine them thinking, ‘Who is this young guy from Malaysia coming in to be my boss?’ I had to work hard, and even alongside them on-ground, to gain their trust.”

Danny was a pivotal force behind the transformation of Hyatt Plaza Doha, orchestrating its evolution from a regular mall into Qatar’s ‘No. 1 Family Shopping and Entertainment Destination’.

On innovation and collaboration

With his passion for creative marketing strategies, Danny cites the importance of being innovative regardless of the challenge at hand.

“Marketing is about selling to an audience so you have to constantly look for new ways to get them to choose your products. I’m always looking for new ways to rock the market… something fresh, something exciting.”

The pandemic also inspired Danny and his team to look at meaningful ways to contribute to the community. The #WatsonsHereForYou campaign saw the brand distributing essential products to organisations and hospitals throughout the pandemic.

“We also supported local businesses who were reeling from the impact of the pandemic. We launched a campaign called #FeelGreatWithLokal, calling on our customers and members to support homegrown brands.”

From Watsons’ iconic consumer events such as the annual Watsons Getactive Carnival attended by over 50,000 people over the years to ground-breaking campaigns such as #HappyBeautifulYear and #GayaRayaWatsons, Danny has played a defining role in steering Watsons’ marketing success stories.

But he couldn’t have done it without the right support. “Marketing is about relationships, and being a people person makes it easier to get things done right. You must be supportive and collaborate with your teammates and other division departments if you want to succeed.”

Since Danny took on the additional responsibility of leading Watsons in their sustainability journey, they won their first accolade – CSR Malaysia Awards 2023 Company of The Year (Retail).

Marketing Breakthroughs

In his words: “Every second, every month, every year, things are changing. So I adapt to all the new things by being an early adopter. I try to keep myself up to date with news, trends and market movements.  I also believe in lifelong learning, so I won’t ever stop growing. Armed with this, I hope to continue to create remarkable campaigns that are actually remembered by everyone. If we only do the same old work, the outcome will be just as boring.”

As the love for Korean culture in personal care continues to surge, Watsons introduced its inaugural and grand K-Beauty Festa, “I Got Seoul,” in collaboration with the Korea Tourism Organisation. The K-Beauty Festa campaign introduced an exciting Spend & Win contest where Watsons Club members could win a 5-day trip to South Korea, as well as instant rebates and free gifts.

At the K Beauty Festa, attendees immersed themselves in an extraordinary world of experiential and sensory education, makeup tutorials and skincare guidance with K-beauty guru influencers, and a meet-and-greet session with renowned Korean celebrity Song Ji Hyo.

The award-winning campaign made remarkable impact, generating over 15 million impressions in just four weeks, with over 1 million recorded engagements and an astonishing 1.2 million video views. There was a 30% surge in sales.

The spirit of innovation which Danny prizes, goes hand-in-hand with what he believes all marketeers must have: agility.

Danny won CMO of the Year at the prestigious Malaysian CMO Awards 2023 for Best In Retail Marketing.

This article is excerpted from the coffee table book Who’s Who In The Malaysian Marketing Landscape – a ready reference to the leaders who are making a transformative difference in the industry. Available at https://marketingmagazine.com.my/shop/books/cmo-coffee-table-book/

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