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The Malaysian advertising, marketing and PR industries have undergone substantial growth due to what could be loosely regarded as western influences. In 2008 total advertising spend in the country was RM2.9billion. The top three brands in Malaysia are from the telecommunications sector – Celcom, DiGi and Maxis – consistently remaining high spenders in the advertising industry. Other sectors providing driving force behind the advertising industry include female facial care and local government institutions. Cultural values in the country restrict the use of certain images and language.
The Association of Accredited Advertising Agents Malaysia (AAAA) promotes good advertising and informs the public on the availability of related goods and services. The Institute of Marketing Malaysia – which aims to be the leading non-profit professional body for sales and marketing practitioners in the country – and the Chartered Institute of Marketing Malaysia are two key marketing profession organisations within the country. The Institute of Public Relations Malaysia (IPRM) aims to promote PR as a contributor to the nation’s growth, whilst industry players are represented by the Public Relations Consultants Association.
The public relations industry in the country is comparatively underdeveloped. However, a range of factors, including liberalised foreign investment, is precipitating change along with an increased demand for PR services.
Malaysia scored relatively highly in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report (2012-13) in terms of the extent of marketing in the country. It was given a value of 5.1 out of 7, above the world mean of 4.1, placing it 30th out of 144 countries and indicating that companies in the country are more likely to use sophisticated marketing tools and techniques than the world average. This figure reflects the relative sophistication of buyers in the country, who are more likely to make purchasing decisions based on a sophisticated analysis of performance attributes than solely based on lowest price. In these terms Malaysia placed 17th out of 144 countries, with a value of 4.5 out of 7, above the world mean of 3.5.
Between 2006 and 2010 growth rates for TV, radio and point-of-sale were the strongest, 17.2%, 17.9% and 25.9%, respectively. The radio is seen as a growing advertisement opportunity, reaching nine out of ten Malaysians, although advertising rates are still low compared to TV and print.