Marketing Strategies for a Local Consulting Firm for Foreign Investors in Vietnam: Empirical Lessons

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Chapter 1


Vietnam is changing and developing rapidly. The most decisive phase of reform in the economy was initiated in 1989. The new economic policies seek to mobilize the potential of all sectors of the economy. The private sector and foreign investment are being actively encouraged. Vietnamese market becomes attractive for foreign investors. Recently, there are a lot of foreign investors come to Vietnam to investigate, explore new market. Up to 1993, there are 105 foreign investment projects getting the investment licenses from SCCI (State Committee on Co-operation and Investment). Total foreign investment capital is 972 millions USD. (See Appendix 1).

The first place foreign investors come to seek the useful advice is Vietnamese Firms Consulting Foreign Investors (VFCFI). To meet the high demand a lot of Vietnamese Consulting Firms have been established lately. However, consultancy is a fresh field and the newly-established firms are facing abundant difficulties such as lack of experiences, do not understand market economy system, cross-cultural problems, etc. Among them, marketing is a strange but hot issue. "How to set up the marketing strategies?" is a really serious question to every VFCFI.

1.1. Statement of the problem

The number of VFCFI has been increased quickly accordingly to the supply-demand economics law. Actually, it is a promising market for the consulting firms. Yet, customer satisfaction remains as a complicated problem. What kind of services should be offered in which specific industry? And how to provide excellent services to meet the needs of customers? These are current questions facing by every VFCFI. Clearly, an approach to the effective marketing strategies is very important for any VFCFI.

1.2. Objectives of the Study

In order to improve business activities, especially marketing activities in the VFCFIs, the followings are the fundamental objectives of the study:

1.To identify the present marketing activities in the VFCFIs.

2.To analyze business environment of consultant firms in Vietnam.

3.To arrange an approach to the effective marketing strategies for a VFCFI.

4.To recommend the effective marketing strategies to VFCFIs.

1.3 Scope of the study

In order to point out the really effectual marketing strategies, the external analysis will be narrowed into two industries only. Tourism and Construction have selected. Tourism is a fast-developing industry in Vietnam. Tourism activities are visible in major cities where some large hotels are being built. Therefore number of tourists as well as number of foreign investors in tourism industry in Vietnam is growing fast. While tourism is developing, construction industry has also to be improved. The reason is construction providing hotels, roads, entertainment centers, parks, etc. to tourism industry. Moreover, Vietnamese infrastructure is very poor and damaged seriously after the war, construction therefore is essential to rebuild and improve physical infrastructure significantly. It means, there are a lot of construction projects are available in Vietnam need foreign investors to invest. At present, number of foreign investors in tourism and construction is occupied a large percentage of total number foreign investors in Vietnam. They are the major and potential customers of VFCFIs. Hence, to find out an effective marketing strategy toward these target customers in construction and tourism industry is very important to every VFCFI.

Limitation in timing and geography causes direct interviews were conducted in consulting firms in Hanoi and Bangkok. Three consulting companies in Hanoi were selected to discuss in the research based on their organization structure size (VIETCOCHAMBER-big size, INVESTIP-medium size and B & H-small size). Questionnaires covering the marketing activities in the VFCFIs, especially services...
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