Marketing is not a department but an accumulation of little things and details that drive people’s work, activities and daily life. In China, oriented Marketing strategy coupled with some responsive advertising shouldn’t be considered as an easy matter to handle, mostly because of social media platforms, especially Wechat and Weibo, which really differ from Western ones. The way to sustainably implement is to apprehend the specificities of Chinese way of life and netizens’ culture and habits, partly due to many foreign companies and its representatives who move into the Chinese market unprepared to various cases, failed to apprehend how the world of advertising in China is unique and growing at a fast pace comparing to the domestic markets.
The portrait of the Chinese consumer highly differ from other consumers from all over the world, that’s what makes Advertising, from the start to the end, more complex to handle. By doing more research and analysis on their behaviors, there will be more adaptability since understanding them thoroughly is not obvious.
Rather than displaying the whole universe of Adverstising in China, it can be stressed through few key points. The first one consists in understanding the shift of the Chinese consumer in multiple frames. They are being more strict and selective about the weight of their wallet, more willing to change from products to services and aiming for premium products rather than what the mass buy. Same situation for international travels, mobile payments and connected objects, showing the desire for a more balanced, healthy and wise life.
Chinese consumers’ perception of the products lifecycle and services. trends have seriously changed, that’s why traditional ideas from an external or Western viewpoint don’t apply anymore. Adaptability is the main attitude to adopt facing these new stakes.
Main trends in the Chinese consumption lifestyle and market
Domestic Producers’ uphill
Back to the old days, most markets suffer from the competition dictated by renown international brands which have gained strategic positions and legitimacy all over the years. Trust has to be earned and because of few scandals that undermined confidence between Chinese consumers and domestic producers, their markets weren’t really growing as a fast pace as we could foresee.
Meanwhile, local brands in the mobile and telecommunications sector have made their path through observation of the international brands, increasing flows and communications through global partnerships. The most significant ones that have many shopping malls and high sales, Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, Honor and so on. They differ from both giant in new mobile technologies development, Samsung and apple, in their strategy : giving more credit to advertising in themselves, with a high assessment in Chinese customers’ needs and in which they can identify themselves, that is to say, an identity brand these consumers can be proud of it.
According to recent studies and reports, Chinese consumers have a better perception of their homegrown brands, as Apple’s products sales are dropping quarter by quarter, offering less available room to foreign brands, considered as good as local ones. As Chinese markets are raising more and more international companies’ awareness, and powerful not only in local areas but also at international scales due to continuous growth and investment, advertising strategy in itself needs to be reviewed. The ancient idea about what is foreign is obviously better has to be suppressed, they are not anymore only stick to it. Remove the mere description of China as a wonderland of automatically generated opportunities, same for a fast assumption of no real competition from domestic firms in same sectors.
E-commerce cross-border branch is still topical
Along with advertising means and diversified strategy, Cross border e-commerce will continue to make additional steps ahead. Even if we enter in the new era of digital marketing, a period dedicated to new projects related to services which can upgrade people’s needs and higher expectations according to the founder of Tesla, Elon Musk, E-commerce is still coveted by consumers all over the world, even more by Chinese people.. They adopt it as the most obvious only way to purchase anything they want, good accessibility with a wide range of choices.
When it comes to start advertising here, launching a great campaign through many pictures and friendly pictures is not relevant if you don’t previously make a simple assessment on how Chinese people are buying your product and how to make it more attractive knowing that almost everything can be bought online. One of the strategies you can decide on is an interactive. H5 campaign, the same used by Pepsi fire work campaign to make your company more visible and your posts and activities viral. Thus, both reasons revolving on high ROI due to rise of better incomes and a strong storytelling settled after a right campaign, E-commerce is still a promising sector you can rely on for your future projects and investments.
Few points of vigilance : rise of VR and more connected rural communities
In a business world evolving at an even faster pace, not only E-commerce has met some flexible changes along with new technologies features such as Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality. Anyone who has been following the tech world trends knows about its results and the revenues it can generates. A Chaebol names Samsung has wisely and progressively moved into this market segment due to a diversified offer that most appeal to various type of customers’ profile, emphasizing on creativity and unique characteristics. Its products, from new TV to new gadgets and accessories of all kinds have raised Chinese consumers’ thirst for buying more “smart and connected” at a fair price.
As Virtual Reality has made its way in many big Tech companies and development platforms, it can be undoubtedly one of the most efficient ways to develop your advertising strategy since almost everybody use smartphones. VR is significant for real estate (architecture modeling, building steps, design…), travels (promotion, alluring pictures….) but also healthcare in the extent that it’s a great way to display your products’ features without preparing a huge advertising budget for costly ad campaigns which not always delivered the expected outcome. It also enables companies to produce some VR Cardboard for viewers and holders which main function consists in directly enhancing your target geolocation to anywhere you wish.
A more driven advertising in China will be to pay attention to every parts of the country, especially those who are not in the top-tiers cities such as Shanghai, Beijing, Guangdong, Shenzhen and so on. Internet has met tremendous changes and shapes, enhancing networking and social process on how people could interact with each other and buying online.
Knowing Social media platforms’ growth is unstoppable, it even started to cover wholly e-commerce online pay apps in rural areas. Advertising in these big metropolises that are more or less working will not be effective and acknowledged in the same way as rural consumers’ mindset and habits differ in many ways such as the notion of time and vision of life
According to an analysis from Huanqiu.com, Chinese people’s confidence in a higher consumption is steadily improving, with a growth estimated of a total US$ 111B during two quarters of 2017, as well as new internet users will count more than 140 million in small cities and rural communities.
Luxury and travels can’t be dissociated
Even if the e-commerce buying way is dominating the traditional outdoors purchases, Chinese consumers still hold dear shopping time during holidays and special events. The great desire of constantly looking ahead for valuable luxury goods showcase the wish to belong to the elite class, stressing a differentiation with the “middle class”. Luxury goods encompasses not only clothing or cosmetics products but also the real estate market that is gradually blossoming as new buyers are from the “Millenials” category. Chinese consumers foresee for a comfortable life though previous preparations and savings in order to be affordable to purchase a home for their children who plan to stay in the long-run.
In the same way, luxury travel market growth is not to be neglected. According to national studies and Chinese government assessment, Chinese consumers tend to travel more in their own borders. This initiative applauded by cities and regions representatives not only save their money, it’s also their will to renew with a Culture of 5000 years history. Chinese people still continue to get away for splendid destinations involving beach holidays and luxurious sites. This is not bad news for international travel product, agencies have to adapt themselves to Chinese travellers on how to better displaying the internal wonders. Last but not the least, a great occasion for luxury marketers to convey a strong expression of their brands and specific identities as some Chinese consumers are not fully aware of them.
Common techniques for advertising in China
Save & Exit Advertising by Search engine process
In China, search engine advertising is actually a really useful technique. Unlike in countries like American and United Kingdom, Chinese consumers do not automatically skip past the ads that are paid for. This is because it is very hard to tell what has been paid for and what hasn’t been. Both SEO and SEM can be very effective.
When it comes to search engine marketing the bulk of your resources should be focused on Baidu as it still maintains the largest market share in terms of search. Advertising on Baidu is just like advertising on Google, you’ll need to bid for competitive keywords and pay on a PPC basis. SEO can be a bit trickier as Baidu’s algorithm and fraud detection techniques haven’t quite caught up to Google, so many of the loopholes and unsavory techniques are still permitted, allowing some marketers to shoot up the rankings at speeds unheard of in the West.
Entering the Chinese market without a serious evaluation of search engine advertising’s extent in online business could be detrimental as it’s quite a powerful and gainful technique. There’s a difference between Chinese people and those from Western and American countries, considering Chinese consumers pay more attention to ads that are used for campaigns, since it’s harsh to tell a big difference between paid ads or regular ones. Harness the volume of your marketing resources on Baidu which holds the biggest market shares for advertising through SEO and SEM tailored and targeted strategies. From the start, you have to undertake an intelligence report on which competitive keywords are working fine. As long as fraud detection system is not that fathomless comparing to Google, no-conventional techniques are still allowed to let you climb the ranks in SEO at an unprecedented pace.
The way you allure your audience require some responsive Videos advertising on main social media, Wechat, Weibo and recently Tencent, considering social media platforms are easily countable. Advertsing marketers will better engage potential customers though In-feed videos that let you integrate an attractive content with a high return and feedbacks based on reactions and behavioral tags. Selling your product will seem easier, thanks to constant “spamming” of these picture-video, shareable to an even larger audience comparing to your forecasts if it’s well-built and simple to understand.
Alongside Video advertising comes the onwards influencing presence of Key Opinions Leaders. They are popular through their ideas, careers or even buzz posts and followed by tons on people. Targeting these KOL may appear harsh, but finding the one suitable to your advertising budget is possible. Their followers, partnerships and personal opinions can be driven at your advantage, through campaign promotion or live streaming video like Eagle Live.