China is experiencing a huge growth in almost all its sectors including e-commerce, social media, social interaction, businesses in China, and the like. With over a billion people and with increasing incomes, many foreign marketers are now targeting China. China is fast evolving, growing to be the biggest economic country in the world.
The Chinese are a very complex group, with their behaviours, their way of thinking, way of buying, and way of marketing different from others. With time changing, China and the Chinese are changing with it, from the way they think to the way they act, from the way they consume to the way they respond, the Chinese are modernizing, turning to the digital world, but still with the mix of “Truly Chinese”.
Top marketing trends in China today
Marketing in China today is very different from marketing in China a few years back. Here are a few marketing trends to take note of:
Foreign brands should study their targets well, make market researches. There are more than 620 million internet users in China today, with most of them using different kinds of social networking sites. Social networking holds not only personal accounts, but businesses are already into different networks in China as well. Unfortunately, famous networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube are banned in China so you should go join and register their Chinese counterparts. With more than 625 million users per month, QZone is China’s leading social networking site, followed by WeChat or WeiXin, Sina Weibo, Renren, and Momo. These social networks are all very important in starting up a good marketing campaign, for the mass to know you and for you to know your market.
Also, Youtube’s counterpart, Youku and Tudou are the most famous video networking sites in China. With more than 300 million users weekly, brand awareness in these platforms could definitely be a great strategy for your marketing campaign.
First off, every website or account you should own in China should be in simplified Chinese Mandarin, a basic and known rule to anyone entering the Chinese market.
Content marketing is a strategy where the inside of your website or account contains the most important part to influence consumers into buying or at least talking about your product. There are several types of content marketing: product placements, events information online, unveil a new collection, partnerships, or a new video campaign on your page.
Product placement is the leader and most effective way for content marketing in China.
As of early 2014, 81% of the internet population of China are using mobile devices to connect to the internet, with each of them having an average of 25 hours per week on the internet. Every Chinese spends a lot of time checking emails, doing groceries, paying bills, all on their Smart phones. New applications and technologies are continuously created to make the mobile digital world more apt to everyone’s lifestyles. Now, with the mobile devices are within everyone’s reach and conquering the internet world, marketers should take this opportunity to join mobile networking apps like WeChat where M-commerce is already integrated and widely used by the Chinese community.
With the different crisis in China, a lot are using them to their advantage, using them as a marketing strategy or campaign for their products. Example would be Baidu, the largest search engine in China today, launched a vast operation to fight against hunger in China. Responsible marketing is already developing, with lots of companies going in to help in different fights while at the same time, maybe sometimes unconsciously, marketing their brand to the people.
Key Opinion Leaders
Key opinion leaders are those with a lot of followers in the different social networking sites through the internet. They are usually personalities in the Chinese television, celebrities, very important people in the politics, socialites, huge businessmen, famous bloggers, etc. With the many followers they have, they could promote brands or create brand awareness where these followers tend to be numerous.
Online to Offline Campaign
These are the marketing of certain events or happenings through social networks and happening in real life or “offline”. Also, these are when there are events for the VIPs of a certain brand and then relayed afterwards to your online campaign by possibly posting photos or media shoots to create awareness and see how this brand could conduct such nice events, creating a huge influence to buyers to get into the “it” crowd.
QR codes are also a great way for online to offline marketing as it creates mobile tagging or linking offline.
Every market in China could encounter some kind of crises, whether it would be a product shortage, miscalculated inventory, or a possible worm in the food industry. Markets should always be ready for all possible crises that could happen and implement crisis management actions within the business. One example of a really nice crisis management platform was the event that came under McDonald’s belt some years ago. There are a lot of online monitoring tools to help scan the internet and keep alert for possible occurring of criticism. Brands should control its online reputation to benefit more consumers.
Like any other Asian countries, China is very much drawn into Western brands. For the Chinese, Western brands speak a better reputation and quality of product. Having your brand Westernized could mean countless of curious buyers from the Chinese community.
Promoting two companies at the same time, in one media or one marketing platform is actually effective in the Chinese market, especially if the company your brand is partnering with has a good reputation in China.
There is also a recent wave of Chinese companies partnering with Western companies for marketing. It is important to choose a Chinese brand with good reputation before going in such partnerships.
Cross-media is the integration between a lot of different kinds of marketing platforms in China, to improve visibility and recognition from the Chinese market. This process could be very effective, but could also be costly.
If you want to know more about the different marketing strategies in China, go to our website at http://agency.marketingtochina.com/ or contact us for more details.