Hub of China is a leader in devising marketing strategies to reach and build up powerful relationships with Chinese consumers. In order to successfully market to Chinese consumers one must be aware of the latest marketing trends in China.
China Marketing Agency
Hub of China is a leading marketing agency for China, and has a team of experts who specialise in understanding and implementing the latest techniques and strategies to reach Chinese consumers. We have identified 5 key marketing elements that all firms looking to attract Chinese consumers should implement in 2019. These elements are important to take into account when devising market entry strategies in China.
Content is king in China. It’s not always been the most important aspect of the Chinese marketing playbook. KOLs paid ads and promotions have been a priority for companies who have got big budgets and are looking for instant results. Many international brands have hit the Chinese market looking to copy what their domestic competitors are doing. This means using similar KOLs and the same social media platforms. What they have been unable to do is really understand the Chinese consumer and produce content which will bring engagement from their target market. One element of this is not really understanding the interests of their target market i.e what their consumers aspire to be and what will get them sharing and liking content.
Dolce and Gabbana for example completely misread their target market when they released a video of a Chinese women eating a pizza with chopsticks. They thought it would be funny and edgy, it ended with uproar and protest. The rise of video apps such as Douyin, changing attitudes among millennials towards entertainment, combined with an increasing willingness to pay, has seen the value of content rise exponentially. Marketers need to thing about developing creative concepts which are unique to their brand, distinct and engaging for their target market.
China is ahead of the game when it comes to social commerce. A history of product scandal after scandal in China has lead to cynicism of buying products and services from unknown sources. This has lead to a rise of social platform vendors whereby Chinese consumers can feel more confident in the purchasing a product/service.
The majority of social media channels like Red Little Book, WeChat, Weibo, Douyin have been quick to allow the opportunity for vendors to add links to sales. This provides easy opportunities for consumers to buy products/services at every turn. This has lead to influencers starting to turn their efforts from being paid to post to selling direct to their followers. If brands wish to succeed with their target market then the need to plan engagement strategies through a plethora of platforms is imperative to support both sales and long term brand establishment.
A Rapidly Changing Retail Industry
Physical retail spaces were used as a means to store, move stock through to customers and collect payment. This has changed given the ease at which consumers can order and pay online. Physical retail spaces are now becoming an environment to cultivate effective communication with consumers rather than a platform to directly sell.
In the past, physical retail spaces have been used to move inventory through to customers and collect payment on-site, where retail and merchandising teams would rarely intersect with marketing. However, given how easily consumers can broswe and purchase online, customers switch seamlessly between shopping in the online and offline world. Physical retail spaces are now being reimagined as marketing and engagement opportunities.
The online world in China currently claims just over 35% of overall retail sales. This is a far higher percentage than any other market in the world. Alibaba have coined the phrase the era of ‘new retail’. Alibaba’s Freshippo supermarkets are a mix between tactile and digital experiences that allow consumers to shop how they wish. You can go in-store, pick the groceries you want, pay and go. You can browse the store and get your groceries delivered to your home. Or you can buy online and go into the supermarket to collect. Or you can buy online and have your groceries delivered. Payments can be made via the Alibaba App, Alipay or facial recognition.
Measurement of Digital Performance
Analytics of data have become increasingly important in creating a successful marketing campaign in China. Brands on social media have started to realise that real follower gains are the result of brand awareness and loyalty. The traditional methods of a push marketing approach no longer work. The number of followers does not alone equal to sales performance. Engagement is far more important.
Social customer relationship management on WeChat together with the improvement in data collection are increasing the possibility of customised one to one marketing in China. For brands who have developed large, engaged follower bases on WeChat, there are important opportunities to organise user data and segment audiences based on shared attributes. Social CRM systems are designed around these possibilities and offer data collection, publishing and artificial intelligence support to manage one to one marketing on a large scale.
Chinese Marketing is International
As Chinese consumers increasingly live and travel around the world one needs to ensure that marketing strategies are approached at the global level. Messaging and content needs to remain respectful, authentic and a balance between core brand identities whilst localising for China. Marks & Spencers did not adapt enough to Chinese consumers producing apparel that did not fit the body type of Chinese people nor meet their fashion aspirations.
As Chinese people and brands venture out of China mainland, so too will its global impact on media and marketing. Not only is Douyin a highly popular domestic app in China but its international version TikTok is now one of the most popular new apps globally. The two versions combined currently have over 500 million users.
Marketing to Chinese consumers in 2018 is very different to how things are in 2019. In order to successfully market to Chinese consumers brands must understand the current climate and apparatus to engage with Chinese consumers.