Feb 03, 2021

Western corporations often find it challenging to enter the Chinese market, due to less understanding of the consumption habits. The mistake most of them make is misinterpreting the market. China is not a single and large and unified market and many factors shall be considered, including the cultural differences, the city-tier classification, the marketing trends.

Here are some marketing strategies that will maximize the probability of success when entering the Chinese market.

The power of influencer marketing

In recent years, influencer marketing has been very popular and well implemented in the Chinese marketing strategies. Prevalence of social media platforms has allowed the Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) to connect with the general public, and brands to use them to sell.

For instance, Douyin 抖音 (TikTok in the West), a short-form video sharing platform, has witnessed an growth of users. As a consequence, influencers have emerged, and they massively have created content to share with followers in no time. Indeed, Statista reports that 600 millions users are daily connected to Douyin, in China, in August 2020.

If you want to run a successful KOL campaign in China, your focus shall not be on the number of followers the influencer has. Instead, it is important to understand its audience and to estimate the reach and the conversions one can bring to your brand.

Some brands will also consider to work with lower-tier and micro-KOLs, due to the more authentic voice and better targeted audience. Compared to KOLs, KOCs (Key Opinion Consumers) connect to smaller group of people and deliver more personalized messages.

Micro KOLs are also interesting in terms of budgets, as they are generally more affordable, with a high ROI. Instead of paying a fee, the brand can offer free products or samples as an alternative.

Livestreaming becomes more important

Gen Z and Millennials value connection with KOLs and are most influenced by people in real situations who are not trying to fake things and the livestream marketing has emerged in China.

For a live stream to be successful, it is important to make sure that the person on the camera is spontaneous, creative, and entertaining as followers will only engage with the brand if the KOL shows positive and entertaining energies. Indeed, the influencer can also share a deeper understanding of the products to its audience and lead the viewers to purchase the product.

For instance, Taobao Live is one of the live stream platforms that works well in China, where thousands of potential buyers watch influencers introducing products on daily basis.

Merchants can take advantage of livestream to sell their products and a hiring a China marketing agency would help your brand to understand your market and targets by developing tailored campaigns. China has a lot to offer but defining a strategy is necessary.

The city-tiers and generations in China

Understanding the city-tier system in China is crucial for your budget planning. If you are planning to hire, top tier cities will involve much higher wages and rent your brand exposure will grow in a faster way.

The country's tier system also dictates the consumer dynamics in terms of purchase behavior:
• The younger generations, Millennials, and Gen-Z, have different consumer behavior. They tend to buy online instead of typical, traditional bricks-and-mortar stores.
• Online influence is more persuasive on Gen-Z while the Millennials rely more on learning customer reviews rather than traditional advertisements. Every eight out of ten millennials never buy a product without checking the customer reviews.
• The baby boomers prefer to buy in a traditional store, however, the Xers are more inclined to price drops and discounts.

China's marketing evolves quickly and 2021 will not be an exception. Understanding your market and consumers is a key to succeed in China. KOL marketing and livestreaming will still be the crown-bearer. Any business targeting the Chinese market should focus on the norms of the country's marketing trend.