WQS China Marketing Blog Articles Listed

Secrets to Success in China Marketing - Marketing in China via Video and In-Real-Life Education / Training

 “ How Can I Understand, Unless Someone Explains It to Me?”   - unnamed man

As humans we love to learn about different things that interest us – food, art, technology, foreign lands, various plants & animals, how to improve our life and how to help others. It is also said that a truly wise man is not only a good teacher but also very persuasive with his words.


China has many (MANY) in its population with a growing (GROWING) disposable income.

However, these same people are not familiar with many aspects of Western culture, brands, foods, drinks, products, technologies etc. Thus, there is a big need for educating the masses about various cultures, products, foods, drinks, technologies etc... So, how about also teaching about your company, your products or services...?

Since China opened for business, there are countless cases of the proverbial “rags to riches” business stories. Literally going from horse and cart to Maserati and Porsche. Forbe's magazine reports that China now has the most billionaires. Time magazine reported that “China recorded 2,378,000 millionaires in 2013,...shooting up 82% from 2012. To put that in perspective, the U.S. only grew 18% during the same period.”

"China has many of the proverbial 'Beverly Hillbilly'."

There are millions upon millions of Chinese that have a growing expendable income but are lacking in familiarity about products that are quite common in the West – such as wines, craft beers, cheese, cooking with beef etc. By far, most Chinese have never cooked a real, beef steak - they are not even familiar with the various cuts of beef as is common in the West. Again, most Chinese have never eaten real cheese – and few have eaten the processed cheese that is slowly making its way into the Chinese rural markets. Let alone the fact that the vast majority that can not appreciate finer nuances of wine – most Chinese have never even tried the white wines (my favorite is German Riesling).

Education and Training as a Marketing Tool in China

Using education and training as a marketing tool is growing in the world, and China has to be the one place in the world with the greatest need and the greatest opportunities for Western companies and traditionally Western products.

Providing training classes – that are really classes and not simply advertising – is a great way to develop good, focused leads and – ultimately – loyal customers for your organization.

Is good advertising and good marketing all I need?

No. You also need to have a good product (a good type or style of product, good product quality etc.) and a good price. Brand experience will attract customers to a business and buy products, but will it will ultimately only be successful in the long-term if the business delivers on its promises - and at a competitive price.

It is important for us to realize that there is a big difference between marketing to your Chinese customer and educating him. Many think they're educating and training their consumers simply by explaining their product – its features, advantages, and benefits. The key fact to remember is that what's important to the consumer may not be what the company wants to focus on when discussing its own product. Rather, the Chinese consumer is more interested in what the product can do to help him.

“Help the Chinese consumer - in what way?" - you ask

Help the Chinese consumer... in quality of life, life-skills, work-skills, culture, etiquette, fulfilling needs and interests, self-improvement, social stature, business opportunities etc...

Tips to help you design a productive and effective China marketing campaign utilizing education / teaching / training.

1. Have clear goals:

Design your educational marketing around topics that will lead into sales but in a way that your viewers will benefit and truly appreciate you for sharing.

Clear goals about linking your teaching to your products is key but also do not forget to have clear goals for your potential customers as well. Help them to see the value in this new knowledge or newly acquired skill.

For example, when producing a series of make-up classes it is wise not to simply release classes on the various types of make up or various makeup application skills. But rather have a well-designed and progressing curriculum (that does not feel like a rigid curriculum, but rather a natural, fun and progressive exploration of how to be highly skilled - and highly beautiful).

Additionally, tactfully show them the values they personally gain – beautiful look, professional style, increased respect and opportunities at their place of work, possibly selling (your) makeup as a job/business or becoming a professional makeup artist.

2. Using educational marketing has the potential for much higher ROI than traditional advertising:

A well-designed training system once produced and put online – possibly on your own website and/or on a video-sharing website (such as Youtube, Youku, iQiyi etc.) - can be shared indefinitely for very little or no recurring fees.

If you follow step one and design a great curriculum that people really benefit from, they will share that with others.

Maybe you are selling hair-care products in China and are wanting to increase sales and thus you are providing tips on using curling irons, straightening irons, hair-dyes, ionized blow-dryers, hairspray (remember, China did not have a “big-hair 80s”), etc.

Then, to fully capitalize on your efforts you can host these videos on your own website. But also you will want to take advantage of other video-sharing websites. Of course there are several that are similar to Youtube's style and you can post and share for free. But there are also Chinese video-sharing websites specifically about training such as QQ classes (some of these websites are free, some require payment). Many Chinese utilize such avenues to learn a trade or to hone their work and business skill-sets.

Of course, you want to link all the sites you host your classes on to your sales channels so that you can develop the leads.

 

3. When appropriate try not to be overly "commercial-like" (try and make it feel brand neutral – at least to a degree):

Simply put, make a cracking educational “commercial” that does not feel like a commercial.

For example, if you are a construction equipment company trying to increase market share in China, then when designing a series of online classes on how to perform the suggested regular maintenance and repairing for your types of equipment, focus on teaching users about how to solve the problem in a generic way – but always using your brand of construction equipment. Have the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords focused on the educational aspect and the type of equipment and not so much on the brand name. This will make it more likely for those searching for the skills (and not necessarily your brand) to find your material on the internet.

In the end not being overly preachy or commercial-like will encourage sales of your construction equipment because it will broaden your viewing audience leading to more sales. The repairman will prefer your products because – since you trained him well – he has great confidence ability to perform maintenance and fix your brand of construction equipment in a professional and timely manner. The managers, the purchasing department and foremen will choose it because they see that – since the repairmen are well trained and timely – that your brand of construction equipment is not depreciating in value as quickly as other brands, and also your equipment is not slowing up construction sites with a lot of down time. Additionally, their company's in-house training department can use your classes to train new-hires or for refresher courses etc.

 

4. Include ideas on how your viewers profit from these newly acquired skills (and your products):

Maybe you are selling food products in China and are wanting to increase sales and thus you are providing tips on cooking various Western style cuisine. Then, to help your viewers profit, you can design a series that will take either or both the typical Chinese “soccer mom” and a person aspiring to be a chef or restaurant owner from novice to professional.

For the moms, focus on the healthy aspects for their kids and family, the social aspects of entertaining foreign (and Chinese) guests. Similarly, have tips and points that those interested in doing business will appreciate. Highlight stories of those that have made successful business being a chef, opening a restaurant, catering service etc.

 

5. Develop on-going relationships and the leads:

If you followed suggestion number one above and designed a fun and progressive curriculum then you are well on the way to developing an on-going relationship with your viewers.

The other thing needed is to get contact info and develop the leads. Make social networking connections. Think forms, emailing questions/requests, applying for coupons, discounts, advanced classes reserved for members etc. This is one area where WeChat excels – alerting existing contacts to new content, information, coupons and sales. It is important to note, that most Chinese do not use email as we do in the West (if at all). Thus email is useful to a degree but for many campaigns and markets in China it is not very beneficial.

Maybe you are a liquor company and are providing classes on making cocktails – most Chinese only mix liquors with green tea. (No, I am not kidding.) They also like to mix red wine with Coca-Cola. (But I digress.) So... you want get your viewers hooked with useful, fun, well-designed classes that they enjoy watching. Get sincere and interesting hosts that invite the viewers back for the next show as you take them through a series of training. Have an occasional game or competition that is entertaining and has the viewers wanting more. Offer special, extended videos or coupons, shirts and other "schwag" – only after joining your club and sharing their contact details of course.

5. Develop on-going relationships and the leads:

If you followed suggestion number one above and designed a fun and progressive curriculum then you are well on the way to developing an on-going relationship with your viewers.

The other thing needed is to get contact info and develop the leads. Make social networking connections. Think forms, emailing questions/requests, applying for coupons, discounts, advanced classes reserved for members etc. This is one area where WeChat excels – alerting existing contacts to new content, information, coupons and sales. It is important to note, that most Chinese do not use email as we do in the West (if at all). Thus email is useful to a degree but for many campaigns and markets in China it is not very beneficial.

Maybe you are a liquor company and are providing classes on making cocktails – most Chinese only mix liquors with green tea. (No, I am not kidding.) They also like to mix red wine with Coca-Cola. (But I digress.) So... you want get your viewers hooked with useful, fun, well-designed classes that they enjoy watching. Get sincere and interesting hosts that invite the viewers back for the next show as you take them through a series of training. Have an occasional game or competition that is entertaining and has the viewers wanting more. Offer special, extended videos or coupons, shirts and other "schwag" – only after joining your club and sharing their contact details of course.

6. Be Concise, Accurate and Informative:

We have all been through this common, annoying scenario - watching a video to get something specific, but only to find that it is unnecessarily long with useless ramblings from an overly rambunctious host. Ultimately, we end up frustrated at the host (and the brand) for needlessly wasting our time. Additionally, most people lose respect for those that “stretch the truth” about their product. They look unprofessional or desperate by giving inaccurate or falsified info.

Are you a company selling safety equipment in China? Then instead of running down a long list of “dos & don'ts” about safety, along with your products that save the day for each scenario, rather, try and focus on one or two short but useful and informative lessons per class. Having your education series divided into more concise and specific lessons will not only not waste your viewers time but will also help your SEO (search engine optimization) and in the number of shares since each lesson's titles will be more specific and more customer-specific.

Additionally, if you have recorded a long, live training seminar or demonstration etc. then, please, do us all a favor and do some good (very liberal) editing of the video. No one wants to be bored staring at lengthy, unnecessary sections of a live recording.

7. Be fun, entertaining and interesting:

No one likes watching someone who is frowning, depressed, aggravated, boring or in a bad mood do anything, much less repeatedly watch them and look to them as a mentor or for advice.

For instance, let's say you are a bank in the China market looking to increase your piece of the new customer “pie”? And your branch is wanting to develop nice returns from loans and deposits from the ever-growing pool of Chinese entrepreneurs.

How about instead of a commercial with drab number-rattling, you give your audience free classes about developing business plans, classes for startups on common banking needs and possible pitfalls, guides on filing needed paperwork, requesting loans and how to get investors etc.?

This has proven effective in increasing a bank's brand image as well as getting new, long-term and profitable banking clientele. These potential clients – from small beginnings – can turn into major depositors, good and profitable borrowers and coveted repeat business.

In conclusion

When designed well, using education and training as a marketing tool in China has proven itself – repeatedly – to be very successful, with a great ROI for both large-scale and small to medium (SME) sized companies.

Have you thought about how to get your company, products or services to promulgate in the vast China market? Have you considered using education / training as a marketing tool?

Please feel free to contact us for your questions about developing Education and Training as a Marketing Tool in China .

Using educational marketing goes hand-in-hand with another effective marketing technique in China – "grass-roots marketing". Feel free to read our article about China Grass-roots Marketing here.

 

Secrets to Success in China Marketing - The 5 Basic Steps To Creating and Managing Brand Experience for Goods

(Or... How to Get Help for Your Brand and Product Launch in China)

How do you plan for a successful product launch in China... ?

The China market is quickly becoming inundated with products from all over the world. The Chinese consumer is often found meandering around the shopping malls, grocery store aisles and online shopping platforms - mesmerized by the choices...

A brand is one of the most valuable assets of a business, and it needs to be carefully crafted to ensure it properly and authentically represents the business. (simply copying another brands style or logo will more than likely turn customers away; it looks cheap, unimaginative and lacking in originality...)

Crafting a successful brand and/or product image is often referred to as being more of a “marathon” than a “sprint” and it must take the customer into consideration.

Brands are only relevant if they are desired and “needed” by customers.

In today's digital and fast-paced world it is no longer simply the company that spends the most money in advertising and marketing that attracts the most customers, rather it is the company that makes a “connection” with the customer (both online “connections” and personal / emotional “connections”). WQS can help you develop both types of connections.

In today’s advanced technological world, customers are not as brand-loyal as they once were, they are only loyal to a brand as long as the brand remains relevant to them. Customer loyalty is no longer measured in years, it can be months, weeks or even a few seconds – the speed of a click on their laptops, mobile phones or tablets. WQS will help you give your customers a lasting impression and a strong desire for your company and products.

A company’s brand identity is typically thought of as how that business wants to be perceived by consumers - how the company wants a customer to “feel” when the customer (or potential customer) sees their advertisements or when they are their your products. However, in reality, it’s the customers - not the companies - that ultimately define a truly successful brand. 

Is good advertising and good marketing all I need?

No. You also need to have a good product (a good type or style of product, good product quality etc.) and a good price. Brand experience will attract customers to a business and buy products, but will it will ultimately only be successful in the long-term if the business delivers on its promises - and at a competitive price.

WQS China Marketing will thus design in line with your company's desires and with what your market truly wants.

“While products can be copied, built cheaper and sold at cheaper prices... a strong brand, great customer service and quality can’t be so readily copied.”

Brand experience is an essential component of consumer influence. This is vitally important to consider since in China – and most of the world - “word of mouth” is becoming a more and more powerful form of advertisement (please see our blog on “grass-roots advertising”).

So, what does it take to create an awesome - and high ROI - brand experience for your business?

 

Step 1 – Choosing and Designing the Right Products & Setting Good Product Pricing

Product (product choice and product design):

WQS can help you choose your next product, help you design your products to fit your market's likes and needs, and even manage the quality & production of that product in China. By focusing on what people want – what will sell in your market – and then helping you design your product to be the best in the world (for that specific market or price range) we will help you give your customers the best experience possible...

“as Steve Jobs famously said - and we totally agree... 'truly successful, useful and loved products are those that are designed so that design, functionality, pricing, style... seamlessly & harmoniously work together' - just like a professional orchestra...”

Pricing:

Most consumers are price-savvy (yes, even the “rich”), and an overpriced product will not sell if the competition sells a similar item at a cheaper price. While customers look for quality, they will also protect their pocketbooks (and the, yes again, the “rich” love to “pinch pennies”). If your price-point is too high (“over-priced” - as determined by your market) your sales will be low. The simple fact is that it is all-to-easy to price products beyond the customer's ability – or rather beyond their willingness – to buy your product.

“Setting good, competitive - yet not self-deprecating - price-points is essential to good and sustainable sales...” 

 

Step 2 – Product (Company) Names and Logos

Names and Logos (for the company itself or for individual products):

WQS China Marketing will help you choose names that will last and reflect both your values and the distinguishing characteristics of your company that will lead more customers to you.

Choosing Best Colors:

Many people do not realize that simply the color of a product or packaging can heavily influence a potential customer's decision. It has been scientifically researched and they have found that the number one factor influencing buyers is based on color. In fact, it accounts for 85 percent of the reason people buy one product over another. Even the ambient colors in a shop or the colors placed near a product on the shelf will have a notable effect on customer's choices and can also even influence whether they make a purchase – or not.

“People make a subconscious judgment about a product within 90 seconds of initial viewing and that 62-90% of that is based on color alone.” - CCICOLOR Institute for Color Research

Step 3 – Websites, e-Commerce Websites & Social Media

Website:

WQS will get you the best website possible for your budget – with great, professional English. All of our websites are designed with the best and current technologies. Websites are essential for any company... These days no-one wants to deal with a company that’s not serious enough about what they are doing to have a good, basic – yet modern and professional – website...

e-Commerce Websites:

WQS can design and manage your online store. We use the same technology as E-bay and other powerhouse B2B / B2C platforms. If you only have one item to sell online or thousands of products with various colors, options etc... our e-Commerce websites can handle the load. Customer's can pay with Alipay, Paypal, credit cards, bank cards etc...

Social media:

WQS can manage meaningful and productive social media accounts. Don’t sign up for every social media sites because they are new or popular. Determine which ones are most relevant to your business. Be proficient and excellent with just a few sites before adding more. (You can learn more about social media marketing at here.)

“Too many social media accounts looks desperate and is simply unnecessary...” ~ Jacob Ezekiel Aud

Company Blog:

WQS can host, compose and update your professional blog. Simple and informative blogs drive new traffic to your website and this will help people to find your company / products through search engines, social media, links to your blog, shares of your blog etc...

Step 4 – Printed Materials and Graphic Design

Business cards:

WQS China Marketing will design a professional, informative and – more importantly – memorable business cards for your company. They will be designed to be attractive to your specific market.

Brochures / Catalogs:

WQS China Marketing will make sure your company composes catalogs and brochures that convey your product range's usefulness, beauty and necessity. Usually, we want to design with clear offline to online references and calls to action regarding purchasing.

Signage:

Signs can be an essential component of a business's overall marketing strategy. A sign that contains a business's logo can help reinforce its brand. Signs are also used to draw attention to promotions and to convey information about the business and products. WQS China Marketing will capture the look and feel that will draw customers to your company.

Mottoes / Blurbs / Slogans:

WQS China Marketing will help you write the best mottoes, blurbs and slogans that let you quickly and concisely give your customers the “feeling” that they “need” what you have and that they can trust your company.

Packaging:

WQS China Marketing will design and produce great packaging – which is a vital component to a product's sales. Great packaging is especially vital for SME's and new start-ups because it may be the only “advertising” that a potential customer sees. It is vital that the packaging not only be cool and trendy but also tastefully informative.

User’s manual:

WQS China Marketing will make sure your instruction and user manuals are presented clearly, effectively and in good, standard and professional English. You want to make it easy for your customers to use your products, you do not want returned products simply because the customer could figure out how to operate or properly use your products. Moreover, you do not want to turn away potential customers with poorly written and misleading manuals.

Step 5 – Advertising and New Product Launch

B2B / B2C / O2O online accounts, profiles and product descriptions:

WQS can design and manage professional, search engine optimized (SEO) accounts, profiles and product descriptions for your company and products. Just being a member of Ali-Baba or Amazon.com or any other online sales platform does not mean people will buy your products (quite often they can not even find your product in the vast pool of competing or similar items).

Google PPC [Pay Per Click] Advertising (and other platforms LinkedIn, facebook etc...):

WQS China Marketing can set-up, manage and maintain your company's PPC advertising (“pay per click” – both text or display styles). It is now commonplace for companies in Europe and America to turn away from Ali-Baba and other B2B platforms. They now prefer to find companies via online search giant – Google. The reason? They are used to many scams and many trading companies lying to them on the B2B platforms and they know that most of the companies found via Google (and LinkedIn, facebook etc.) are more likely to be real, mature and professional companies.

New Product Launch:

WQS China Marketing can help you with any or all of steps and options in this process. (Of course not every company will need help with each step of the process and each option. WQS China Marketing will help you get the best launch for your budget.)

1. Market Research (yes, before the design stage) – finding what will actually sell

2. Design & Design Details – core & fine-tuning the design so that your product will be the “best in the world” (for your price-range).

3. Building the Brand:

  • Name, Logo, etc...
  • Advertisements
  • Website (new or updated)
  • Packaging

4. Pre-Launch Promotions

  • Announcements on Website etc.
  • Postings to news, blogs, newsletters, media etc...
  • Press Release to Local News (online and offline)
  • Pre-release to current & VIP customers (pre-orders, discounts, souvenirs, promotions, rebates etc...)
  • Prepare for Launch – training staff, designing events etc...

5. Launch and Promotions

  • Actual Launch Event
  • Advertisements Invitations
  • Emails for Actual Launch
  • Product Demonstrations
  • Accept Orders for Launched Product
  • e-Commerce Websites 

We help you make sure your customers have a great experience, they will share that experience with others. Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool.”


With a successful product launch campaign you can find you product permeating the vast China market and at a fraction of the cost that traditional marketing campaigns would set you back.

Ready to explore launching your new or existing products in China? 

Contact WQS China Marketing now for a free initial consultation on how to plan and execute a successful China product launch campaign. 

Secrets to Success in China Marketing - Grass Roots Campaigns

(Or... How to Market to Chinese Consumers 101 - China Grass Roots Campaigns)

How do you tap into a market that is 1.5 billion strong and where advertising on national TV, magazines and major newspapers is expensive  and not even logistically practical (or possibly simply not in your budget)... ?

It is not highly publicized, but the truth is, even the large corporations (that can actually afford the enormous advertising campaigns in China) are tapping into the China market via this often-overlooked but highly effective marketing technique – grass-roots marketing in China.

The China market is now officially swamped with a vast array of imported goods from all over the world; from the USA to Iran from England to Cuba from South Africa to Zimbabwe... Additionally, there is the fact that the Chinese do not typically have a brand-history/brand-loyalty to guide them and they often do not even have the most basic knowledge of the various brands (besides Gucci, LV and other powerhouses), nor are they aware of what we may consider the “obvious” differences in quality or even the processes that make one style of an item different from another style of that same item (let's say difference in types cheeses or between wine varieties or micro-brewed beers VS imported VS mass-produced beers etc.) ... 

This all means one thing... an ignorant - and MASSIVE - market. 
(Please note : these people are not “stupid”. “Ignorant” simply means not yet familiar with or not yet taught something. For example I am ignorant of the French language... but I could learn it - if I wanted to - and that lack of knowledge/skill does not mean I am stupid, it simply means I am ignorant.)

While, in general, the China market is by no means at all saturated there is an "oversupply" (and, obviously, marketing issues) of many imported goods at this time and some items are just sitting on shelves. This is clearly visible in the Chinese middle-class to high-end grocery stores - where expiry dates are a concern. Their shelves are now becoming cluttered with unsold, reduced price, fast-approaching-expiration-date imported foods (and yes, at a rate higher than the USA's wasteful 30-40%)... (In spite of this Chinese grocery stores are still expanding their already large selection of imported wines, cheeses, beers etc. with a selection that could even compete with a high-end grocery store in an American cosmopolitan regarding varieties of brands and food selection.)

One way to overcome the ignorance, - consumer ignorance and "marketing expert" ignorance - the high mass advertising fees, and other "red-tape" involved in the China marketing forum is a well planned, well planted and well watered/cultivated... grass-roots marketing campaign.

The power of a successful grass-roots marketing campaign should not be underestimated. However, just like slow-growing grass, it will take some time to to see fruitage but – also like real grass – it can also prove to be pervasive and enduring.

What are the keys to a successful grass-roots campaign?

  1. You want to get the consumers sincerely interested in your product. (think educating, differentiating, promotions, rewards...)
  2. You want them to enjoy your product – or profit from promoting your product - so much that they want to tell others. (think rewards, commissions, free training etc...)
  3. You want to help them to be your advocate. (think free promotional gifts, advertising tools etc.)

Now, of course, there are “secrets” and tips to doing these things successfully - we have the insights you need. WQS China Marketing has the experience you need in China to get your grass-roots marketing campaign planned, executed and maintained. 

With a successful grass-roots campaign you can find you product permeating the vast China market and at a fraction of the cost that traditional marketing campaigns would set you back.

Ready to explore grass-roots campaigns in China? 
Contact WQS China Marketing now for a free initial consultation on how to plan, launch and execute a successful China grass-roots marketing campaign.