New Marketing Strategies to the new Chinese Consumers

To see how major brands are approaching the emerging Chinese consumer, Forbes Insights, in association with the World Federation of Advertisers, surveyed more than 300 China-based senior executives at large consumer focused businesses ($250M plus in annual revenues) responsible for creating, managing, or executing their companies’ marketing strategies in China. The key findings include:

• Consumer awareness in China is king. About a third of Chinese (35%) and non-Chinese (32%) companies today are focused on brand awareness as a key marketing goal for the coming year. Among non-Chinese companies, 36% are focused on creating positive brand perception.

• Marketers will shift from awareness to growth. Three years from now, their top priorities will shift from brand awareness to increasing sales/revenue from China, and expanding into new regions/areas in China.

• Global brands must align with local Chinese culture and tastes. The vast majority of non-Chinese marketers (63%) indicated they believe they need to change their brand attributes for Chinese consumers.

• Many Chinese brands also are looking to extend their presence beyond their borders. Over a quarter (27%) of Chinese respondents indicated they intend to expand their brands globally. • Second-tier cities present the greatest opportunity. Overall, eight of ten respondents agreed that growth is most likely beyond the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Tianjin.

 • As marketers focus on brand development among Chinese consumers, television advertising will play a large part—79% of respondents have it as part of their marketing programs for 2011. But looking ahead, new platforms may emerge as marketers will be formulating integrated communications strategies.

• Digital and mobile marketing are a critical part of the mix for reaching Chinese consumers. About 90% of survey respondents said they are extremely or very important, especially when it comes to communicating with younger consumers.

• To succeed in China, marketers may need to overcome some unique barriers. These include a lack of reliable market research, a lack of operational transparency in the Chinese marketing communications industry, and a need to find qualified marketing talent and leadership.

Ethical standards for marketing communications need to be put in place in order to protect the reputation of Marketing Agency  with consumers and government in China over the longer term.

Time for China to Go Shopping

Few markets are as tantalizing to global brand marketers as the new consumer-driven China. The “new” market of 1.3 billion people—coupled with the meteoric rise of both the size and spending power of its middle class— holds enormous potential for manufacturers of consumer goods and services. But, clearly, the dynamics of China are unlike anything marketers have ever seen before, and it presents challenges as serious as its market is large.

Why is China taking off now? Essentially, the government has given the people the right to go shopping. In 2011, China begins its 12th five-year plan, shifting its economic focus from export-led sectors to increasing domestic consumer demand. The plan, passed by the government in mid-March, 2011, is designed to develop the country into a major consumer marketplace. It plans to increase consumer product imports, promote urbanization, and optimize the consumer market for consumption.

That the Chinese consumer is driving global growth is well known. The statistics are arresting: ten million new Chinese consumers enter the market each year. In 2010, China’s consumer market was estimated to be worth $1.7 trillion. Credit Suisse projects that the burgeoning domestic consumer market could grow to nearly $16 trillion within a decade.


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