Marketing strategy is the primary struggle for Western companies expanding to Asian markets. Sectors of the traditional marketing mix (product, pricing, place, and promotion) are highly specialized, while the main task of marketing is business development. Learning to succeed in an Asian demographic requires a paradigm shift to how marketing functions in your company.
Redefining Target Markets
The Credit research Foundation published an article about international trade and methods to global expansion. They advise marketers to educate themselves on the vastly different economic climate and social conditioning of a foreign market, before choosing to expand globally. This includes addressing the issue of redefining your potential customer base.
You must ask, “What is my new customer profile?” You’ll have to consider how these new customers will respond to your brand, especially if they have comparable options that are made within the country. Most consumers will opt for the familiar, unless you can successfully position yourself as a viable product, and can brand yourself with sensitivity to culture and social dynamic.
It must be localized in taste, but use the foreign labeling to advantage. Chinese prefer foreign products because of status messages, but cultural nuances will make certain foreign products undesirable. For example, many American fast food companies fail in China because of their beef-heavy menu items. Food services that succeed have a higher ratio of poultry options along with local cuisines, rather than pushing for the standard American diet. Other cultural factors, such as the tier system, can influence which customers you want to attract and detract from your Chinese customer base.
The Importance of the Salesforce.
Relationships are the most important factor in Chinese business. It frustrates many western markets that transactions move more slowly in the east than they do domestically. But Chinese people care much more about their trust with the individual salesperson than they do mass marketing. Therefore, your salesforce has much more power in creating an effective marketing strategy than your advertising or digital marketing promotions.
Chinese marketing departments have very narrow focus on promotions and business development, leaving other elements of the mix to the engineers, management, and salesforce. Potential buyers will focus on quality of service and the trust they feel with their salesperson, rather than the brand effectiveness or information about the offer.
In the West, a company introduces itself as a solution to a defined need. In China, companies help define the need first, then work to build a relationship and help potential customer refining need. Typically a potential customer does not understand their need; they are in the awareness stages of an inbound marketing strategy. It is the job of the salesperson to target that need, rather than their solution, and guide the customer towards their company through an interpersonal relationship strategy.
The complete network of Chinese business and marketing can take years to fully understand. Baysource Global can streamline the process, connecting you with e-commerce platforms, marketing specialists, Chinese customer service, and operations management teams. When you’re ready to propel your business in the direction of international expansion, call Baysource Global for a consultation.