Product Promotion Differences on the Asian and European Markets
Differences and Peculiarities
The differences in product promotion in the Asian and the European markets are fundamental. Unlike its Western counterparts, the Asian market is closed off from general vision, with each country having a robust internal segment of the Internet. For example in China there is a project “Golden Shield,” or the “Great Chinese Firewall,” which limits the users’ access to the global network, encouraging the use of unique marketing and sales tools, at the same time catering to a specific mentality and set of preferences.
In order to work with domestic Asian markets, future partners need to study the competition, the market as a whole, and promotion channels, then choose the best trading platforms, establish working contacts, and certify their products.
People in Asia often look for reviews by other buyers, opinion leader recommendations, and information about the manufacturer before making a purchase. Influencers can be authority representatives or bloggers with an already existing audience. One sales tool especially popular in Asia is streaming. China, for example, has pioneered streaming during the past few years. Chinese Network Internet Information Center found that over 430 million people watched streams in 2019. In early 2020, during the pandemic, the number of Chinese users increased dramatically. Livestreaming can now be called the country’s main mode of commerce. To ignore it is a grave omission for a foreign company. During a broadcast, influencers can answer questions about a product live on air.
Marketing in China is closed to the outside world. You can only utilize the local marketing tools if you are ethnic Chinese or if you have opened an LLC with the PRC’s blessing. To register an account in social media, one has to confirm their identity with a Chinese phone number, while paying for advertising requires a Chinese bank account and a link to Alipay.
Marketing events are usually linked to a select number of key dates. For example, when there are sales, every website uses different streaming and promotion tools.
Offline marketing campaigns are extremely important for the Asian market. Consumers in Korea are very selective and picky. It is not always possible to win an audience over, but if a product becomes popular with, it will guarantee a steady flow of loyal customers. For their part, Chinese people do not like working remotely and require the physical presence of an employee on site. Since Chinese partners value live communication and work relationships in the form of presentations, demonstrations, exhibitions, and tastings. In China, connections are everything. They determine a person’s social status. Through them, you can gain access to different premium resources and channels.
The Asian outdoor advertising market often leaves a mixed impression. There is much more to it than in Europe, and it is not orderly in the slightest. Looking at the local signs, one may get the impression that producers are not advertising companies, but are some kind of professional craftsmen, since the signboard are often made of unconventional materials. It is worth noting that many Asian projects could be used as generators for new ideas in the United States and European outdoor advertising. Outdoor ads in Tokyo, Shanghai, and Seoul are plentiful, especially in the central shopping districts. Neon signs, large-format printing, volumetric letters, banners, and various screens — all this has become one of the many tourist attractions for these cities. Locals believe that if a company does not skimp on good outdoor advertising, it can and should be trusted.
Installing outdoor advertising in Asia can come with unexpected restrictions. That is why you need local lawyers with a decent level of expertise as well as skilled translators. Both issues can be partly solved by working with local advertising agencies. Having a low level of linguistic accuracy can quickly snowball into a major problem, plus the credibility of those who advertise their products in the local dialect will always be significantly higher.
When looking for partners, it is important to not only trust your intuition, but also to check when the company was founded, their website traffic, and HQ location. Our company has recently prepared a list of notable companies specifically for Asia Pacific area. If you choose to look for partners on your own, try to establish a direct dialogue whenever possible. If for some it is not (for example, there is no available specialist versed in the Chinese language), it is better to go with Google, and choose international advertising agencies working in China. Many large Chinese agencies have specialists that speak English and these will usually be able to cover all the needs of their foreign clients. Of course, the cost of such services is higher than when negotiating with a Chinese partner directly, but at least your work will be relatively stress-free.
For those who do not speak Chinese and have difficulty finding partners, you can turn to intermediary international companies that specialize in researching the Chinese market. As with any other agency, when working with Chinese partners, it is recommended to first examine their portfolio. Find out if the agency curated similar projects before or not, then estimate the budget and metric forecasts. You should also ask for contract scans for the websites your potential partners work with to avoid potential intermediation.
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