Chinese digital marketing tips on Valentine’s Day

The season of love will soon be upon us, and while Valentine’s Day is a celebration of romance in the West, it’s also a busy commercial holiday for consumers in China!

Valentine’s Day brightens up an otherwise quiet event calendar in the West. However, in China, it sits within a busy New Year period and is just one love-themed event on the calendar for festival-loving Chinese, with Qixi and ‘520 Day’ making up the romance event trio! So the work that you put in now for Feb 14th could stand you in good stead for May and August too…

Digital campaigns for Valentine’s Day

With this savvy and connected audience of luxury-loving Chinese consumers, Western brands need to be innovative, smart, insightful and quick to act. A great digital marketing campaign can be crafted and delivered in time for Valentine’s Day, especially with the help of a Chinese marketing agency to smooth the path and speed up the process.

A Valentine’s Day campaign case study

Gucci, Dior and other big brands have used KOLs – or Key Opinion Leaders – to launch Valentine’s Day and Qixi special edition luxury goods. For example, Burberry fans had the chance to take part in an online ‘just for fun’ romance quiz which gave them insights into their relationship style, before receiving a special offer on a Qixi-edition bag. Dior also launched its special ‘Dior Amour’ bag to female customers with a lead-up social media campaign to create serious hype about the limited edition release (it sold out within seconds!) Michael Kors partnered with Yang Mi, its KOL partner, to co-design a special line of red bags which were equally popular.

Creative campaigns work for non-luxury brands too. For example, Starbucks used Weishi, the short video app, to launch the ‘Show Your Love’ campaign. They created special filters available to customise and theme each short vid, with prizes available to posted videos that gained a certain number of likes. The campaign sat particularly well with the younger Chinese audience, who love short video as a means to be expressive, individual and creative.

So what does this mean for Western brands?

There are plenty of digital marketing tactics that Western brands can blend together to make an effective Valentine’s Day campaign. For example, Western brands could:

Create a WeChat mini store, branded and illustrated with fun Valentine’s Day graphics.
Produce a fun digital game which will ideally have viral appeal and encourage users to share their scores. This could result in a special offer for the user.
Release digital Valentine’s Day cards for Chinese customers to share; again with a link to a conversion incentive such as a discount.
Work with a KOL within a brand sponsorship/partnership arrangement, to promote your offering to their audience and to grow your reach and customer base.
Create a special product for Valentine’s Day itself as part of a limited release line, to create desirability and to help Chinese buyers delight their loved ones with something exclusive.
Consider hosting an offline store to drive interested buyers to experience your products in person and to drive forward conversions.
Craft a beautiful, compelling and aspirational social media campaign that works across different platforms, such as Weibo, Weibo, and which resonate with your target audience through story-telling, heart-warming imagery and meaningful messages.
Launch an accompanying Baidu PPC campaign to ensure your adverts place on the right platforms.

Things to bear in mind:

1. China is a vast and complex market, with sophisticated buyers who sit in distinct consumer segments. Western brands must ensure that they deliver the right experience by creating digital marketing campaigns that genuinely resonate with their target audience/s. This means really understanding Chinese consumers and getting to the heart of what matters to them. Local research and contextual understanding are essential to create user personas and expert targeting of campaign materials.

2. Websites must be optimised for mobile and translated into Chinese as a minimum. However, many Western brands will want to maximise their ROI by setting up bespoke social media stores, creating apps and producing digital assets that are made entirely for the Chinese market. Investment in this lucrative and middle-classed market will reap rewards, but only if it is expertly deployed in order to stand out from the competition.

3. Content is key and ideally, it should be fresh and targeted. Once social media campaigns go live, you should have Chinese-speaking brand representatives on-hand to answer questions, support buyers, engage with audiences and monitor the progress of the campaign itself.

4. Targeted online advertising can be complex to manage in a country as big as China and with so many leading internet platforms offering promotional space. An automated system can facilitate this process and provide conversion tracking and intra-campaign results for adjustment as needed.

5. All activity must be measured and evaluated against original goals to quantify success. Lessons learned then be applied to the next big event and digital marketing campaign for even stronger results and ROI!

6. The administration involved to set up accounts for platforms such as Baidu PPC, WeChat official account, Weibo verified account, can be onerous and time-consuming to say in the least, with complex processes to follow and no use of English!

In all instances, Market Me China can assist you.

Working with a Chinese marketing agency

From superstition around numbers and luck through to the concept of ‘saving face’ and the importance of relationships in business, there is much to learn – and many Western brands simply don’t have time or resources to acquire this expertise in-house.

Your Chinese marketing partners

Market Me China can provide that vital partnership of insight, experience and knowledge that you need to gain a valuable ROI on your Chinese Valentine’s Day marketing campaign. From expert local content creation and liaison with Chinese partners through to campaign delivery that nets those all-important conversions, our track record speaks for itself. We act as strategic marketing partners to Western brands in all stages of their Chinese business journey, from new entrants looking to break into their market through to more established brands looking to consolidate and grow their presence and sales.

Contact the team at Market Me China to find out how we can help you to enjoy a successful marketing campaign for Valentine’s Day in China this year!