How to succeed at Marketing Christmas to China

How do you succeed at marketing Christmas to China? There’s no doubt that your campaign needs to be delivered with insight and knowledge of this complex and sophisticated market. But get it right and you’ll see noticeable sales conversions in one of the world’s most exciting and rapidly growing consumer markets.

Christmas in China

Far from being a purely Western celebration, Chinese consumers are embracing their love of festivals to add Christmas to their annual calendar – with three million decorations and over 600,000 Christmas trees purchased last year. Additionally, Tmall – the B2C e-commerce platform owned by Alibaba – had 20,000 Christmas themed products listed for sale last year. There are also 100 million Christians in the country, but the festival is already seen as a perfect commercial opportunity for all retail-loving Chinese customers, regardless of faith! Just one look at the huge queues in China’s big cities last year for Starbucks’ Christmas drinks and merchandise tells you all that you need to know about the opportunities – Pine Nut White Chocolate flavoured mocha anyone?

In the Chinese marketing calendar, Christmas also fills the gap nicely between Singles Day and the New Year and it is already being adopted heavily by brands who are using their Christmas campaigns to position themselves as being modern, fun and innovative; all attributes that appeal to smart Chinese millennials in particular. For example, in cities such as Shanghai, European-style Christmas markets are brought to life with branded-decorations and a billion WeChat users are hit heavily with Christmas marketing during December.

Choosing your digital marketing channels

Now is certainly the time to organise your Christmas marketing campaigns to China’s online shoppers, and you’ll have to move fast. Remember, Chinese buyers are enthusiastic and excited about engaging with foreign trends, Western brands and international lifestyle markers; all factors that can be used to a marketer’s advantage.

1. Baidu PPC

The right Pay-Per-Click advertising campaign on China’s biggest search engine is essential. Firstly, make sure your e-commerce site is optimised for mobile and – ideally – have a localised Chinese website ready for your campaign. At the very least, your content must be translated by an expert who understands the nuances of the language and the social factors, that impact messaging. Remember too that China is home to over 550 million smartphones and consumers that browse for nearly two hours a day! The process to set up a new Baidu PPC account is difficult for Western brands and can take some time, but your Chinese marketing agency can ensure a speedy setup.

Once you have your account, you will need to create Chinese language adverts, plan and book their placement and use Baidu Tongji (analytics) to assess the results of your Baidu PPC campaign, adjusting your advertising schedule and parameters as necessary throughout. Market Me China can assist you with each stage of this, in order to deliver the ROI that you need and to get everything up and running swiftly in time for the China Christmas marketing rush.

2. Chinese Social media

For your Christmas marketing campaign China KOLs, WeChat and Weibo advertising are all essential to support your digital activity.

The link between commercial marketing opportunities in China and Key Opinion Leaders is undeniable – and last year saw plenty of social media stars putting their name and recommendations behind Christmas brand campaigns. Li Beika is one key example who partnered with Swarovski to promote their Christmas line to her WeChat following of 1.3 million. The brand chose a story-led campaign that focused on educating the audience on the history and tradition of Christmas, with ideas for food and decorations. Of course, the real objective was to product place the limited edition Swarovski gift line which were presented as Advent Calendars and which sold out rapidly through WeChat as a result. Another good example of effective KOL engagement is shown by Mimeng, who worked with brands such as Michael Kors, Hermes, Phillips and Tiffany to post a sponsored series of gift ideas for friends to her following of 1.4 million fans. The most comments received luxury lipsticks and some garnered as many as 10,000 likes.

Bear in mind though that Chinese e-commerce brands will also be cashing in on Christmas, and not simply Western competitors. Chinese brands are keen to leverage the Western festival to show that they are worldly and international in nature. For example, DJI, which sells over two-thirds of the world’s drones and which is a hot brand in China, uses a multi-channel strategy to promote their product line with special Christmas discounts and festive illustrations which will be familiar to Western customers at home.

You’ll need to choose the right KOL swiftly and engage with their booking agency to secure a contract for your Christmas marketing campaign in China and prepare plenty of engaging, exciting and value-adding content for your Chinese social media platforms. Remember that your content strategy should allow the repurposing of content across different digital channels and you must also plan in a marketing resource to monitor the accounts for engagement and to manage viral campaigns such as seasonal competitions.

3. Targeted online advertising in China

The right targeted online advertising campaign can place your brand and your Christmas China marketing campaign on the right websites, using engaging rich media adverts that are designed to meet the values, needs and interests of your target market. This process can be made easier through a powerful advertising management platform which optimises your demographic targeting, ad placement and campaign management, with the provision of in-depth analytics in real-time. The platform also uses cookie-based audience targeting which helps to drive conversions and grow brand awareness, ensuring that your budget is put to best use and without waste.

4. Other things to factor in:

ePR: Depending on your industry and market, the right media placement of editorial, advertorial and other pieces can form a vital part of your integrated marketing campaign, raising awareness of your brand and interest in your product offer.

Forums / Q&A platforms: Tieba, Zhidao,and Zhihu are consumer opinion forums/ Q&A platforms where reviews and insights are shared between users. Remember, peer-to-peer marketing is powerful in China, so monitor these channels for conversations about your brand and input where you can. If you can offer a fantastic customer experience alongside your product offer, you will gain recommendations on Weibo, WeChat and private groups. Social conversion is a specialist topic here and something that Market Me China can support you with.

Get the help you need

Whether you’re new to launching campaigns for Christmas marketing in China, or already enjoy a position within your target Chinese market that you want to grow, our team of experts is here for you. We have highly-experienced Chinese marketing experts that will help you to achieve your goals and targets. From social media campaign planning through to the delivery and analysis of your Baidu PPC and/or targeted online advertising, we ensure that your budget goes further and that your goals are met. Contact us for a no obligation chat and find out what we can do for you.

圣诞快乐 Shèngdàn kuàilè – Merry Christmas!