Looking to cut your marketing budget in China? These are the considerations to take

It can be extremely tempting to consider a cut to your marketing budget in China. After all, the Covid pandemic has hit businesses hard, and we are all looking for ways to shave costs here and there and to run efficient, lean businesses that minimise waste. But the reality is that marketing is a direct investment with a clear return. Or at least, it should be.

What’s really on?

A useful starting point for any budget planning is to establish which marketing activities are giving you a clear return, and then to use these measurements to establish where and how you will funnel further budgetary spending. It sounds obvious, but it’s surprising how many businesses still don’t clearly measure their marketing ROI – and who struggle to justify spend or to link marketing activities with sales conversions.

Why you need to invest in marketing for China

When you are looking to market your products and services in China, there is no doubt that you will need to have an adequate budget. This is because you will be competing against a huge number of existing and competitor brands – some of whom will already have a strong customer base and powerful brand recognition.

What happens when you cut your marketing budget

If you are a new brand, and you don’t invest properly in your marketing, you will struggle to get your brand heard and recognised in the market – let alone gain new customers and those all-important sales.

If you are an existing brand, you will fall behind as your competitors invest in their digital marketing activity and pull ahead with comprehensive, funded, and well-conceived marketing strategies that win Chinese hearts, minds… and sales!

Now is not the time…

Research shows that cutting your marketing budget in any kind of economic downturn will invariably be a bad move. Remember without marketing in China you will struggle to get sales. Without sales, you won’t have revenue… and so forth!

Effective marketing in China does require a budget. It also requires a great strategy, time for the results to embed and repetition of marketing activities to allow them to ’embed’ within your target market’s consciousness. Similarly, you must touch on all digital marketing channels that your target customers in China use, if you are serious about succeeding in this huge, buoyant and lucrative market. Speculate to accumulate! This means investing in optimised website experience, s Baidu PPC, SEO, social media influencer relationships and advertising campaigns, online PR… and doing it well!

A contrarian view

The most successful businesses take a contrarian view to spend on marketing in challenging periods, as they know that you can’t save your way out of a challenging business climate. Instead, many of these forward-thinking and ambitious businesses see their competitor brands pulling back on their spend, and use the time to launch better, bigger, and more comprehensive campaigns to grab the space that their competitors have left behind, and to take advantage of ready and motivated customers who want to spend! This makes sense because the Chinese market is growing. The longer you leave it to gain a foothold.. and the less committed you are to doing so… the more you will fall behind as other competitor brands swoop in and gain a consolidated space with increasingly loyal customers. Act now and cement your position for long-term sales and success!

Chinese customers want to spend!

Remember that Chinese customers are already keen to enjoy e-commerce and shopping once again and that the Chinese economy is already strongly rebounding after the pandemic. Chinese customers have money, the motivation to shop online, and are keen to experience high-quality Western brands – so now is absolutely the time to build your brand with them – not to pull back and see if you can do it on a shoestring. You simply can’t – not if you want to see results.

The good news…

If you are under pressure to justify or to limit your Chinese marketing budget, then you’ll find it perfectly possible to establish your ROI for existing channel spend and to see what is working, and what might not be working.

When you have this data, you can then clearly establish where you should be spending your money and where you might ease back – or even stop spending completely for a period of time. As ever, good data helps effective management decision-making. This is where a Chinese digital marketing agency can help – providing everything from the data to the market research you need to justify your budget spend.

Establishing what works with your Chinese digital marketing

Chinese digital marketing channels are hugely sophisticated – and often far ahead of Western counterpart platforms! This means that they also allow a huge amount of rich analytics for business customers. When you place a Baidu PPC campaign, invest in Chinese SEO, advertise on a Chinese social media platform or work with a Chinese KOL – it is always possible to gather clear, tailored, and actionable data on the back of your work.

Using native language Chinese marketing skills

Of course, this data will invariably be in Chinese, and the key to optimising Chinese digital marketing campaigns will be to have the native language skills and in-depth Chinese digital marketing knowledge that allows those analytics to be gathered, interpreted, and be used effectively to adjust or recraft campaign work – and spend.

Getting the help that you need

At Market Me China, we work with clients from across all industries and sectors to help them craft and deliver highly impactful and effective Chinese digital marketing campaigns. What’s more, we provide the analytics needed to evidence every budget line on marketing spend and to show where marketing investment is generating a powerful return!

The Chinese market is very much online – and digital marketing is more important than ever in this vast audience of sophisticated consumers. If you want your brand to gain a strong foothold in China – or to maintain one as the competitive landscape only becomes more saturated – now is the time to act. Our team of professionals works flexibly with your business in the way that you need – to get results. Contact us in the first instance to find out how we can assist.