Why English marketing agencies need a Chinese partner

There’s no doubt that marketing in China can be complex and challenging. After all, the China market is:

– Vast; at over 1 billion online users
– Incredibly complex, with a culture that is highly nuanced and often very different to cultural frameworks in the West
– Highly fragmented and regionalised, with consumer groups that demonstrate different patterns to Western equivalents
– Subject to a different political environment, which includes messaging censorship
– Built around different digital platforms, which are often far more advanced than Western equivalents
– Largely operated in Chinese

For English marketing agencies, these challenges can be sizeable to overcome, especially without in-house Chinese language experts, native marketers and Chinese marketing experts with significant expertise in this huge and rapidly growing market.

Acquiring the skills your agency needs

It might make sense for some English marketing agencies to recruit Chinese digital marketing experts to build an in-house team. But this can be expensive and time-consuming, and it also brings a permanent and fixed cost base into the agency at a time when this particular agency market may be growing.

A more flexible and efficient way to acquire these vital skills can be to partner with a Chinese digital marketing agency. Here are some of the key benefits of this approach:

1. Immediate access to skills

When your agency is pitching for work and keen to secure a new client, it makes sense to line up the necessary skills to create a winning pitch – but without the lead time needed to hire in-house specialists. A Chinese marketing partner can give you immediate access to those vital skills, insights and expertise you need to perfect your pitch, impress a new client and bring new work on board. From Baidu to WeChat and from website localisation to Chinese ePR, your agency will cover everything you need to deliver.

2. Insightful knowledge

Which numbers are considered lucky in China? What is a tier 3 city and why is it important? Why might you avoid white for a marketing campaign? What do Chinese Millennials want from Western brands? A good Chinese marketing agency will instantly know all of these things – and more – preventing you from making any unwelcome mistakes in this fast-growing, complex market. Even the biggest Western brands have made significant PR mistakes in China – causing anything from mockery to offence – and it’s far harder to repair PR damage than it is to avoid it in the first place. Take away the risk entirely and choose a good Chinese marketing agency partner!

3. Cost-effective

It’s expensive to hire and then maintain a permanent in-house team — costs span recruitment, management, development, facilities and desking, direct employment costs and more. But by partnering with a Chinese agency, you simply buy in the skills and services you need on a flexible, ‘as needed’ basis, with no obligation for ongoing costs. This can be a very cost-effective solution.

Equally, you will find that your agency partner already has existing relationships, networks, systems and insight, saving you the money that it would cost to begin all of these things from scratch – not to mention the time!

4. Flexible and responsive

Need rapid insight into how to set up a Baidu PPC campaign? Want to establish which Chinese social media platforms might work best for your client? Or maybe you’re keen to broker a good deal with a Chinese KOL. A Chinese digital agency partner such as Market Me China can assist you with these tasks – and more – quickly and efficiently. Working as an extension of your team, we are flexible around your needs, allowing you to confidently promote your agency brand and demonstrate your readiness to take on valuable Chinese marketing work in this exciting market.

5. Language skills

In China, there’s no sign of Western digital platforms such as Google, Facebook or Instagram. Instead, Chinese customers use platforms such as Baidu, WeChat, Weibo, DouYin, Little Red Book and others. In fact, the social media landscape is vast and mind-boggling in China, with hundreds of platforms and websites and almost a billion active users in the country. However, although the technologies of these platforms are often far ahead of Western equivalents, most of the back-end management systems are all in Chinese.

By partnering with a Chinese marketing agency, your English agency can gain immediate access to the language skills you need to navigate this complex market – whether you’re setting up a PPC campaign on Baidu, choosing which Chinese social media platforms will work best for your target audience, or looking to engage with a Key Opinion Leader. Good communication lies at the heart of any great marketing campaign, and this applies as much to the set-up and management of that campaign as to the customer messaging!

6. Fresh ideas and insights

One of the biggest benefits of partnering with a Chinese marketing agency is that you immediately bring in new ideas and powerful insights into what really works within your target market. You’ll access relevant market research, experience, statistics and approaches that are proven to work – increasing your own chances of delighting your new clients with ‘right first time’ approaches.

7. Faster delivery

Similarly, by partnering with a Chinese agency, you don’t need to waste any time getting up to speed with what’s happening in the China market, how it works, what customers want and so forth. Your new partner can tell you what you need to know and give you everything you need to begin delivering quickly and efficiently. What better way to delight a new client, secure recurring work and win other clients than by becoming known for your fast and efficient delivery in this exciting market?

Find out more

Market Me China is here to help you to succeed in China and to take your English agency forward to success in this hugely exciting, lucrative market. To find out more about how our native Chinese digital experts can help your agency, please contact us for a chat about your needs.