18 Marketing Trends And Predictions From C-Level Leaders In China
Posted by Whiteboard Animators at novembre 14th, 2017
I recently spent time in China meeting with and interviewing C-level executives across different industries and roles. What I learned was nothing short of mind-bending. Over the next few months, I will publish a series of articles that shed light on what marketers in the West can learn from their counterparts in the East.
To kick off the series, I invited C-level leaders working at companies located in China–from Tencent to Google to Korn/Ferry to WPP to Visa and McDonald’s–to weigh in on relevant trends facing marketers. The below insight is fascinating as it provides a window into the challenges and priorities of Chinese business leaders. To see how marketing in the new year is shaping up on either side of the Pacific, compare and contrast the Chinese business leaders’ perspective below with that of U.S.-based leaders. To ensure authenticity, the following are presented from the authors’ perspective with little editing.
CMOS and their teams will embrace AI in 2018 – Knowingly or Unwittingly. Scott Beaumont, President Google Greater China, Google
AI will advance more sophisticated attribution modeling, better audience targeting, better messaging, better creativity and experiences, customizing them according to time, location and event. AI will assist human expertise and talent with a scientific touch. IDC predicts that global spending on cognitive systems will reach $31.3 billion by 2019: China’s marketing community will lead the way.
The Future of Marketing is About Connection and Content. Steven Chang, Corporate Vice President, Tencent
China’s internet economy has undergone a rapid expansion over the past decade. From humble beginnings as an imitator, China has taken a dramatic leap to become a trailblazer in digital marketing. In 2018, Chinese innovation and imagination in marketing will increasingly benefit from Chinas’ sophisticated digital ecosystem that combines data, technology, and content to enable better customer insight and new opportunties.
Information Asymmetry Between Brands and Consumers Will Disappear. Jin Yudong, CMO, Great China Area, Visa
Marketing used to rely largely on the asymmetry of information between brands and consumers. However, with technological development and easier access to information, consumers now have a more significant role in information selection and screening. Brands and marketers will find that the structure, content, and communication methods of marketing systems must change. How to develop marketing content to keep abreast with the pace of technological advancement is the most pressing question for every marketer.
In 2018, There Will Be a Line of Division Between Those Who Can Adapt to Digital Tech and Those Who Can’t. Chen Gang, Dean of the Department of Advertising, Beijing University
The current disruption occurring in marketing requires CMOs to not only rethink how they manage and execute marketing, but to realize that new marketing philosophies will gradually take form. One of these realities is a shift toward a digitally-centric world. While this move has been occurring for several years, we are reaching the point where the world will be divided by those who have adapted and those who haven’t.
2018 Will Be the First Year of Real AI Marketing. Tsuyoshi Suganami, President Amplifi China, Dentsu Aegis Network
In 2018, more than ever, leading companies in China and elsewhere will pioneer AI and this will be done at speed. In China, the fastest and biggest change will be in the scale of consumers’ lifestyles. In order to keep up, marketing will focus on the utilization of advanced technology and data globally. AI will be the key change of not only Ad-tech (programmatic and propensity model) but also in changing content consuming and shopping behavior of consumers.
Content will Bring New Challenges and Opportunities for Industry. Christine Xu, CMO, McDonald’s China
The aim of grabbing consumer attention through Content marketing will remain a key priority for marketers in China. In this highly digitized world, high quality content is in short supply so people will have to be creative in their approach and with whom they are working. To develop super-relevant content requires speed, agility, and risk taking. And this will favor local companies (over multi-nationals) as they move faster, take bigger bets, and are therefore more able to be timely and relevant with their content.
AI, CSR, and BAT are the 3 Critical Priorities for All Chinese Companies in 2018. Sheena Jeng, Chair Chief Creative Officer, Publicis China
There are three key trends that will impact all Chinese companies. First, we want to use AI to let consumers touch and feel the warmth of brands more easily, not just to show them artificial and cold intelligence. It will be critical to combine AI with humanity. Second, the desire to give back to society through CSR is powerful. Companies will step up CSR efforts in order to win companies consumers’ respect, which, in turn, increases trust in brands. Finally, companies will need to team with BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Only by learning from and working with the BAT platforms can agencies be empowered to create win-wins.
Cross-Sector Marketing will Gain Popularity in the New Year. Helen Luan, Vice President of Online Media Group (OMG), Tencent
Cross-sector marketing is where a single brand needs the collective influence of other brands, even ones in other industries and sectors, to achieve better marketing results. While many companies engage in strategic partnerships, cross-sector marketing will require more extensive networks to enable a focal brand to achieve better results. Companies must now forego previous conventional wisdom that used to spell success for them and let the people who are good at cross-sector marketing try out their ideas with greater freedom.
Marketers Will Continue to Prioritize “New Consumption”. Zhao Xingji, GM, Marketing, Ambient Milk, Mengniu Dairy (a leading Chinese manufacturing and distribution company of dairy products and ice cream)
Almost all brands are focusing on “new consumption”—a group of more individually-centered young people. Not only do these young consumers have different emotional needs and values, they also want completely different products. Whatever emotional and value communication we send out for traditional products, they simply cannot satisfy this new generation of consumers’ needs for upgraded products. Therefore I believe that we are to an era where “best product wins.” The success acquired by “winning with an exceptional product” can bring both monetary and reputational benefits.
“Growth Hacking” Will Become the Priority for CMOs and CEOs. Yang Fei, CMO, UCAR (a Fleet Services rental vehicle program available for hourly rentals)
The disappearance of a traffic dividend, the waste of traditional advertising and cheating in digital ad releases are actual problems vexing most companies in their growth. The idea of “growth hacking,” which means seeking growth from a company’s existing traffic, driving marketing through technology, and gaining results through greater efficiency is a new mentality and skill that today’s company managers and marketers will need to master.
With the Advent of “New Retail,” the Gap between Traditional and E-Commerce Retailers Will No Longer Exist. Guo Guangyu, CMO, Three Squirrels (specialize in the RD, distribution, and online brand marketing of nuts, dried fruit, tea, and more)
The role of the CMO will transition from a centralized role to a localized one. The individual value of each consumer will increase even more, at the same time that brand differentiation will be driven by the customer’s experience in retail. Thus, every shop manager will become the CMO for their region, for only he/she understands their consumers the most. The CMO’s responsibility will, therefore, evolve from strategy development and implementation to defining rules that enable the brand the breathe at the experience level.
CMOs Will Spend More Time Figuring Out How to Make Internet Companies More than Their Products. Ed Zheng, Senior Client Partner, Lead of Digital Practice, China, Korn/Ferry International
One of the best-observed doctrines for internet companies is “product is king”, which is to say, no matter how good a company’s strategy and execution (including marketing) is, it will not succeed unless it has a killer product. While this doctrine will still hold, more and more internet companies in China are expecting their CMOs to go beyond promoting products, to create a holistic image of innovation, technology leadership, and social responsibility.
Marketing Mental Models Will Need To Change in the New Year. Sun Bo, Senior Vice President, Ctrip (China’s leading travel service enterprise)
Existing marketing mental models need urgent change to meet the needs for companies’ future growth. In an environment defined by a new generation of users who have sensitive and fickle consumption habits, many models that used to be reliable are obsolete. To cope with the change, we need more pioneers with a strong desire to innovate and a deep understanding of Growth Hacking, who endeavor to make breakthroughs in innovation, media, channels, product RD, big data, and AI.
The Top Three Priorities in 2018 Will Shift. Patrick Xu, CEO, GroupM China WPP China
There are three key aspects that will earn a disproportionate amount of marketers’ attention: 1) The youth culture—shifting from niche to mass culture; 2) More efficient integration and use of big data; and 3) Brand security – building a more honest and safe marketing environment.
Content Priorities for Marketers Will Focus on Short Videos. Shen Yiren, Head of Marketing Planning, OPPO (A global leader in phones, enjoyed by young people around the world.)
In the era of mobile, the period of short video marketing has come and will be a focal point for marketers next year. While consumption habits are shifting from text and pictures to short videos, marketers’ biggest challenge next year is to sustainably and effectively produce high-quality short video content that interest users.
Content Production Will Become Even More Important. Lv Haiyan, Chief Brand Officer, CreditEase (A leading FinTech company in China)
Content production will be a larger priority for fintech marketers. The brand that occupies most of users’ reading time will eventually occupy their wallets. Easy-to-understand and fun content, text, short videos and touching stories designed to capture users’ fragmented time is a priority that financial brand will undertake.
Marketers Will Build More Comprehensive Brands. Mei Xiaoqun, Vice President Marketing, BMW China
Brands are becoming increasingly sophisticated as marketers work to ensure they exhibit more human-like attributes including values, behaviors, and tastes. Communication [in marketing] is metaphorically like the effort an individual undergoes to become a member of a group through interaction. As such, data driven content distribution will become the core of marketing communications, which will require content to be broader and more diverse
CMOs Will Continue to Focus on Improving the Integration of Data and Content. Su Tong, CEO, Hylink Digital Solutions (China’s largest, independent digital full-service agency)
With machine learning gradually becoming a driving force, data optimization will take center stage as marketers realize that this underpins the future of AI. A key challenge for CMOs lies in figuring out how to efficiently integrate data and content. As marketers increase their sophistication, the ability to realize the potential of machine learning and AI will emerge.
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