Why Most Companies Are Terrible At Targeting the Affluent Chinese Market on WeChat

It might be surprising for you to know that many businesses that are doing marketing on WeChat aren’t doing that good of a job, which makes it so exciting when I see a really good campaign with great results, like the Oreo X WeChat Campaign 

What’s more exciting is that since so few organizations have cracked the code to WeChat marketing, it leaves the door wide open to a massive blue ocean opportunity for serious players to come into the scene.

Let me go over 2 main things that many companies are lacking when it comes to WeChat marketing:

#1: Inconsistent Posting

The first issue is inconsistent posting. This may seem painfully obvious for most of you, but since WeChat is not the main platform for many corporations, many companies leave their WeChat Official Account sitting on the back burner, and put out sporadic postings only when they want to do some sort of promotion.

WeChat has a high volume of users, while that may be the marketer’s dream, the space has also become very competitive for user’s attention.  Without a strong capture of their attention consistently means it’s a very steep climb in your attempt to reach out every time.

#2: Missing the mark on the culture and psychology of the affluent Chinese market

The second issue is that many Western companies miss the mark on targeting the affluent Chinese because they are not aligned with fully understanding the culture and the psychology of the affluent Chinese market. 

Selling to the Affluent Chinese requires a blend of expertise, method, finesse, creativity and focus that is vastly different from the Western market.

How the affluent Chinese market is distinguished from other wealthy consumers are through several factors:

  1. Around 80% of those in the affluent Chinese market are under the age of 45, which is a much lower age range compared to the rest of the world. This means their brand knowledge and desires is also vastly different and therefore has clear implications on the marketing strategy towards this demographic.
  2. A big part of their purchase decision lies in their values in the functional and practical benefits of the products and services. For example they place much more value on the quality, the craftsmanship, and the material of a product over the emotional benefits compared to other wealthy consumers in the world. One of the reasons behind their emphasis on practical values is China’s reputation for making counterfeit goods, where aesthetically the products may look the same but falls short on quality very quickly.  When making luxury purchases they want to make sure they are getting the real deal as promised.
  3. The other thing about the Chinese market in general is that developing trust is not a simple endeavor because the Chinese is very conservative when it comes to trust in general.  To put it in a very straightforward way, in China there is quite a bit of scam artists, and fraudulent activity that occurs regularly, so in order to cultivate a relationship to eventually earning trust takes time and commitment.

#3:  The third issue lies within WeChat itself  

Understanding the WeChat platform takes some know how, and there is a lot of clutter you have to get through. The backend administration of the Official Account is made up of a complex layout and navigation that requires quite a bit of learning curve and consistent usage to stay fluent.  

To set your business up on WeChat, here is some basic information on how to get your brand on to the platform as a brand.

There are 2 main types of Official Accounts

The first type is Subscription Account.

With subscription accounts, brands can push out consistent messaging and is more ideal for marketers that already have a strong content-marketing strategy.  The main advantage is that a subscription account allows for a higher frequency of messages being posted every month, however the disadvantage is that there are less options available for the integration of advanced functionality.

Also, users have to go into a specific 「subscriptions folder」 where all of the other subscription accounts that the user has also followed are grouped together.

As a part of the content marketing strategy where consistent content is pushed to the users, a subscription account would be the best fit for your company’s needs.

The other type of official account is Service Account.

Service Accounts can reach more people since it is displayed on the users’s chat list page and not in a separate folder. It allows for more access to the advanced features that WeChat offers but has more restrictions on how much content you can push out in a month. The design of Service Accounts is more intended for providing customer service to the users and for creating a better experience through a customized layout with the advanced features to meet the users’ needs. Typically these accounts are more used by companies that have e-commerce integrated and those who want to offer a higher level of client services.  

Author – Victoria Mui

Chief Marketing Strategist / B2B Sales Expert