Digital technology is changing the way marketing is executed and also expanding the possibilities of marketing itself.
Media, messaging, platform and big data powerhouse Tencent is working closely with China’s key verticals and regional cities to harness the power of digital technologies to bring economic growth. News and video services of Tencent also brings a bigger user base, which as a result helps data collection and application, and further embeds Tencent’s highly integrated marketing strategies. Tencent’s technologies and platforms place it at the heart of the ‘internet plus’ plan, China’s ambitious national project to apply new technologies to regenerate traditional industries.
One key industry is tourism and hospitality. Tencent has expanded its footprint covering travel marketing, user insight, transactions and data-based travel management.
Tencent corporate vice-president Steven Chang believes these new internet plus travel solutions can lead the next wave of industry transformation.
“They can help create innovative experiences and deliver better services and efficiency across the industry chain,” Chang said at the 23rd China International Advertising Festival in Haikou, China.
Travel is a market ready for transformation, he says, citing the sharp rise in use of social media around online travel dialogues. For example, the social buzz during the 2016 National Day holiday increased tenfold over last year.
To boost the adoption of internet plus travel, Tencent has forged a partnership with the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA). Chang explained that for government bodies like CNTA, internet plus can mean the use of big data technology to improve decision-making and administrative effectiveness.
For businesses, it enables new forms of marketing, while for consumers it can enhance the entire experience, from selection of destination to purchase of travel products.
Tencent has created travel-specific content for its platforms, such as its VR app Xuanjing, which provides an immersive way for consumers to experience travel locations. Tencent’s financial products Licaitong and WeBank can offer booking discounts and travel loans.
Chang believes these smart solutions can create new value in the industry. The depth and connectivity of Tencent’s platforms mean that world-class solutions are available to brands in regional cities as well as the major urban areas.
Zhao Qiang, general manager of the regional development department at Tencent OMG-Tencent Online Media Group says the company can play a “connector” role in driving the development of regional cities.
Regional marketing is expected to lead the next wave of marketing industry.
The company has launched a series of solutions to meet the needs of regional advertisers. It offers a mix of capabilities through its advertising service platform Zhihuitui and Zhihuitong, as well as an advertising guidance model to fast-track the entire marketing decision cycle.
Zhihuitui is a programmatic buying platform that leverages the company’s big data capabilities and its leading media platforms, including Tencent Video, Tencent News App, Kuaibao, QQ.com and 3G.QQ.com. This enables advertisers to schedule ads and more accurate targeting through levers such as a specific audience and location.
Zhihuitong is a brand advertising solution that empowers regional brands with flexible options across Tencent’s media platform. It can help regional advertisers from the industries such as real estate, travel and municipal government better reach consumers. Zhihuitong lowers the entry cost of advertising and ensures advertisers have visibility into the timing and placement of their ads.
In addition, Tencent shares its experience and expertise with regional brands across the marketing process: strategy formulation, creative, data application and team coordination, as well as in hands-on functions such as website development, advertising materials selection and ad launch.
Liu Huan, vice-president and general manager of brand clients department at Shanghai’s Trueland Group, said Tencent provides regional advertisers a much-needed system that allows customisation specific to the characteristics of the local market, media and consumers.
Tencent’s self-service advertising solution “is quite a favourite among advertisers and regional agencies,” he added.
Chen Lijuan, general manager of Shenzhen Hometop Technology, said regional advertisers have varied needs, small budgets and are less experienced in advertising. “The key to fulfilling their needs is to deliver visible advertising results with good performance in both branding and commerce through direct and the most effective marketing means,” Chen says.