Staff Writer
May 25, 2021

How can brands find marketing success in the post-pandemic era?

The ‘closed loop’ nature of Chinese tech platforms present certain challenges for marketers.

How can brands find marketing success in the post-pandemic era?
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Five months have passed as we entered 2021 and we can now say consumers' habits have inevitably changed in this post-covid era. Digital penetration is at an all-time high. A rising number of consumers are living their entire lives online, from calling their friends and family, livestreaming, to online shopping and ordering takeout. And it is up to marketers to keep up with this shift. 

"We now need to use more tools to enable consumers to have good experiences and win their hearts," said Alvin Huang, chief growth officer at LEO Digital Network, at  Campaign’s Digital360Festival. "This is a behaviour change, people cannot go to the place they wanted to as much as before, however, the consumption urge still exists."

"The pandemic has amplified the demand for traffic monetisation in marketing," Huang said. "We saw a rapid decline in offline traffic in the first two quarters of 2020, together with offline interactions. When marketers spend more on online traffic, they are also expecting more conversion of sales from the traffic volume."

Take live-streaming as an example. It is an indispensable marketing tool for marketers today, yet it has also evolved a lot from 2016 – when it first emerged. Livestreaming e-commerce had its beginnings in around five years ago. Since then, it has gone through staggering growth, reaching a total RMB164.4 billion market size in 2020, according to data from China Netcasting Services Association.

By the end of 2020, China had 617 million live-streaming viewers, 782 million online shoppers, and 930 million video audiences.

At the same time, traffic is now concentrated in the hands of a few leading players-with everyone racing to build their ecosystems. Douyin, for example, launched its online food order service in April after it set up its e-commerce arm last year. The platform wants to keep its users on the platform.

Another live broadcast giant Kuaishou made similar moves. It encourages business owners to generate private traffic through content, increase conversion rates within the platform, and finally boost e-commerce sales.

Needless to say, the competition between each platform has reached a fever pitch.

But what does it mean for brands?

The ‘closed-loop’ nature of these platforms present certain communication barriers. Marketers cannot just copy and paste content from one platform to another, which calls for the need for integrated marketing. But even the concept of integrated marketing is evolving with the pandemic. In the future, brands and marketers are keen to turn to advanced technology that would allow them to easily link up different platforms.
 

How to tap into vastly different ecosystems

Huang acknowledged there are quite a few challenges for marketers.

"How to switch easily between different ecosystems is currently the biggest challenge - it is also the biggest change I have seen for my 20 years in the business," said Huang. Almost all big platforms including Douyin and WeChat have updated their operating policy, speeding up the process of building its own independent ecosystem, which is having-and will continue to have-a great impact on future marketing tools, strategies, and the focus.

For Huang, marketers should "take advantage of the trend". When all platforms begin to set restrictions, it pushes marketers to use more sophisticated tools to manage the advertising on different platforms, and the later, conversions.

There is a huge appetite for a tool that can help manage the front-end ad distribution and back-end sales conversion of different platforms.

In April, LEO Digital Network launched Business Butler (“生意管家” in Chinese), a tool providing marketers with an integrated end-to-end digital solution.

"Business Butler" connects public traffic, private traffic and transaction, placing extra emphasis on sales conversion. Not only does it allow marketers to collect data on different platforms, it also provides intelligent management and operation.

Using private traffic as the starting point, this tool presents refined operation and management of all private contact points, driving the endogenous growth of the enterprise. Through private traffic data, this tool will further energize public traffic and transaction process to help business owners reduce costs.

More important, it not only solves the current business pain points, but also help enterprises find more business possibilities from multiple dimensions of consumers, products, and channels.

The collaboration of public traffic and private traffic can reach the essence of clients’ businesses.
 

Activating private traffic

In today’s age, different platforms all have their own characteristics, and private traffic volume is only getting bigger and bigger. One single ad on one platform has the potential of getting tens of billions of advertising volume.

It’s the priority of every brand to formulate the most effective strategy to tap into the huge volume of private traffic and to achieve precision marketing.

"The mentality of users varies from one platform to another," Huang said. "As marketers, we need to use different strategies to achieve the best results." 

It sounds like simple logic, but it requires thousands of tests behind the scene. Marketers usually need to test as much as 20 versions of a short video, to figure out audience preferences, ensuring they pick the best story-telling. 

LEO Digital Network provides tools to simplify this process, allowing brands to achieve growth in sales and customer engagement.

Private traffic plays a key role in improving conversion rates. Marketers can make use of LEO Digital Network's big data tools to find and pick the best products for different groups of viewers. In the long run, marketers can leverage big data to improve sales and transactions, which will solve the pain a pot for different marketers.

Automating private traffic operations is the best way to improve efficiency, which is also the reason for big data usage.

The automation process involves a lot of contact points of private traffic, such as official wechat and webites. Automated marketing solution customized each advertisement based on different customers. It will be a simple automated process if rules are set clearly, automatic operation will help marketers to present dynamic contents to achieve the best results.

These marketing tools help the company to break out of a single ecosystem and achieve organic growth with multiple platforms. Traffic volume may come from WeChat, Weibo, internet celebrities, vloggers, or internally from the company’s employees, involving all aspects of different platforms. It requires companies to have precise management about their traffic, achieve long-term communications through the contends, and finally direct them to sales accurately. That is what LEO Digital Network trying to provide to all its clients.
 

Building a win-win strategy

Speaking of the industry’s future, Huang believes there would be more intense competition-involving all aspects of marketing, from content to overall strategy.

As marketing strategies are changing and upgrading, different parties in marketing will need to work together to create win-win strategies. 

"In recent years, many emerging brands have built up their unique insights about marketing. At the same time, consumers prefer the authenticity and creativity of a brand, and they also have expectations about how brands interact with them. All this is pushing marketers to create customised and original content," said Huang.

In 2020-2021, fast market changes and strong local demand propelled the accelerated development of Chinese local brands.

Consumers' preference for local brands will continue to increase, leading to continuous evolution in the way marketers appeal to their customers. 

In response to this, LEO Digital Network launched a series of products and tools.

With its continuous focus on the clients and fast response on the market changes, the company grows together with the clients and is well-placed to help clients navigate consumer trends, provide the latest market insights, and help achieve sales goals.

For Huang, this is a win-win strategy.

LEO Digital Network has invested in both the up- and-down stream of the industry chain, linking up different points in the customer journey, from initial brand awareness all the way to sales – in essence, forging an end-to-end service channel.

Two years ago, the company took the lead in entering the short video and live-streaming e-commerce business, establishing strong partnerships with Douyin, Kuaishou, and Alibaba's Tmall.

The effort made by the company has also recognized by the industry., LEO Digital Network was awarded the Gold Award of Campaign "Digital gency of the Year” in Greater China for two consecutive years – the first for a Chinese local company.

 

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