May 14, 2017

Note: This is Part 2 of a 5-part series highlighting the speakers from our annual international B2B marketing conference this past November. Read Part 1 here.

Mike Golden, CEO of Adsmith China, gave us some tips at the B2B International Conference 2015 this November about what to do (and what not to do) when marketing your brand in China. This country of 1.3 billion people and an estimated 6.5% growth for the next five years (and that’s slow!) offers an exciting opportunity for global brands.

Fail Small, Fail Large

Although China offers a lot of opportunity, it can also be an overwhelming experience. “Some people come to China to try it for a year. It’s a disaster, and they leave. That’s a large fail,” explains Mr. Golden. “The small fails are going up this very steep learning curve and learning the problems marketing in China.” Mr. Bowden then detailed a practical list of marketing challenges companies face when entering the Chinese market and how to alleviate these “small fails.”

Fail Small, Fail Large

Challenge #1: No one Can Read or Understand Your Company Name

He brings the example of Heineken and Coca-Cola, who not only create Chinese versions of their names, but made sure that the Chinese characters that formed the words were meaningful and related to the brand as well. For example, Heineken in Chinese means “happy power,” and Coca-Cola means “happy mouth

No one Can Read or Understand Your Company Name

 

He told a cautionary tale of a luxury brand company that decided they didn’t need a name in China. As a result, newspapers came up with their own competing versions of the same brand. At one point, people started to trademark those names. That’s another reason why it’s so important to create a Chinese version of your company name. If you don’t do it, someone else will.

Challenge #2: Your Website and Marketing Collateral isn’t Localized

One method of localizing all of your marketing collateral is to have it translated into Chinese. But that’s not necessarily enough, Mr. Golden warns. The next step is to take the marketing collateral and give it to real Chinese marketing people and copywriters. Good copy is extremely important. Visuals are just as important as copy. While it isn’t necessary to completely disregard the global brand, you do need to combine it with some amount of localization. The amount of localization depends on the market and the brand. For B2B companies, you want to strike the right amount of balance between global and local branding. (For an example of localized content, see the example in Challenge #4).

Challenge #3: The Great Firewall of China

In terms of the web, China is a particular challenge to global brands, since it blocks many sites such as Google, Twitter and Facebook. Even if your site sits on the same server as a site China has decided to ban, your website page might not load. And according to Mr. Golden, this happens a lot. Make sure people can open and use your website to learn about your company and product.

Challenge #4: Creating a Website with Clean White Space

According to Mr. Golden, the Chinese don’t seem to appreciate the beauty of clean, white space on their homepages. He gives an example of an online trade magazine which shows the typical layout of many Chinese websites:

Creating a Website with Clean White Space

Fortunately, his company is successful at transforming Chinese versions of websites into clean, white homepages. One example he showed us was Lycored, a company specializing in food ingredients. They were able to localize the Chinese version of their website with images while at the same time create a nice, clean homepage:

The Great Firewall of China

“No one was talking about the threat of resistance. It was an invisible threat – but once it appeared, it was already too late. We gave this threat a face and a name, so people could start talking about it,” Mr. Asset explained. “There’s an old saying, `If you want to own the solution, you have own the problem.’ So we were the ones to start talking about it.”

They were also able to use a lot of red. Red is a very lucky color in China, Mr. Golden explained, so it was great that Lycored uses red.

Challenge #5: Distributing Your Content in China

Since China blocks all of the mainstream sites from the US, it has created Chinese alternatives. Your company will have to familiarize themselves with sites such as Baidu, WeChat, Weibo, and Youku and the differences between them and their US counterparts. The numbers on these sites and networks are huge, Mr. Golden says, but it can still be hard to reach the people.

For instance, Baidu, he explains, uses a completely different algorithm than Google. Speed and number of pages are major factor, as are metatags and other factors that Google no longer takes into account. In addition, sites with more pages rank higher. From Mr. Golden’s experience, sometimes companies will need to call Baidu personally in order to increase their website’s loading time.

Trade magazines are another excellent source for distributing content. They can offer cost-effective advertising opportunities, as well as paid advertorial opportunities. Advertising laws, however, are very strict. Any advertising consisting of experts that speak of benefits of a product must be cleared with the Chinese government beforehand or risk being fined.

Successful Penetration of the Chinese Market

Mr. Golden ended his presentation by telling companies interested in entering the Chinese market to first ask themselves the following questions:

  • Is your brand ready to travel? If not, maybe go to a branding company (Oz or one of the E3 partners :P)
  • Do you have a solid strategy? Don’t go to China just to try it out.
  • What are your priorities? Think especially in terms of your geography, people, and target markets.
  • What marketing actions are right for your brand and your customers? Do you understand the media your customers are using?
  • Do you have all the information you need? It takes talking to a lot of people to find out what’s really going on.

If your company has good answers to all these questions, then the practical tips above should help give you a smooth entry to the Chinese market. It can be a challenging ride, but also a very rewarding one as well.

want to learn more about marketing in china?

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Stars are born. Winning B2B brands are built over time.

Stars are born. Winning B2B brands are built over time.

By 
Nirit Elyovich
, 07/07/2024

Brand building is always complex, but B2B brands bring a whole level of complexity that simply doesn’t exist in the B2C world. It's a golden opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind standout brand promise that will make a difference in the world.

min read

Building a new brand or giving an existing brand a facelift, is a golden opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind standout brand promise that will make a difference in the world. Building a significant brand is complex, but B2B brands bring a whole level of complexity that simply doesn’t exist in the B2C world. Decision-making processes are lengthy, decision-makers come and go, and increasingly, the decision-makers are Gen Y and Gen Z. The road to the end user is paved with importers, distributors, and dealers. The orientation of most of the people you are working with is engineering or sales. Your brand needs to make its way into everyone's hearts on the long and winding road ahead. From time to time, I still hear that "in the business world, people make rational decisions." In my experience, people are people even when they sit in the decision-making chair. Their considerations are professional, business, and personal and the brand needs to touch all these points.

A meaningful brand must be relevant, differentiated, and inspired

1. Be relevant

Before you begin, define your audience. Unlike launching a product line that appeals to distinct customers, a B2B brand speaks to a wide range of audiences – existing and potential customers, employees and candidates, investors, suppliers, opinion leaders, and influencers.

However, you operate in a very specific world, so finetune the audience that interests you and create circles of influence. Who is in the first circle and who is in the more distant circles? The brand needs to speak directly and accurately to members of the first circle and still be relevant to other circles.

To be relevant, you need to know your audience, what their challenges are, and where you can help them deal with their challenges well. To motivate people, we must touch their “operating” buttons, speak their language, and solve the problems that bother them. We want to sell them what they want to buy and not what we want to sell — even if it's the same thing.

2. Build a differentiated value proposition

To build a differentiated value proposition, start with A, B, and C: Assets, Benefits, and Core Values. Assets – What are your biggest assets? What strengths are you most proud of? Make a list of the things you're best at – unique patented technology, people with unique knowledge, exceptional support and service, and more. Make sure that every strength that makes up your list is grounded in reality, and not an aspiration for something you'd like to have. From the list, extract the three most significant strengths. As much as possible, select those that differentiate you from the competition. Benefits –Step into your customers' shoes and think about what they get out of your strengths. This is where you ensure that you provide professional benefits that help them upgrade their professional field; business benefits that contribute to their business performance; and no less important, personal benefits. Ultimately, everything is personal simply — because people want to make sure that choosing you promotes their reputation within the organization. Core Values – Brand values are always important, but even more so in the B2B world. People are an integral part of your value proposition – whoever defines the specifications with the customer, develops, sells, installs or integrates, provides service and support – all these and more bring the brand to life. They must follow a uniform set of values to ensure that they deliver the benefits to the customer and subsequently deliver on the brand promise. If the company was founded recently, the values may be naturally infused into the brand. If the company is alive and kicking, the values are usually passed down over the years. Make sure the values reflect the company's DNA.

There's nothing new under the sun You may find that your competitors have an asset, benefit, or value that appears to be similar to yours. However, the combination of assets, benefits, and values must be unique to your company. That's why starting with unique assets and formulating benefits that address your clients' deep and diverse needs is important.

The more you get to know your clients, the more likely you will produce differentiated benefits. This is another opportunity for differentiation: your founders, owners, and significant employees are the unique spirit that makes your company what it is.

Assets Benefits Core values

3. Bring inspiration to life with a promise

To make sure your brand inspires you and everyone you meet, go back to your vision. The thing that fascinated you when you started your business or that attracted you to join the company. The reason you get up in the morning and go to work. The North Star lights the way for you, even on days when visibility is poor. Your vision is an ambitious statement that describes what your organization ultimately wants to be. Spoiler alert: you're not supposed to get it, you’re supposed to aspire to reach it. As Aviv Geffen put it, " The moon is so high up there that we can't touch it, and there are some who are still trying.” Your vision is there to lift you high above your daily activities and inspire you.

brand promise

Building or refreshing a brand is a strategic task

Don’t cut corners. Enjoy the journey as much as the destination. Get as many people involved in the process as possible to make everyone feel a part of it. This is how to make them the best ambassadors for your brand.

Formulating a brand strategy is an extremely important and complex process, but it’s only the beginning. From now on, the entire organization has to fulfill it, to bring the brand into the lives of those who experience it exactly as you intended. In the B2B world, your brand will touch a lot of people for many years to come. Make sure that everyone has the same experience, irrespective of the language they speak.

A brand is a promise. A strong brand is a promise that is fulfilled every day in every encounter between the brand and the world.

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driving b2b business growth

Why the Digital Marketing as a Service Model is Driving B2B Business Growth

By 
Liron Ramot
, 17/06/2024

Digital marketing is essential for B2B companies to reach their target audience, generate leads, and stay competitive. Many lack the resources to handle it in-house, making outsourced digital marketing a valuable solution.

min read
Digital marketing is crucial for B2B companies to effectively reach their target audience, generate leads, make data-driven decisions, and stay competitive in the market. However, while most B2B businesses see the need for digital marketing, they don’t necessarily have the team, tools, or budget to handle it in-house.

Digital Marketing as a Service (DMaaS) is a model that works

As an on-demand model, DMaaS allows your company to access a wide range of digital marketing expertise, tools, and resources without hiring and maintaining an in-house marketing team. While digital marketing toolboxes, tactics, and strategies differ according to client needs, they frequently comprise smart content, webinars, outreach and Account-Based Marketing (ABM), Search Engine Optimization (SEO), sponsored campaigns, and marketing automation to reach target audiences and drive traffic or conversions.

4 great reasons why DMaaS makes sense for your B2B business

4 great reasons why DMaaS makes sense for your B2B business

  1. Access top-tier talent without the overhead costs associated with traditional hires Budget constraints and HR challenges may be standing in the way of hiring an in-house digital marketing manager. DMaaS offers a cost-effective solution, allowing your company to alleviate the burden of recruitment, training, and retention, freeing up your resources to focus on your core business operations.
  2. Effectively navigate the complex digital landscape Tap into the expertise of seasoned professionals who possess a comprehensive understanding of digital marketing strategies, tactics, and execution skills that can help you achieve your marketing objectives.
  3. Adapt to changing market conditions Your business has to constantly adapt to market needs and business growth. DMaaS has built-in flexibility, allowing your business to scale up or down, based on your changing needs and budget.
  4. Set goals, measure results & change the game plan as needed In the dynamic world of digital, the goalposts are constantly changing. By setting key performance indicators (KPIs) and using accessible analytics tools such as those available in HubSpot, you can easily track the success of your marketing campaigns, optimize strategies as needed, and demonstrate the value of using DMaaS services.
Follow the yellow brick road

Follow the yellow brick road

As a global B2B marketing expert, OZ has spent years building a strong reputation. Digital trends may come and go, but dedication, commitment to success, experience, and professionalism never go out of fashion. At OZ, we believe that long-lasting partnerships are based on deep listening, understanding, and transforming your goals into measurable results. That’s why many of our clients stay with us when they move companies, and why many clients come to us by word of mouth.

Your dedicated digital account manager will be your work BFF

With OZ, your account will be managed by a dedicated digital account manager backed by a multidisciplinary team with expertise in every aspect of digital marketing, and more. Your OZ manager is always backed up by a team comprising a graphic designer, strategist, and content writer. Your OZ manager becomes an integral part of your marketing team, offering full commitment and dedication to your company's goals. It's not just one person, but an entire team of digital experts working behind the scenes to drive your digital marketing success. Every member of the OZ team brings with them a high standard of professionalism and expertise gained from working with numerous B2B companies across various industries. Boost your bottom line

Boost your bottom line

DMaaS enables you to reach and engage with your target audiences effectively, measure the success of your campaigns with precision, and adapt your strategies in real time based on insights and feedback. It’s there to act as a driving force in your marketing strategy, enabling you to access the resources and expertise required to enhance your brand visibility, attract and retain customers, and drive sustainable growth.  
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are you ready for revolution?

The Forgotten Digital Frontier. Marketing Beyond the Booth.

By 
Rosa Rabinovich
, 17/06/2024

Discover the power of integrating digital marketing with physical trade show presence to drive better engagement, increased traffic, and quality leads. Learn actionable strategies to make your next trade show a success.

min read

How to amplify your tradeshow potential – a step-by-step guide

So, you've invested quite a bit in a stunning trade show booth. The team is buzzing with excitement expecting it to be the center of attention. Yet, when the day arrives, the anticipated crowds turn out to be rather scarce. When this happens, you've probably missed a key aspect of trade show preparation - not fully integrating digital marketing into your trade show strategy.

are you ready for revolution?

The Challenge: Bridging the Gap to Maximize Potential

Too often, companies focus heavily on their booth's physical setup and ignore the digital engagement that goes with it. This oversight can lead to disappointing foot traffic, missed opportunities, poor engagement with potential customers, and a less effective exhibition as a whole.

The Challenge: Bridging the Gap to Maximize Potential

The Strategy: A Holistic Approach - Integrating Digital with Physical

Achieving trade show success means thinking beyond the booth. It involves a proactive approach before, during, and after the event to ensure all marketing efforts are harmoniously aligned to maximize your return on investment. Let's explore the steps you can take to make this happen:

Laying the Groundwork: Pre-Show Essentials

Just as the booth and marketing materials are planned months in advance, your digital marketing strategy must follow suit. This helps make sure that every aspect of the exhibition strategy is aligned and optimized for maximum impact. Setting Goals Start by establishing clear objectives:
  1.  Increasing brand awareness by strategically utilizing your presence at the expo.
  2.  Maximizing traffic to your exhibition booth
  3. Creating a database for ongoing engagement and nurturing
  4. Defining KPIs - Measuring performance and continuous improvement (eg. Number of campaign impressions, website or landing page visits, email open rate, event participation, and more)
Targeted Messaging Strategy Development: Two months before the trade show, start with a deep dive into your industry's landscape to come up with a marketing concept and message that is both relevant and memorable to your audience. Digital Infrastructure: Make sure you set up a dedicated landing page and integrate a CRM system to effectively collect leads that will allow you to follow up with interested prospects after the event. Ramp-Up Engagement: A month out, it's time to ramp up engagement with targeted ads to raise awareness. It's here that your social media strategy kicks in, building anticipation through ad and email campaigns, regular and engaging social media content, and events so that your physical and digital efforts complement each other seamlessly. Laying the Groundwork: Pre-Show Essentials

During the Show: Capturing and Engaging

When the trade show is underway, keeping the energy high is crucial. Continuous updates, engaging social media posts and stories, interviews with keynote speakers, and live interactions help keep up the excitement and draw attention and visitors to your booth. You might also want to consider adding interactive presentations and videos that boost visitors' experience, leaving a lasting impression Capturing and Engaging

Building Connections: Post-Show Follow-Up

The interaction doesn’t stop when the show ends the work is only just beginning. The focus now shifts from the show to leveraging the connections you've made. Now's the time to implement a structured follow-up process to keep your brand top of mind for future marketing opportunities. Design and implement targeted follow-up campaigns, using structured email marketing complemented by a strong social media presence to continuously nurture new contacts until they are ready to reach out to you. Last but not least, tracking the results of your campaigns and marketing activities is a must to measure their effectiveness and adjust them accordingly. Be sure that the initial contact was handled and nurtured, and answer customer questions as soon as possible. (more on that another time).
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