Marketing, Social, Tech

Putting Chinese in a Box

cargo ship of COSCO SHIPPING Lines transporting Italian products to participate in the 2019 China International Import Expo (CIIE) berths at the Port of Piraeus in Greece. (Photo by Lefteris Partsalis/Xinhua)

Hello again from Aim2D real time, 24/7 #ChinaBusinessMarketing, Tech and Social Media News Portal of Bic Brands based in sunny Shunyi. Tuesdays we look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Friday is image gallery where we examine a place, topic or subject giving you greater insight, background to life in China, and of course, your Chinese consumer.

Today’s Tuesday business article title is a play on the olde English child’s toy, Jack-in-a-box.

Just in case you are perplexed, by Jack-in-a-box, we don’t mean that little fast food chain in the US. Rather, a child’s toy dating from somewhere in the medieval period. Possibly inspired by an English country Vicar. (see, Aim2D can be educational~)

One of the “trends” we notice from overseas is towards demographic marketing. On the surface, that is fine and dandy. After all, we have long advocated preparing different marketing content for different sectors in China.

However, in our view, the problem arises when marketers or brands take this to a level bordering on obsession.

From our perspective it seems brands spend a huge amount of time navel gazing, seemingly preoccupied with their own relevance and important. Believing customers share their passion.

However, survey after survey has clearly shown customers spend very little time philosophising about a brand. In that aspect, brands are living in a deluded, self created world of make believe.

Today’s article follows that theme and links to an excellent post by Tom Fishburne – AKA the Marketoonist. But before we link to Tom, lets just look at this so called marketing segmentation based on generation levels.

We are not disputing that teenagers have different needs and a different shopping philosophy to adults who again are different from senior citizens. So it is right that brand should invest time and money crafting for this segment.

Where, in our opinion, it all falls- down is where, having developed this insightful content for teens ( or any sector) they then broadcast this over all their media.

In effect, all they have done is create this mass block called teenage, or, in their speak, Gen Y, Gen X etc. How clever is this? Do they seriously think that each and every person who, by fault of birth, is classified as Gen Y is going to think the same? Have the same needs and wants? Back to our headline – sort of.

Don’t put Chinese in a Marketing Box.

We and every other professional, reputable marketing firm in China have said this many, many times in the past:

China is not one huge 1.4 billion market

Apart from segregating your target and deploying content on a generation level, you must also factor in location, and other seemingly inconsequential details.

Or, in the words of Marketoonist Tom Fishburne:

Too much of generational marketing is a herd effect. Genuine consumer insights run deeper than age brackets.

https://marketoonist.com/2022/08/generation-alpha.html

And of course he’s right!
If you want to better fine segment your marketing to reach the right target in China, talk to Everlyne, below.

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2 responses to “Putting Chinese in a Box”

  1. People generally speaking do not see themselves as belonging to one particular segment of society, therefore identify as part of many different groups. You are correct in saying that Brands spend an awful amount of time talking their own particular brand up, and apparently consumed with grouping individuals into their imagined segments. No matter what age someone is, their choices of merchandise fluctuates depending on prices and quality. If I buy Adidas footwear, does this mean that I identify

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    1. Thanx Steve, so glad you weighed in from a professional perspective.
      You and Tom Fishburne would get on well together.
      Generational marketing targets a very vulnerable section of society who are already struggling to deal with social and peer pressure. Meanwhile, developed nations wonder why their youth suicide rate is so high.

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