Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly important to businesses in the US and Canada. Although they are accountable for more than $61 billion in consumer spending, the businesses find the Chinese consumers hard to secure because there was little research was done into their mindset and media habits. You don’t know them, you can’t talk to them.
Some businesses start reaching out to Chinese communities by translating their English/French ads into Chinese and launching campaigns on Google or Facebook networks. Guess what? The customers don’t buy it! Some businesses start reaching out to Chinese communities by translating their English/French ads into Chinese and launching campaigns on Google or Facebook networks. Guess what? The customers don’t buy it!
“Know thy enemy”
We can never talk enough about the iceberg theory when a company expands to a different market of customers. Words are the first thing a company encounters when it communicates with potential Chinese customers. However, if you want to succeed in attracting their attentions, you have to go further than that.
From a marketer’s perspective, the first thing you need to do, rather than throwing a campaign at them, is to understand your customers’ mindsets and their behavior. Where do they buy stuff? What are their trusted sources of information? What language will motivate them to buy? There are tons of questions you need to answer before you blindly launch a campaign.
With years of marketing in the Chinese communities in North America, ATME will be sharing our insights into Chinese customers. Let’s start from the audience segments, aka., “who are they?”
Chinese have their unique characteristics, but not all Chinese are the same
You might wonder “I have set up Chinese accounts on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. It just doesn’t work.”
It’s been almost 300 years since the first batch of Chinese immigrants landed in North America. They may look similar to you, but they consist of different groups of people with different habits.
- Cantonese-speaking Chinese audience
The majority of this group is more integrated into the western culture than other groups because of the former British colony. They have grown up in a dual culture and use to the western social, cultural and business environment. They can be attracted through general marketing channels as well as other Cantonese channels.
- Mandarin-speaking Chinese audience
People from mainland China identify themselves most with Chinese culture. Most of them came to North America after the 1990s and early 2000s. Because of the Great Firewall, they have very limited access to media channels like Facebook or YouTube. These types of media channels are considered more of an entertainment source for them. They are more used to acquiring information from Chinese media channels like Baidu (substitution of Google), Taobao (substitution of Amazon or eBay), and Youku or iQIYI (substitution of YouTube). Even the famous APP, Tiktok, has a Chinese version called Douyin.
- Taiwanese Chinese audience
This group falls between the Hong Kong Chinese audience and the Mainland Chinese audience. They have full access to the worldwide information system but culturally, they are less connected to the western world comparing with the Hong Kong Chinese audience. This group of audience is very familiar with the general marketing channels and social media platforms but they prefer to acquire information in traditional Chinese.
After understanding who they are, you need to know where to find them and what language do you use to communicate with them. It is more than just using their language, you need to know the effective way to interact with them so that your campaigns could be effective.
At ATME, we help brands build differentiation and empower companies’ marketing strategies towards the Chinese community across North America. Contact us for more ideas in marketing to the Chinese community.