Marketing in China: To Stretch Budgets, Take Global Content and Localize It - eMarketer
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Marketing in China: To Stretch Budgets, Take Global Content and Localize It


Francis Bea
General Manager and Marketing Director
Zero Zero Robotics

Lean startups often need to get creative to stretch their marketing budgets. Francis Bea, marketing director of China-based Zero Zero Robotics—which created the flying Hover Camera—spoke with eMarketer’s Man-Chung Cheung about the company’s global marketing approach, which leans on content created with the worldwide market in mind and then localized through messaging tweaks and strategic media channel selection.

eMarketer: How did Zero Zero Robotics get started?

Francis Bea: Meng Qiu, our co-founder and CEO, noticed that in a lot of photos taken of his family, someone was always left out of the picture. He conceived the idea of a flying camera that not only brings the picture taker into the photo, but also captures some unique perspectives.

eMarketer: Zero Zero Robotics is based in China and is 3 years old. How did you build your international audience?

Bea: We’ve focused a lot on digital to help grow our audience in a short amount of time. For the amount of ad spending we put into digital, the awareness we got was exponential. We doubled down specifically on the markets in the US and China at the same time. By targeting the US market, which is a thought leader in innovation, our marketing efforts trickle down to the rest of the world.

“By targeting the US market ... our marketing efforts trickle down to the rest of the world.”

Facebook in particular has given us the capability to reach a vast network of people. For instance, when we promoted a video in October by working with some Facebook channels, we got 60-plus million views.

We’ve also worked with pop-up shops to generate awareness for our products, and get a feel for how people are receiving them.

eMarketer: When marketing the Hover Camera, do you use local social media channels in China—like WeChat and Weibo—differently than you use Facebook?

Bea: We’ve tinkered with our social strategy, for both English-speaking and Chinese-speaking markets, by going local in China with country-specific content on WeChat and Weibo. This content may never make it to our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.

Given the task of introducing a brand new product and becoming a more global brand, we found the most success in our social and content strategy by unifying how customers perceive our brand, while localizing the channels and making adjustments to the messaging. As a startup, this approach suits us at our current size. Our strategy will change as the organization evolves.

“We try to resonate with the innate desires of customers and what they want from a product, regardless of their origin.”

eMarketer: How much overlap is there between the content used in each market you target?

Bea: We publish content globally that is not just China-specific or US-specific. We try to resonate with the innate desires of customers and what they want from a product, regardless of their origin.

This is exemplified in our product videos, which we produce in-house. The localization of this content happens at the language and channel level—we adjust the messaging depending on the region. While our media can be used in any market, the language that frames or gives context to the content is localized.

eMarketer: Is there anything that especially resonates with audiences in your home market?

Bea: While we’re a Chinese company, we have a strong global presence. As a result, we can attract customers in China who demand quality products, because our global presence gives us a badge of authority. Among [China-based] hardware brands, we’re seeing more and more of this as in-house marketing teams become savvier.

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