Key Article takeaways
As the world continues its march towards ubiquitous computing and the AI technology stack grows at an ever-increasing rate, global demand for semiconductors, and their associated industries, is also constantly expanding. To illustrate the point, McKinsey estimates that this will see demand for semiconductors related to AI growing at a rate 5 times greater than the rest of the market.
Looking at China specifically, which recently hosted the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, the country consumed $125 billion worth of chips in 2019, however, only manufactured around 16% of them. The Chinese government is pushing for investment in chip design and production with a desire to become more self-sufficient in the future, but it is unlikely to meet its own production targets by 2025, according to Mark Lapedus at Semiconductor Engineering.
So, there is growth and opportunity out there for semiconductor businesses that are smart, agile and willing to take a long look at their China marketing strategy.
Account-based management (ABM) has been a hot topic in marketing circles for a while now, and while the individual components of a good ABM campaign are nothing particularly new to marketing and sales professionals, thinking creatively and within all the latest tools and channels we have at our disposal to develop demand generation campaigns that truly foster leads is under-utlized here in China. This then is a huge opportunity for businesses operating in fiercely competitive and complex industries such as those in the semiconductor space.
For example, outside of China, WeChat is not widely used and can be largely misunderstood and written off as the Chinese equivalent to WhatsApp or just another messenger platforms by marketers who have never had the opportunity to get hands on with it.
The reality is that WeChat is ubiquitous here, a ‘swiss-army’ channel that can be part of a successful ABM or demand generation B2B marketing strategy. But to be successful from a lead generation point of you, your use of WeChat has to be targeted, innovative and based on engaging content that resonates with your potential customers and their pain points. Your sales team also have a major role play in any successful campaign as it will be they who take on a lot of the responsibility for getting your content in front of potential customers. For this sort of initiative WeChat is acting like a sales enablement platform, supporting your sales and marketing teams in getting your targeted messaging and content in front of your customers.
The digital ecosystem in China, of which WeChat is just one part of, may look to have a lot of similarities to other overseas channels and platforms, but dig a little deeper and things get complicated quickly. Performance marketing, the line between paid and earned media, SEO/SEM, all have very different characteristics here in China compared to anywhere else in the world and require specialist skills and knowledge to navigate.
So, your global social media strategy is unlikely to have the same impact for example, and a bespoke China social media strategy is necessary in order to generate results. Your following will grow differently, engagement will not happen in the same way you are used to, and even your website will require some special attention to make sure it is optimized for the China market (this can include tweaking site messaging, making sure Chinese language is easily available and accurately translated, including imagery that is appealing to Chinese audiences, and so on).
A good way to guide your thinking on China semiconductor marketing is to address the following questions:
B2B marketers in China operating in complex markets, such as the semiconductor industry, are generating success by adopting account-based marketing strategies (and hybrids) that create growth by truly engaging with decision-makers. These types of strategies are proving successful because:
Brandigo recently worked with National Instruments (NI) on one such demand generation campaign.
The company came to us with a brief to create some excitement amongst the semiconductor test engineer community in order to attract qualified sales leads from a list of targeted companies. Through insight research, we understood that the target audience of semicon test engineers like gamification, and were incredibly academic and competitive. This led to the creation of a semiconductor quiz, based on different levels of knowledge from the field. The quiz was created as a mini-site that could be shared through WeChat, or accessed by scanning a QR code. Entrants scored points, won prizes, and were encouraged to share with their colleagues and friends.
The quiz was promoted through top trade media websites, WeChat accounts, and through an email campaign. The campaign was so successful that it was repeated for a second phase and led to new deals for the company.
By taking a focused, targeted approach, and by understanding their target audience and channels, NI was able to generate qualified leads in a competitive market.
If you are a marketing manager in the semiconductor industry and want to have a chat about your current China marketing strategy, I’d love to hear from you. I’ve also summarized some of our thoughts in the below PDF you are welcome to download and share.
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