Influential marketing is one of the key Chinese marketing trends changing traditional marketing strategies in South East Asia in general and China in specific. Key to influential marketing is to make it easier for brands to connect with consumers by making perfect fits with influencers.

Today, on the first day of our 6th Shopping Tomorrow study trip to China, we learned all about influential marketing. Kim Leitzes, founder and CEO of Parklu, introduced us to this new emerging trend in marketing that is fastly shaping the world of marketing all over the world. Parklu is one of many young companies specializing in different aspects of influential marketing and a specialist in influential marketing analytics, analysing influential marketing on 10+ platforms in China.

Influential marketeers or Key Opinion Leaders (KOL) are online content creators, who operate their individual business through their own social media accounts. They are other than and not to be mixed up with celebreties, moviestars etc. as KOL’s became famous through internet first. KOL’s are therefore self created subject matter experts, typically creating their content on a daily basis to a avery targeted niche audience. On average KOL’s in China work on 3-5 platforms, reaching out from tenthousands ro millions of young Chinese online shoppers. Yet it does not often take more than 1.000 true super fans of KOL’s to exponentially spread the word of mouth online. These super fans share content, buy anything the KOL recommends and therefore fully trust the KOL. In fact, these 1.000 super fans are more effective than say thousands of regular fans, especially if 1/3 comes from so-called Chinese click-fans. The average KOL lifecycle is 2-5 years by the way,

So, in the end KOL is nothing more, nothing less than the online version of the old word of month marketing, but at an incredible scale! It’s the new version of social search optimalization, crucially important in China, where there is hardly or no retargeting at all between the largest platforms. And as more and more Chinese youngsters search less for products on Baidu (the Chinese Google) and more directly on WeChat Shopping, TMall and, influential marketing has become an important part of the succes of many retailers and brands in reaching out new groups of consumers in China.