5 Steps to Creating a Successful KOL Marketing Campaign

Misha Pabari

August 24, 2021

Key Opinion Leaders - better known as KOLs - have gained a strong online reputation among consumers in the Asia Pacific region and should be a key part of any brand’s ecommerce strategy in the region. Investing in KOL marketing requires a carefully planned strategic approach that aligns with your brand objectives.

Below we outline five steps to creating a successful KOL marketing campaign that helps brands to drive sales on APAC marketplaces such as Tmall, Shopee and Lazada.

Social selling in APAC

Social channels play a much larger part in the marketing mix in most Asian countries than the West, not only to maximise your brand’s discoverability and acquire new customers, but also to engage and retain them. KOL activity generally takes place through marketplaces’ own marketing channels and external channels, such as social media platforms.

In fact, Asian countries have among the highest social media penetration rates in the world and according to a survey of shoppers from across the APAC region by Rakuten, over half of consumers engage with brands via social media.

5 steps to creating a successful KOL marketing campaign

A strong KOL marketing campaign is a fantastic way to generate top-of-the-funnel awareness and drive new customer acquisition. In many countries in the Asia Pacific region, the top KOLs are considered as celebrities, and brands will run exclusive promotions to attract their followers. Here are our team’s top tips for ensuring your KOL marketing campaign drives marketplace sales.

1. Define your campaign objective

Whether your campaign objective is to increase brand awareness, boost conversion rates or maintain your brand image, a clear vision on what you expect to achieve from the investment should be the first step of any KOL marketing campaign.

2. Decide on platforms or channels to reach a targeted audience

Understanding the reach of each social platform can be useful when deciding on where to carry out marketing activity so that your campaign reaches the desired target audience.

__3. Choose your KOLs appropriately to match your brand voice __

Although celebrity and mid-tier KOLs may have the advantage of larger audiences, while the popularity of your chosen KOL is important, it is essential that they signify your brand values. Likewise, building long-term relationships with KOLs builds trust and credibility.

__4. Select the right touch points for maximum engagement __

Brands must think wisely about the values of their desired audience and adapt their content accordingly. The use of gamification, exclusive coupons or competitions can be a great way to grab your audience’s attention as well as capture customer data.

__5. Track and evaluate your campaign performance __

Once live, brands must monitor and assess the campaign’s success to gather valuable insights into the strengths and weaknesses and help to inform data-driven decisions for future KOL campaigns.

Whether you are launching your brand in the APAC region, or looking to maximise traffic to your marketplace store, KOL marketing activity is essential. Competition in Asia is fierce, with both local and international competitors in most categories, so investing heavily in marketing is key to establish demand for your brand.

Download our new Influencer Marketing Report to learn about how brands can use influencers to acquire new customers on marketplaces such as Tmall, JD.com, Lazada and more.

To find out more about our full-service model sees us buy your stock and then take care of every aspect of your marketplace presence, including demand generation marketing contact us today.

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2022 Traffic Decline
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Stop Declining Web Traffic: What Your Brand Should Do

2020 and 2021 was a monumental period for the retail sector. Consumers suddenly embraced ecommerce, due to worldwide COVID-19 restrictions. Now that restrictions have eased and physical stores have reopened, many retailers are experiencing a drastic decline in online web traffic. Research shows that traffic to online ecommerce and grocery shopping sites fell 15% in the first five months of 2022, compared to 2021 levels ([SimilarWeb, 2022](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/07/08/online-retail-and-grocery-traffic-take-a-tumble-in-2022-as-cost-of-living-crisis-intensifies/)). Although shoppers have the option to buy in-store again, the ecommerce boom has still accelerated the rate of ecommerce channel growth. Since consumers are more comfortable purchasing online, maintaining and optimising your ecommerce channels is as pertinent as ever. Earlier this year, Pattern Senior Strategists Hannah Staveley and Peter Boldt-Christmas hosted a LinkedIn Live to address the shift offline, how brands can tackle declining web traffic, and offer guidance to brands struggling with web traffic. Who is Affected? Online-only retailers and marketplace sellers have been hit significantly, due to a lack of channel diversification and an overreliance on online sales channels. Following a wave of success during the pandemic, many brand’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) websites are now experiencing declining web traffic after failing to optimise their operating models and propositions in order to retain consumers. Depending on the maturity of the pre-pandemic ecommerce landscape in each sector, different industries require different strategies to mitigate the effects of declining web traffic. For instance, whilst Q-commerce (quick commerce) has grown significantly, consumers are still opting to purchase their groceries in-store rather than online. Pattern's [2022 UK Shopper Report](https://info.pattern.com/uk-shopper-report-2022) supports this trend, indicating consumers were much less likely to use online channels to shop for food, pantry, and alcohol compared to product categories like books and clothing. Omnichannel Solution for Brands Strengthening your brand’s omnichannel proposition is essential. In Pattern’s benchmarking research with Google, we found that 75% of retailers and brands improved their omnichannel proposition scores since 2019 showing that they had implemented more of these functionalities, or otherwise improved them ([Pattern & Google, 2021](https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-apac/future-of-marketing/digital-transformation/omnichannel-marketing-retail/)). Brands should raise awareness of their online sales channels, such as their website and app, through a number of offline initiatives, including visible in-store advertisements, providing free in-store WiFi, QR codes on product labels, displays, and advertisements, and providing Click-and-Collect services to mend the division between offline and online spaces. How to Succeed Exclusively Online If you have limited control over your offline footprint, or are selling online-only, accelerating your presence on marketplaces can be a strong solution. Marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay and Tmall, offer a cost-effective and straightforward route to acquiring new customers due to their immense penetration and delivery proposition in the global market - particularly in Europe and Asia. Shoppers are now five times more likely to to search for initial product information on marketplaces than through a brand’s DTC website, according to research from InRiver ([Rigby, 2021](https://internetretailing.net/marketplaces/shoppers-now-five-times-more-likely-to-look-for-a-product-on-a-marketplace-than-on-a-brand-website-study-24025/)). 63% of respondents in our [2022 UK Shopper Report](https://info.pattern.com/uk-shopper-report-2022?) stated they visited marketplaces to check the prices of products, and 50% stated they used marketplaces to look for product information, including reviews. To succeed on marketplaces, brands must differentiate their range and overall proposition from their other sales channels. For example, luxury Whisky maker Macallan surged to number 1 position in terms of revenue within the BWS category on Amazon UK by focusing its listings on premium and limited edition products. Similarly, some of the best-selling and fastest growing spaces within Amazon’s spirits category are low distribution, large format products like magnums and methusalehs. This is likely because many shoppers use Amazon as a gifting destination and are looking for high-end, novelty products. Pattern’s [2022 UK Shopper Report](https://info.pattern.com/uk-shopper-report-2022?) found that 67% of UK shoppers bought gifts on Amazon. Brands can use search and category data to understand where latent consumer demand exists, utilising this as the basis for product differentiation strategy. Boost Traffic to My Brand Marketplaces Keyword research is integral to boosting your brand’s visibility on marketplaces like Amazon. Moving away from a brand defence strategy, to focusing on challenging for placement on the highest volume keywords is an approach that we’ve seen many brands succeed with in the last year. However, thousands of new sellers are joining the platform everyday, making search engine results pages (SERP) placement competition increasingly fierce. Brands must also optimise their product display pages (PDPs) to ensure the improvement of their organic ranking results and conversion rates. DTC Due to high customer acquisition costs, the current retail environment is challenging for brands. In order to develop the most appropriate proposition, brands must understand their target shoppers’ needs and behaviours. During lockdown restrictions, shoppers valued convenience and speed, influencing brands to offer faster and more flexible delivery options ([McKinsey & Co., 2022](https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/retail/our-insights/adapting-to-the-next-normal-in-retail-the-customer-experience-imperative)). However, with restrictions eased and economic pressures felt by shoppers, value is being favoured above convenience. Our data shows sites that provide money saving and price comparison tools experience rapid growth in traffic this year. Therefore, evaluating the value that shoppers gain by purchasing from your DTC website is key to maintaining and growing your site traffic. Value can be provided in a number of ways but needs to be relevant to your target market. Cutting free shipping thresholds, offering 24/7 customer service, providing free samples, free live chat, and other services can all provide your shoppers with value, enhance their shopping experience, and ultimately influence their decision to buy. Want to learn more? [Watch the full LinkedIn Live discussion](https://www.linkedin.com/video/event/urn:li:ugcPost:6970333515246661632/). Accelerate your Ecommerce Strategy with Pattern As the world’s top ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows the ins and outs of great ecommerce strategy for global marketplaces. We’re fanatical about data and obsessed with growing our partners’ brand and exceeding sales goals. With custom technology, vast expertise, and highly capable internal teams, we have the resources you need to grow profitability. Ready to explore an accelerator partnership? [Contact us here](https://pattern.com/uk/contact/).

1P vs 3P
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Amazon 1P vs. 3P: Pros & Cons Brands Need to Know

Whether you’ve been selling your products on Amazon for years or you’re just starting out, you’ve probably wondered if 1P or 3P is the best selling model for your brand. As the top ecommerce accelerator, and 3P seller, with deep experience on Amazon, we know there’s no “best way” to sell on Amazon—it depends on your products, long-term goals, and  capabilities. 

In a 1P, or first-party relationship, Amazon buys your product wholesale and handles most of the selling details. In a 3P, or third-party relationship, you’re an independent seller on Amazon’s marketplace, which gives you both more control over your brand and more responsibility for logistics.

Deciding between 1P and 3P requires weighing the various pros and cons for your business. Brands should consider several factors before choosing which strategy makes sense. Here is more information about the pros and cons of both 1P and 3P so you can make the best decision for your brand.

1P Pros and Cons 

Pros:

  • Amazon is a well-trusted brand and consumers may trust your brand more if it is sold by Amazon.

  • Your products are automatically eligible for Amazon Prime and two-day shipping.

  • Amazon handles all the logistics: taxes, ASIN, optimisation, and customer service.

  • Amazon gives exclusive benefits, such as placement priority and advanced analytics tools, to 1P sellers.

  • Selling your products through Amazon 1P could be the most price efficient option for your brand.

  • You are basically free of inventory risk.

Cons:

  • You may lose profit margins.

  • Amazon will pay you less frequently than a 3P relationship.

  • You will have little control over availability of inventory on Amazon at any given time.

  • Amazon can drop you as a 1P seller at any time.

Many brands choose to sell on Amazon in a 1P relationship so they do not have to manage most of the logistics and simply prefer Amazon to do it. In addition, having  a well-trusted brand sell your product is another top consideration in a 1P seller relationship.. 

3P Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Gives you more flexibility and control in every aspect of the selling process.

  • Strengthens your brand presence.

  • Helps you gain better access to data.

  • Provides more control in the selling process (pricing, inventory, and product listings).

  • Offers complete control over how much inventory to list.

  • You can share inventory across marketplaces, when necessary.

  • Creative control to  develop listings with better optimised content to tell your brand story.

Cons:

  • Inventory risks.

  • Responsible to create purchase orders and handling inventory logistics.

  • You are responsible for your own customer service.

  • Brand must pay additional fees to Amazon for being a 3P seller.

  • Can be subject to account suspension.

Selling on Amazon in a 3P relationship  is an increasingly popular option for brands, and it’s easy to see why. Even though becoming a 3P seller may seem like more work upfront, it ultimately gives you more flexibility and control, a stronger brand presence, and better data access.

How Do I Become an Amazon 1P or 3P Seller?

You can only become a 1P seller through a direct invitation from Amazon. To become a 3P seller, the first step is setting up a Seller Central account. You’ll then provide relevant information and verifications before getting your account approved and finally listing and shipping your products. 

3P Partners and Other Selling Model Strategies

While deciding between a 1P or 3P relationship is a solid start, selling model strategy is a bit more complicated than that. In fact, there are 7 common selling models brands may consider. Two of these models are the basic 1P and 3P models we’ve already discussed. 

Other models include the following:

  • 3P Unmanaged: no active management of your brand

  • 2P: Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) model

  • Hybrid: leverages both 1P and 3P strategies

  • 3P Network: you create a network of authorised sellers

  • 3P Partner: you partner with one exclusive ecommerce seller

Pattern Proves the 3P Partner Model Works for Brands

In our experience, the ecommerce executives benefit most from a 3P partner model because it provides the most freedom and marketplace control on Amazon, without having to worry about complex logistics. Pattern executes a 3P exclusive seller model because it gives our partners  the freedom and control unavailable through a 1P relationship, while also taking on the stock, management, and risks that make 3P selling intimidating.

With Pattern as your authorised wholesale partner, we buy your stock and resell the products on Amazon as an authorised seller. Once we buy your product, we’re responsible for all inventory risk, and help you optimise your content and advertising while maximising your brand protection and brand global distribution. Our sophisticated inventory forecasting, fulfilment, and logistics systems help us predict and manage your inventory, and our experienced teams handle everything from taxes to customer service.

Unlike a 1P Amazon seller relationship, we’re eager to involve your brand every step of the way, including when it comes to branding, promotion, channel strategy, and new product launches.

Interested in increasing your margins by transitioning to a 3P relationship and partnering with Pattern? Get in touch today.

Important Holidays to Prepare for on Marketplaces in China
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Important Holidays to Prepare for on Marketplaces in China

Brands selling their product throughout the Asia-Pacific region may wonder how to keep up with the fast market and make plans for next year. The good news is that in China, and the surrounding areas, there are many ecommerce holidays year-round for brands to prepare for and increase their sales. As brands plan for 2023, here are some important holidays brands should prepare for in China:

Q1 (January-March)

  1. Chinese New Year: (usually late Jan.–mid-Feb.) Spring Festival—also known as Chinese New Year—is a week-long holiday that is quickly becoming an incredible growing opportunity for brands.

  2. Valentine’s Day: (Feb. 14) Despite being an inherently Western holiday, Valentine’s Day on 14th February is another major event that has been wholeheartedly adopted in China, especially among younger demographics. 

  3. International Women’s Day: (Mar. 8) The global holiday, which is celebrated annually, is not only focused on women in particular, but in China also the sale of items related to the needs of women. 

Q2 (April-June)

  1. 520 Festival: (May 20) The Chinese pronunciation for the numbers “5-2-0” sounds similar to “I love you”, hence “520 Festival”. May 20th gives Chinese lovers another chance to showcase their affection to one another through gift giving–China’s version of Valentine’s Day.

  2. 6/18 - founding anniversary of JD.com: (Jun. 18) This is the founding anniversary of JD.com, one of the most prominent ecommerce companies in China. The event,  colloquially known as 618, is celebrated annually for 18 days leading up to June 18th. 

Q3 (July-September)

  1. Qixi Festival: (7th day of 7th month of Chinese Lunar Calendar, Aug. 22 in 2023) Qixi Festival signals the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in Chinese mythology, creating China’s Valentine’s Day and a huge retail event.

  2. Mid-autumn festival: (Sept. 29) Also known as the Moon or Mooncake Festival, this traditional festival is celebrated in many Asian countries. The mid-autumn festival is a very popular time to give gifts to friends and relatives. 

Q4 (October-December)

  1. Golden Week: (1st week in Oct.) This week-long public holiday in China is not necessarily an ecommerce holiday, but everyone takes work off for the week and it could have a direct impact on your ecommerce business. Being aware of public closures in the Asia-Pacific regions will help you plan ahead in inventory levels and necessary communication.

  2. Singles’ Day: (Nov. 11) Singles’ Day, or Double 11 festival, is the biggest 24-hour online shopping festival in the world and originated in China. Singles’ Day is a type of “anti-Valentine’s day”, originally created for those with a single relationship status, due to the symbolism of the number 1 (11/11). The shopping event has broken sales figure records each year since its birth and is often likened to Black Friday in the U.S.

  3. Double 12: (Dec. 12) Double 12, or Couples’ Day, is another massively popular shopping event in China that was originally established for smaller businesses that might have missed out on the benefits of Singles Day. 

How to Prepare For These Ecommerce Holidays in 2023

Now that you’re aware of the ecommerce holidays in 2023 that could benefit your brand, it’s important you prepare well and can use them to your brand’s best advantage. Here are four things to keep in mind when preparing:

1. Make sure you have a good trade partner. 

All brands expanding to or selling in China on any marketplace need a trade partner they can trust. A good trade partner should have experience, transparency, a data-driven mindset, brand obsession, and the right tools and resources to help you succeed.  

2. Stay ahead of the logistics. 

A good trade partner will help your brand understand various regional consumer demands and give you marketplace-specific logistics to help you to stay in stock. Every marketplace demands various amounts of stock, mostly depending on the consumer demand in that region, but also the upcoming holidays celebrated in those regions.

3. Prepare your customer-service teams for the holidays.

If you are planning to participate and sell your products during the holidays mentioned above, it’s important your customer-service teams are aware and know how to handle the influx of consumers during those times. 

 4. Be aware of local and regional holidays that may affect your business.

Knowing which holidays can directly affect and improve your business is key to selling across marketplaces in the Asia-Pacific region. Although not all holidays may be obviously relevant to your brand, it’s worth looking into and elevating an opportunity for increased sales.

Accelerate on Chinese Marketplaces with Pattern

The opportunity for your brand to increase traffic and conversion during holidays in China is exponential.  As the world’s foremost ecommerce accelerator, Pattern can handle your end-to-end strategy to grow your brand both domestically and internationally. 

Pattern is an option to be your brand's trading partner since we know local languages, customs, and cultural nuances to clearly communicate your brand as we plan, strategize, and execute your products’ success in China. We make your success our business, dedicating expert teams, years of experience, and proprietary technology to find the best ways to take your products to consumers throughout the world.

Discover how you can grow your brand internationally. Contact us