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When tea-maker Lipton launched a mobile phone marketing campaign in China in 2008, it deployed something it knew about the Chinese market: People loved to give and receive small gifts. To send such a gift, mobile users provided Lipton with the name, mobile number and address of friends and family. Within a month, Lipton sent messages to 162,318 mobile numbers. More than 100,000 of the recipients confirmed their information, and Lipton sent each a teabag. With that small, clever step, Lipton got what it hoped: A low-cost marketing campaign that quickly spread its brand among young, white-collar consumers and expanded its customer database to be used for future marketing initiatives.
Companies in China and elsewhere are devoting more of their marketing budgets to digital channels, including search engines, social networks and mobile phones. China's model broadly copies that of the United States, but it offers fertile ground for testing a digital marketing approach, providing data that is rich with potential.
But regardless of the medium, marketing will always require mastering the art of winning customers' attention, loyalty and wallets.
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