Solutions in a Small World (Greater China): When Opportunity Knocks

Greater China today represents “The Next Big Deal” in the eyes of many multi-national corporations. AMD's Gerald Youngblood explains why the ability to scale is a necessity to successfully market in the region.

This is the third article in a four-part series that examine examples from four key regions--EMEA, APAC, Greater China and the Americas--to demonstrate how solution providers can learn from business innovations worldwide and apply it to help drive profitability.

In business, we are always searching for the next big deal.

This is particularly true with commercial businesses in the public sector hunting for lucrative state contracts or consumer solution providers clamoring for space alongside multi-national PC makers at major retail outlets. In the rush to get one’s foot in the door, companies often overlook the issues lurking beyond the threshold.

More so than any other region of the world, Greater China today represents “The Next Big Deal” in the eyes of many multi-national corporations. But entering the market must be carried out with the utmost care--businesses set themselves up for failure without first making a realistic assessment of their capabilities. In particular, the ability to scale quickly is a requirement for almost every deal in Greater China.

Before I traveled to the region, I had no reference point for the sheer volume associated with having a population over four times that of the United States’ in approximately the same size geography.

Consider as well that the CIA World Factbook puts the 2009 annual growth rate for China at approximately 9 percent, while others struggle to stay positive on the index.

When I review marketing programs for the region, China’s population density coupled with a booming economy make many of the ROI metrics look like typos. For example, we recently launched a month-long banner ad co-marketing effort with a graphics partner that guaranteed 58,000,000 impressions on top technical sites. A similar program in North America would typically net less than 10 percent of the impressions for the same price.

While ROI numbers of that scale would be music to many businesses’ ears, they aren’t guaranteed. Companies must be prepared to first do their homework.

The first element of being prepared is developing a multi-scenario plan.

This could be structured in terms of volume breaks or geographic regions. China actually has a method of tiering cities based on population and economic standing which allows companies to adjust marketing tactics by tier. Tier 1 cities would be the largest by those two metrics, encompassing Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou and others of a similar size.

A multi-pronged roadmap with meaningful differentiation of various market segments offers an advantage for winning all or a portion of large deals. Particularly if you belong to a smaller company, large customers value flexibility and agility so it is important to show up with a few pre-planned options on the menu.

Next, solution providers must apply resources to the plan.

We employ a scalable team of channel marketing representatives that augment our ability to drive new business, particularly in Tier 4 cities and beyond. This tactic can be applied with contract headcount, sales or marketing rep firms, or a flexible web strategy. The key here is variability. Your core team of fixed resources may not be enough to deliver the same quality when faced with greater demands of a large deal. Make sure you’ve considered how to boost your available manpower in advance.

Finally, define the appropriate minimum and maximum quantities or service hours that make sense.

This does not have to be specific to the deal--it can actually serve as a guide for the types of opportunities your business should pursue. I refer to this as the “know when to fold ’em” principle. Sometimes the big fish might break your boat, or you might expend more time and energy than the catch is worth.

Keeping these three guiding principles in mind, our Greater China sales and marketing team has routinely capitalized on lucrative, important deals, such as working with local solution providers to supply computer systems to Internet cafés with thousands of seats.

We are mindful, however, to make a careful assessment before we pursue a deal or engage in negotiations. This approach has helped us to effectively scale in the Greater China market, such that our team can confidently answer the door when opportunities knocks.

Gerald Youngblood is AMD Manager of Worldwide Component Channel Marketing. His articles are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third-party sites are provided for convenience and unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such linked sites and no endorsement is implied. AMD's worldwide channel blog can be found here.

TAGS: China,marketing,AMD,channel,Gerald Youngblood

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