It took Xiaomi only four years to grow from scratch into the world's third-largest smartphone vendor. Behind the success, marketing is believed to play a crucial role.
The company had 5.6 percent of the global market in the third quarter, the first time it entered the world's top three along with Samsung and Apple, reported Bloomberg citing data compiled by Strategy Analytics in October.
Lei Jun founded Xiaomi to develop software for mobile devices running the Android OS in 2010, a year before the company introduced its first smartphone.
The brand has since scooped mass users in China with its inexpensive devices and unique marketing approach.
Li Wanqiang, one of the founders and vice president of Xiaomi, spilled the magic in his latest book entitled Sense of Participation: Internal Handbook of Xiaomi's Word-of-Mouth Marketing.
Let's take a look at the top 10 secrets compiled by Li in no particular order.
10. To output stories and topics
A good product needs to be output as appealing topics and stories, so when Xiaomi launched its smartphone, the company "interpreted" the new products into three main points, namely fast, good-looking and open.
It takes only two steps to text frequent contact person via a Xiaomi cellphone. Users can program their own mobile theme and enjoy customized system in Spanish and Portuguese, which enable enthusiasts to further develop their cellphones and tout its uniqueness.
9. To communicate with customers in simple words and to show care
At Xiaomi, marketing staff are asked to understand their products as thoroughly as their engineering colleagues in order to explain them in simple words. The company encourages its customer representatives to bring in true feelings and care into their services.
Once, a shop assistant gave a hand-made mobile shell with green paintings to a customer who he believed to be quite blue.
8. To give one's pitch a setting
"Extraordinary," a word commonly used in commercials, is criticized at brainstorm meetings among Xiaomi's marketing professionals. It's simply because customers won't use the word when making their recommendations to friends. Instead, they will simply say it's fast.
A pitch should be direct, stating the biggest selling point of the product in a situation where customers can best use it.
7. Word-of-mouth marketing needs seed users
When Xiaomi launched the first edition of its Android adapted operating system, MIUI had 100 core users, out of whom the number later grew into 60 million.
Core seed users refer to those who love the product from the beginning and admire its features. Within the electronic devices industry, they act as opinion leaders and often influence the purchasing decisions of ordinary users.
A product with exclusive features in a specific area can easily win the hearts of seed users who care no more than uniqueness and high functioning.
6. Social media main marketing battlefield
Thanks to social media, good reviews can spread faster. Instead of outsourcing to an agency, Xiaomi has hired hundreds of staff for social media promotion and sees it as the primary marketing platform.
The hiring is also counter-traditional, as Xiaomi recruits content specialists. The number one requirement for them is not to make marketing plan but to act as product managers.
Marketing is no longer a one-way communication, but equal interaction any time at any place. To work with social media, staff should be able to explain products and their features clearly.
5. Good reviews can be cost-free
When Xiaomi rolled out its first project MIUI, Lei Jun asked Li Wanqiang to attract its first one million users at no cost. Focus on good reviews is the only way. Customers need to voluntarily boast about your product and recommend it to others.
Later when Xiaomi launched its smartphone, the company had no advertisement budget, and turned to new media as its sole promoting channel.
4. A good product is the source and engine of good reviews
A good product is the foundation for any good review. The product is 1, and marketing is just 0 that adds behind.
Xiaomi believes customers nowadays are too smart to make purchasing decision based on a well-written line in the advertisement. Users read through product features and compare between different ones. Some may even read the technical details and take an in-depth look at the product at Xiaomi community.
3. Turning users into friends
Social network is built on trust and the information flow is to pass on the trust. The more trustworthy a company becomes among its customers, the faster it can build its reputation.
The mission behind Xiaomi's marketing is to be friend with users. Only friends will truly safeguard and help spread your reputation.
2. To give consumers sense of participation
Consumer behavior has seen a tremendous shift in the past decade, changing from consuming brands into consuming the experience. However, Xiaomi is leading the latest trend of providing consumers with a sense of participation. The company opens its service and product development, allowing users to get involved in the developing and operating process.
1. Internet thinking is centered on public review
When Google launched its email service Gmail, it entirely relied on public review. The company started with thousands of trial accounts and only took in users under invitation. An invitation code was resold on eBay at 75 pounds (730 yuan).
The social media makes everything horizontal and speeds up the flow of information. Companies can no longer boast about their products, as it's up to consumers to decide whether their product or service is good. They can share their reviews in a nanosecond.