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Once Followers, Chinese Marketers Now Trailblaze Marketing Next Practice

Don E. Schultz

Chinese marketing once imitated Western practice. Now it’s trailblazing with ideas and methodologies, and Western marketers should take note

I’ve spent considerable time speaking at conferences, conducting seminars, working with agencies and clients and teaching at various schools, colleges and universities in China. In almost every case, the assignment was to help Chinese marketers and advertisers get up to speed on what was being done in the West—how we planned, developed and executed advertising, brand and marketing communications programs.

The people I worked with were eager to learn. They asked challenging questions, were enthusiastic and willing to try new things, even though the Western processes and approaches often made relatively little sense to them given their background, culture and available systems. Some questioned why marketing and advertising was conducted the way it was, but they accepted what the West was doing as the “coin of the realm.” 

The managers I worked with were always in a hurry. They were anxious to see results and returns from their marketing and advertising programs. Based on their copying of Western principles, sometimes they succeeded, sometimes they failed. They never gave up.

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​Don E. Schultz is a professor (emeritus-in-service) of integrated marketing communications at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill.