Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

Hi, I’m Leo Sato, the CEO of a digital marketing company in Taiwan called applemint.

As you can see in the title of the blog, I’d like to explain why Japanese companies that have entered Taiwan can’t survive without content marketing.

By the way, I’m sure some of you may be wondering what content marketing is, so let me briefly define “contents marketing” in my own words.

The “content” here mainly refers to blog content, video content, and audio content.

In other words, content marketing is about making consumers aware of your brand through the aforementioned contents, and educating them about your services and products to promote your service.

So why is content so important?

To conclude this blog, I believe that without content, no matter how much web advertising a newcomer company does in Taiwan, no one will show any interest. I will explain why I think so later in this blog.

In this blog, I will also explain what happened to a Japanese company that entered Taiwan and spent its entire money on digital ads without creating any content. How did they perform? This is a real case study.

I don’t think there is any other blog that talks about Taiwanese business expansion so frankly, so if you are planning to expand into Taiwan in the future, I think this blog is worth a look.

Websites and advertisements are like resumes.

resume english in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

First of all, to make the story easier to understand, I will compare Taiwan’s expansion to job hunting. You are a job hunter, and the consumers in Taiwan are the companies aka interviewers. Let’s say that getting a job offer from a company is equivalent to getting people to buy your products

The first thing you do as a job hunter is to think about which company you want to apply to. If you translate this action into the world of marketing, it’s targeting. You do not want to apply randomly. The next thing you do is to send out your resume to the target.

In the world of business, this resume is a website or an advertisement. 

If you spend a lot of money on advertising, you can send out your resume to more companies. If you don’t spend money on advertising, you send out your resume on your own, which limits the number of companies you can send your resume to.

As soon as many Japanese companies enter Taiwan, they create a website (resume) first and will try to spend advertising money to get their resume (website/advertisement) out to consumers (companies).

Companies prioritize advertising over content with uncertain effectiveness, because digital ads usually ensure that users will at least see the website.

Unfortunately, the interviewer (consumer) cannot tell if you (the product) is good or not just by looking at your resume (website/advertisement). So, what in job hunting, what do people do? Interview!

Job hunters have to pass the resume screening process and leave a good impression in the interview to get a job offer. 

In job hunting, job hunters have a place to interview and appeal to the interviewer, but in the business world, companies can’t meet each consumer and appeal their products.

This is where remarketing comes in. Remarketing is the process of showing your ad again to people who have already visited your website once.

If you compare this process to job hunting, it’s like sending your resume again to a company that once took an interest in your resume. As a job hunter, the goal is to make the company think, “Well, I haven’t interviewed you, but I’ll hire you,” as they look at your resume several times.

profile pic in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

Would you hire someone by just seeing a resume?

One exception

What did you all think after reading this far? To summarize, a company that has just entered the Taiwanese market and suddenly spends a lot of money on digital ads is equivalent to sending resumes to companies over and over again.

Is this the most efficient way?  Probably not and most of the time, it is not but I would like to introduce an exception.

In Taiwan, a company called ONE BOY recently (somewhere between Dec.2020 and March 2021) spent a lot of money on bus ads, MRT ads, and web ads, and consumers saw the ads everywhere.

one boy in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing
oneboy in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

As a result, I heard that brand awareness has increased and sales are apparently good now. However, there are only a few companies that can do such a thing. So my opinion is that unless you can deliver your resume (website/advertisement) to a large number of consumers, it is inefficient to do web advertising from the beginning.

The key is interaction

socialized in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

So what should you do? If you are looking for a job, you can increase your chances of getting a job offer by having an “interview”, or by having other opportunities to appeal to people. So what if we translate this to the business world?

In the business world, having a job interview means interacting with consumers offline. In addition, another way to appeal to consumers is to have them discover you. How? It can be Youtube, SNS or blogs (SEO).

Unfortunately, interacting with consumers offline is so resource-intensive and time-consuming that many companies avoid it. Making content is equally expensive and time-consuming. People usually quit making content after 3 months.

If you see someone around you who writes, “I started a blog!” Check back their blog after half a year.

Although many people usually quit making content, I believe making content is one of the only ways for limited-resource companies who just entered taiwanese market to survive.

It is the reason applemint has been able to survive in Taiwan for the past 4 years.

What happened to companies that kept spending money on digital ads but not a penny to content?

ads english in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

What happens to companies that continue to spend money on advertising without preparing content?

Companies that have expanded into Taiwan and continue to spend money on advertising without preparing their content are dependent on advertising. In addition, the effectiveness of advertising is fading every year and the numbers are getting worse and worse.

However, they will not stop advertising because if they stop advertising, they will hopelessly lose sales. Since they don’t stop advertising, they don’t have the money to produce content. It is truly a vicious circle.

Before this ever happens to you, I suggest you prepare content. Ideally, before you even establish a company in Taiwan. 

Since my company monetizes from digital ads, I know I sound bizarre but companies should not depend on digital ads to make sales in the long-term.

Let me share real figures of a certain Japanese cosmetic company who continues to spend money on advertising without preparing contents:

YearConversion rate

Over time, the effectiveness of the ads and the appeal of the products seems to have diminished. I know making contents isn’t the only reason for this decline in CVR but these figures at least show that websites alone do not educate users. 

Results for companies that have prepared contents

contents in Why Japanese Companies Expanding into Taiwan Cannot Survive without Content Marketing

Next, let me show you the results of the companies that prepared the content. It is actually our case: 

We started our business in 2017 and since then we’ve been writing blog content to communicate our services and our ideas.

Also, in December 2019, we started Youtube videos to introduce our services and thoughts to potential customers via video media. The number of customers who contacted us saying “I saw your Youtube video and contacted you” has increased drastically since last year. Here’s how applemint’s inquiry rate has changed.

yearconversion rate

I’m sure many of you thought it was only a 0.01% improvement. What we need to keep in mind is that the number of incoming traffic has more than tripled since three years ago.

If the number of traffic has increased more than 3 times and the inquiry rate has improved, it means that the number of inquiries has increased considerably. (More than 3X)

It’s no coincidence that this improvement coincides with the timing of when we started our Youtube content.

In addition, applemint does not spend any money on advertising. applemint has tripled its traffic and improved its inquiry rate.

By the way, the only advertising I’ve spent so far is on Google ads for training interns and new hires, and that’s about 80,000 yen over the past three years.

Also, one of our clients, KARADA Factory, listened to our advice and started blog contents two years ago. Last year they even started Youtube and Instagram, and as a result they recorded the highest profit in 8 years last year.

I believe that the reason why they were able to achieve the highest profits since they came to Taiwan last year is because they invested their time in making contents.

Advice from applemint

If you are a company that plans to expand into Taiwan, I earnestly recommend that you seriously start working on your content now. I believe that Taiwanese consumers are more conservative than Japanese consumers (as far as I know)

In other words, they won’t buy a service or product unless they know what’s in it.

There is no need for surprise. 

That is why we need to make efforts to convey to consumers what our product/service is about. We need to make them want to check our service.

People have seen Mona Lisa dozens of times but they still go to Louvre to see the real paint. Why? They want to “check”.

I strongly believe content marketing is the key for survival in Taiwan especially those that are relatively small resources and new to Taiwan. If you are interested in applemint’s digital marketing services, do let us know!

Click to contact applemint.

Leo Sato 佐藤峻

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