6 Promo Periods You Must Know in China | Your Guide to 2019 KOL Marketing Calendar

Like with a lot of things in life, you should not rush into your KOL marketing campaigns without careful planning. If you are in charge of your company's influencer marketing, you are familiar with the Western social calendar. But China lives by it's own calendar of festivals and holidays that every marketer should be aware of.

Following Chinese social calendar is very important, especially when engaging in KOL marketing. Below we have outlined and broken down all most important festivals and dates.

2019 KOL Promo Calendar prepared for you by ICONKOL Team

2019 KOL Promo Calendar prepared for you by ICONKOL Team

Double Eleven, or Singles Day

In China, the most important period in every marketers life is Double Eleven, or Singles Day, which falls on November 11th. Often compared with Black Friday in America, Singles Day dwarfs its American counterpart. In 2018, Black Friday generated record-breaking $7.9 billion in sales, while Singles Day brought in near $31 billion.

The key to running a successful Singles Day campaign is to prepare early! Start booking your KOLs as early as September, as they get swamped with brand cooperation requests later on. Also, keep in mind that you will have to pay a premium to advertise during this period, as KOLs will have to pay Weibo to be able to promote commercial content. But more on that in the following articles.

Your brand will achieve the best results if you have an online shop on Chinese home-grown ecommerce platforms, like Tmall or JD. You also should invest in an official Weibo and WeChat accounts to build your customer base early and establish a trusted brand image.

Double 12 Festival

As a follow up to the shopping momentum of Singles Day, Double 12 is the second largest shopping holiday in China. Similar to the Double Eleven festival, you can expect to see multitude of discounts and promotions online.

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, falls every year around February. This is the most important family-oriented holiday in China. During CNY everyone will travel to their home town to spend time with their loved ones for an over-week-long festival. The main event of the CNY is Spring Festival which lasts 11 days, and this year falls on February 5th to 15th. The Spring Festival is followed by the Lantern Festival, which lasts four days and features magnificent lantern displays.

This is a good time for brand awareness promotion, however there are a few things to be aware of. Firstly, most KOL will take time off to spend the holiday with their family and will not accept campaigns scheduled for this period. Secondly, expect delivery delays, as a lot of delivery personnel will also take time off.

This period could be compared to Christmas period in the West, however instead of presents, people will more likely exchange hong bao. Hong bao 红包, or red packets, are envelopes with money that are given to family members, friends and even colleagues as a way to show respect and appreciation, and wish safe and prosperous new year.

520, or "I Love You" Day

Besides February 14th, there are two other days in China that are similar to Valentine's Day in their significance. One of them is May 20th. In Chinese, "520" is pronounced similarly to " I love you", and is often used to abbreviate the love message.

This is a great promotional period for brands, as a lot of couples will exchange gifts and romantic presents. Best time to book your KOL for this period is early April.

QiXi Holiday

Now, QiXi Holiday is the day of love and romance, originating from Chinese mythology and the tale of The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl. QiXi, or Double Seventh, falls on the 7th day of the 7th month on the lunar calendar, which lands around August. This year Qixi is on August 7th.

This is the main holiday for the couples in China, and should be treated like Valentine's Day in the West. During this period, couples exchange lavish gifts and head over to fine dining restaurants to celebrate their love. Luxury brands in particular need to pay close attention to this holiday, and book their KOL in early July.

Golden Week, or National Holiday

October 1st is the National Day in China and kicks off a week-long holiday which is also referred to as the "Golden Week." This is the major period for travel and tourism companies. More and more Chinese tourists head overseas for the Golden Week, to do sightseeing, learn about new cultures, experience foreign cuisine, and of course do shopping.

This is a major period for international hotels and airlines. Best time to run promotions for this period is earlier in the year, around summertime. Most Chinese tourists like to book their travel much in advance, so be prepared early.

Key Takeways

Running a successful KOL marketing campaign might seem like a daunting task, but with proper preparation and careful planning your brand can achieve great results in China.

Treat your China marketing strategy like an independent entity, and do not try to apply same tactics that work for you in the West onto the Chinese consumer.

At iconKOL, we work with each client to understand your goals for influencer marketing in China. We craft a tailored strategy for each campaign, and pick the best KOLs for your brand. With our long-standing and trusting relationship with KOLs in our talent base, your brand can get the benefits of a long-term relationship from the very beginning.