E-commerce go-to-market strategy for Heineken’s Sourcy water brand into China
Dutch brewer Heineken International had entered the mineral water market with their launch of Sourcy and required assistance to penetrate the Chinese market. Preeti was hired to put together a tailored digital strategy and go-to-market plan for the brand.
The unique challenges associated with foreign brands entering China required Preeti to earn Sourcy’s trust and guide them in changing their traditional marketing mindset and paradigm. China’s media landscape is expensive and costs often reach multiples of what is paid in Europe, and the strategy would need to consider China’s fragmented digital landscape which is deeply embedded in the day-to-day lives of Chinese consumers who rely heavily on digital tools. For brands that wish to use digital in China as an entree to the global digital market, the country’s propensity for exploration and status as an early adopter brings a laboratory-like setting to digital in China, where lessons learned there can be applied to other markets.
Preeti’s approach was a classic example of her Think – Build – Operate model.
She assembled a team that included a senior planner and digital analysts to kick off the Think phase, which consisted of “3 C Research” (Competitive, Channels & Consumers) starting with competitive research to inform strategy for positioning, web, content, and conversion. Preeti led the team in benchmarking digital channels including marketplaces, search, online word of mouth, and social e-commerce. Consumer journey/s were mapped across channels leading to development of specific strategies for lead generation portals, KOLs, forums, WeChat, Weibo, and web search. In depth consumer understanding was gained and consumer personae were built for targeting.
This phase included development of the go-to-market plan, building the brand objectives and positioning specific for the Chinese market, adapting an editorial campaign, launching an activation campaign, and allocating budgets for each. The team set KPIs to measure performance.
Preeti’s role in this phase included for creative direction for launch year and adaptation across channels, assisting in hiring a China marketing team, and creating an organizational structure to deliver on the plans.
Preeti and her team delivered Sourcy leadership a brand localization guide, digital channels roadmap and annual marketing calendar for executing campaigns in the Chinese market, with a granular budget based on the targeted campaign channels. Other deliverables included a product introduction roadmap and recommendations for KOL/influencer campaigns to increase the brand’s profile.