Zero Advertising, All Product/Social Marketing
Unlike regular phone companies, Xiaomi is able to save a ton of cash by avoiding crazy advertising costs and rather deploy some cool innovative marketing strategies.
Step 1: Build a tech fan base
When Lei Jun founded Xiaomi in 2009, the first product was MIUI operating system. Lei Jun didn’t want to spend money on marketing, so his crew began building brand awareness in forums. Their staff spent a lot of time on forums, making comments, sending posts and advertising. They used the same method to do marketing with zero budget, they set up MIUI mobile phone forum, which became the base camp of “me fan” with over 1 million registered users.
Step 2: Engage with the fans – make them ‘loyal’
Every week, Xiaomi releases a new version of miUI, its customized Android skin, which is then scrutinized by a few hundred thousand hardcore users.Google
“Me fan” participated in product research, development, test, spread, marketing and public relation. Fans also organized offline city gatherings.
The company thus gained a whole lot of loyal fan-base by soliciting and adding user feedback into the design of its latest sets and Android skins.
Step 3: Sell to your fans. Let them spread the euphoria via social sites.
Naturally, the 1 million “me fan” users became the first buyers of MIUI smartphone.
At the same time, Sina Weibo grew more and more popular. (China’s top twitter like micro-blogging platform with 400 million members). In December 2012, Xiaomi announced that it will sell phones directly from Sina Weibo.
Through an online retailer called Flipkart, potential buyers preregister for a short sales window. They’re required to stay online for at least two hours before the sale starts, and then only the first 20,000 lucky buyers get the opportunity to purchase. Human nature being what it is, after this awful experience, buyers end up wanting the phone even more.
Firstly is the fans. Xiaomi engages a lot...