Digital Marketing is not Enough, the Need for Real Time Insight for Market Research 

In the past, China’s technology ecosystem was considered to be one that simply copied and pasted solutions that already existed from Western countries. Over the years, however, the Chinese economy is becoming a hub for innovation. For instance, according to the World  Intellectual Property Index in 2017, China submitted more patent applications more than the US, South Korea, and Japan combined. 

Today, China can be considered a leader in digital solutions with highly digital consumers. According to the China Internet Network Information Centre it is estimated that the total number of internet users in China at roughly 731 million in 2016, up from around 688 million a year earlier. These users are mostly mobile and on average spend time about 27 hours online per week. 

The Chinese digital consumer in China is not only streaming various social media channels. Instead, China’s digital ecosystem can be considered as providing seamless convenience in completing a number of daily functions. This can be attributed to the fact that one of the biggest tech giants in China — Tencent Group and Alibaba Group are integrated into all spheres of a person’s daily life. 

For instance if one takes a look at one of Tencent’s famous applications, WeChat — a social media platform has serves functions including but not limited to: digital payments, booking flights & hotels, ordering food, managing wealth fund, and ordering food. Beyond that, WeChat has also been a major way of conducting business in China. Apart from it being utilized for communication. Given the data that WeChat collects it has been able to provide all types of businesses a channel for advertisements, lead generation, customer relations, and payments. 

In the Western hemisphere, digital marketing solutions have given strength to SMEs to strive and succeed in the New Economy. Despite the incredible abilities, digital marketing has a number of SME’s do not survive their first year in operation. According to Business Insider UK, 42% of small businesses fail because there is no need for their product or service. These statistics show the importance of conducting market research before a company launches a product or service.

Market research can be a daunting task for both startups and/or companies trying to expand into frontier markets. For instance, it is imperative to have data on a city’s demographics, building permits, utility rates, and details on the labor force. There are various channels offline and online that provide these specific data sets, however, they are sometimes outdated, scattered and/or simply hard to find. Most importantly, the success of SMEs is crucial for a community’s economic development given the fact that 99.7 percent of all businesses in the US, and 98.2 percent in Canada, are small businesses. Townfolio has made this easier by providing a free data platform that allows anyone to gain insight into a local economy. Find updated credible data on 38,000 municipalities from 5 million data points across North America. Visit for more.  


Author: Dolapo Fadare is a strategy consultant on international markets and the NGO sector. She first joined the Townfolio team in December 2016 working with our economic developers and ever since her role has expanded to conducting market research and development in China and West Africa.