economic development solutions

When Digital Marketing is not Enough: How Data Can Help

The need for real time insight for your market research

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

So how did WeChat do it?

For instance take a look at one of Tencent’s famous applications, WeChat — a social media platform that serves functions including but not limited to: digital payments, booking flights & hotels, 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, with the data that WeChat collects they have been able to provide a channel for advertisements, lead generation, customer relations, and payments to all types of businesses. 

Source: Unsplash

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, many 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. This statistic shows the importance of conducting market research before a company launches a product or service.

Data, data, data

Market research can be a daunting task for both startups and/or companies trying to expand into frontier markets. It is imperative to have data on a city’s demographics, building permits, utility rates, and details on the labour 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 a 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 36,000 municipalities from 5 million data points across North America. Visit for more.


Author: Dolapo Fadare is currently 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.