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Guide to B2B marketing in Korea

Want to enter the Korean B2B market or scale your B2B campaigns in Korea? Our agency has experience forging partnerships between your company and the biggest Korean companies. Our B2B clients include international software / SaaS, hardware, ecommerce, biotech, B2G (business to government) organizations. 

Contents of this blog post: 

  • Before you start
    • Getting trust
    • Get your point across
    • Strategy
  • Platforms
    • Naver
      • Brand Search 
      • Naver Blog / Post
    • KakaoTalk
      • Ads 
      • Channel
  • Conclusion

Before you start

Getting trust

Getting traction in Korea is not that easy, though. According to consultant Per Andersson, there are the following obstacles to get trust as a foreign company in Korea. 

  • Cultural / geographical, language differences
  • Ignorance of the local business culture
  • Strong competition
  • Dense and long regulatory process

So you will have to understand your Korean partner’s behavior

Get your point across

How to get your B2B point across without “getting lost in translation”? According to Shane Davies (also a consultant), B2B marketing is about three things:

  1. Your value offer 
  2. Perception of your value relative to your competitors
  3. Ability to profitably communicate your value differentiators to the right customers at the right time. 

Strategy

Then what is the right way to do B2B marketing in Korea? Dongwon, a Korean B2B and B2C company, used the following 3 pillars for its successful B2B marketing strategy

  1. Product and technology development with customer centric mind-set
  2. Systematically extending new markets through business diversification
  3. Marking certain international markets as a bridgehead for global strategy

Platforms

Which native Korean platforms should you use in your Korean digital B2B marketing strategy

  • Naver: search engine and portal
  • KakaoTalk: messaging super app 

Naver

Naver, Korea’s largest search engine, is much more than just a search engine. Just like Google has services like Gmail and YouTube, Naver also has email, video, blog, communities (Cafe) encyclopedia, news and Q&A services. 

Brand Search 

One very eye-catching feature of Naver ads is “Brand Search”. Naver Brand Search (NBS) is an advertising product that is unique to Naver. There is no Google Ads equivalent that can be compared with it. Below is an example of a Brand Search ad. 

Reasons to run Brand Search ads:

  • High ROAS
  • High conversion rate

Naver Blog / Post

Besides running NBS ads, we also recommend opening an official Naver Blog or Naver Post account and start publishing blog posts in Korean. The reason why is that the Naver SERP is full of user generated content (UGC). UGC is often displayed at the top of the SERP, frequently even above official websites or regular keyword / text ads. 

KakaoTalk

KakaoTalk is the most used (98.3% of Koreans use it) messaging app in Korea, but people also use it for online shopping, reading news and watching TV. For companies, ads and Kakao Channel are the most interesting. 

Ads

Advertising in KakaoTalk is very similar to advertising in Meta (Facebook + Instagram). You can make a new ad campaign either by 1) ad type or 2) ad goal. There are also different targets / audiences that you can choose from.

Channel 

You could compare Kakao Channel (formerly known as Kakao Plus Friend) with (again) a Facebook Page. Some of the KakaoTalk Channel features are: 

  • Post content with copy, creatives and links
  • Send messages to Channel followers, “Friends” 
  • Chat with prospects (live chat and chatbot also possible)
  • Post 10 FAQs with auto replies
  • Run ads to get more followers
  • Start a shopping channel

Conclusion

Generally, Koreans in B2B are just as brand sensitive as they are in B2C. Name recognition matters in Korea. If you are well known or market leader, you have an advantage to enter / scale your campaigns in Korea. 

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