hdtMEDIA Clarence Zheng: Fusion is Forming & Border is Disappearing
2017-07-15

Source: madisonboom   Author:Adela Xu

Imagine a whole day out with only either a phone or a wallet, which would you choose? A CNN journalist once experienced such a day without wallet in Beijing. He was amazed by the fact that a smart phone was totally enough for everything in China….However, this for Chinese people is already a no-brainer habit.

Today’s China can be fairly recognized as a giant Internet country with over 700 million netizens. Mobile Internet has also permeated everyday life sectors like entertainment, transportation and payment, and has been changing the way of receiving and spreading message. As a major information disseminator, the advertising industry directly mirrors the social status quo. The restlessness of the society is also infecting the industry in return.

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Madisonboom’s interviewee today seems extraordinarily sober and cool-headed when confronted with the recklessness of the industry. He is Clarence Zheng, the founder and CEO of hdtMEDIA. As an advertiser with computer science major background, he has devoted himself in this industry for seventeen years and witnessed the meteoric progress of Internet in China. What’s his enlightening perspective about the current Internet hot spots and changes? What unknown sides of him are there hiding behind his rationality?

Has mobile Internet changed again?

Today’s hyper-competitive battlefield of mobile Internet is never short of hot cakes. Mobile phone games such as King of Glory and Yin Yang Master, mobile sharing apps led by Mobike and OFO among other mobile products kept popping up onto the headlines from time to time.

Do these developments mirror the new change of the Internet? On this point, this battle-hardened advertiser looks super chilled and relaxed. Clarence noted that the Internet is always booming but the mobile Internet itself actually hasn’t changed much. The constantly cropping-up mobile products are just verifications of its power. The calm advertiser expressed that “mobile” shall be removed from the term “mobile Internet” because mobile Internet nearly represents the whole Internet.

The secret behind his chilled and low-profile digital advertising company is its visionary effort before the market in building the mobile digital advertising platform hdtMobile, which has been partnering with apps from early stage. With the growing maturity of mobile terminals and cross-screen behaviors of customers, brand owners begin to adjust their budget in response to the decentralized media portfolio. Visionary hdtMEDIA has long set up its own programmatic product matrix, including the programmatic marketing platform hdtDXP, data management platform hdtDMP, digital ad exchange platform H2 and programmatic video platform hdtOTV. Technical advantages enable hdtMEDIA to easily embrace market tides.

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When taking about hdtMEDIA’s product mix, Clarence noted that the current layout is continuous rather than short-term. He also revealed that hdtMEDIA will launch a new KOL management platform in the second half of the year. It is said that this new product will enable one platform to reach tens of thousands or even more KOL we-media and focus on more fragmented content carriers. In this content-first era, hdtMEDIA is also exploring the combination of technology and content and trying to address the dissemination challenges advertisers face.

The thorough and objective understanding about the Internet enables hdtMEDIA to be forward-looking in its understanding of and response to the changing market demands.

Two new interpretations of the “effect” in the previously mentioned “brand and effect combination” concept

For marketing professionals, the ringing-in of the mobile Internet era revolutionized the passive situation of traditional advertisements and renders the dissemination and communication more active. Brands can immediately locate the potential target consumers via mobile products and platforms. Small screen display terminals and more accessible experience environment lowers the threshold of user interest compared with offline channels. In this regard, the concept of brand and performance combination on mobile terminals is once again put back on the table.

Clarence has his own understanding about this concept. He expressed his disagreement on the concept because he believes there exist conflicts between brand and performance. He also explained that there is a difference between advertisers and non-advertisers about the interpretations of the concept of effect while advertisers focus more on the sales results. If the combination concept is applied as a standard to measure the effect of advertisements, brand dissemination will lose its meaning.

From the perspective of this experienced adman, brand dissemination should still be the long-term target. What would influence the consumers’ purchasing behaviors would be their impression of the brand image or their recognition of the fashion and values conveyed by the brand.

“Though I do not agree upon the combination of brand and performance, I do value performance a lot”, Clarence also expressed that hdtMEDIA focuses on helping brand owners to maximize the target audience coverage with a certain budget and enhance TA concentration, because he is convinced that there is no 100% accuracy in the Internet industry and each upper, middle and downstream stage of advertising should be clearly differentiated, which involves the accurate judgement of demand, precision of advertising and rationality of monitoring.

To achieve the performance, brand security must be valued and maintained. As the CEO, Clarence argues that the maintenance of brand security is a matter of principle. He also holds that it has nothing to do with the size of business. Instead, it is only a tonality of your company and it may represent a kind of culture of your company. To this end, hdtMEDIA has made presuppositions in platform systems and products ahead of time to realize technical protection.

Fusion is happening and border is disappearing

The fusion of Internet and mobile Internet is happening and the border between media and content is being broken down. Even technology-driven hdtMEDIA has begun to explore the fields of content media. What about the attitudes of Clarence Zheng, navigator of the company, towards the integrated trend of the industry? Will hdtMEDIA expand into other areas?

During the interview, Clarence stressed the importance of technologies for the development of Internet and expressed that technology is inserted in the gene of hdtMEDIA and is flowing in its blood. Each product is developed via independent research. In front of the fast changes in the environment, he spoke in a humorous way that technology shouldn’t be taken as the only thing. If so, we would end up being technical “nuts”. However, it does not mean we do not value technology any more. Instead, technology is still the core foundation of hdtMEDIA which is more deemed as tools now.

Actually in recent years, hdtMEDIA, with a keen sense of the industry, has already embarked on its fusion. As early as two years ago, hdtMEDIA established an integrated digital marketing department hdtActivation to combine two keys—“Activation” and “Innovation”. The main responsibility of hdtActivation is to provide important clients with multidimensional integrated marketing services, including dissemination strategies, social media, live, creative design, advertising and so on.

In 2016, the online and offline integrated marketing case of UNIQLO UT x KAWS-reshaping pop culture and conversing fashion art, has once aroused heated discussion among the youth and even won an industry award.

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UNIQLO x KAWS-reshaping pop culture and conversing fashion art

In Clarence’s mind, the fusion of Internet and advertising is an inevitable trend. The fusion is happening not only between Internet and advertising, but also between Internet and all the other industries, even our daily lives. Against such background, he believes that advertising will be eliminated if the fusion does not happen.

Concluding remarks

If we say the stable, low-key and reliable image established for more than a decade has been a distinctive label of hdtMEDIA, the daring attitude to break down the tradition, demonstrate disruptive thought and choose an untaken road Clarence, the founder and CEO of hdtMEDIA has expressed in the interview shows another facet of hdtMEDIA, low-key yet rebellious.

This may be the charm why hdtMEDIA can march on together with many influential media and brand partners up to now.

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