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Best Import Cases of Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing

The strange story of Big Kids Math, which began as an unfamiliar book from another country but soon became the most popular book online

 

2021.06.07

 

* The Chinese edition of Big Kids Math is 神奇的数学 (Magical Math).

 

 

One mathematics book series caught the eyes of parents in 2019. The series gathered more fans with its diverse, fun math games and rich storyline, creating a frenzy for the next two years, after which the series collaborated with multiple personal media and official accounts. It was Big Kids Math (Chunjae Education Inc.) published by Creative Children’s Book Publishing Center (创意童书出版中心出版) of Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing (江苏凤凰教育出版社). Big Kids Math is an educational mathematics series that includes toys, workbooks, handicraft materials, and pictures that tell stories, cultivate behavioral habits, and teach math. It was imported by Chunjae Education Inc., a Korean publisher. The series consists of 11 picture books and 11 workbooks. It is keeping its place among the top 10 bestselling children’s books on Dangdang (當當), a Chinese online commerce website. Also, it is number one in the toy book category, with 99% of the reviews positive. Then, how could the Big Kids Math series stand out in the fierce children’s book market in China?

 

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The lively, bright colors and creative ideas of Big Kids Math seized the mind of Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing at a book fair in Korea. The publisher’s brand “Creative Children’s Book Publishing Center” aims to publish fun and creative books. There were not many educational mathematics books in China with which kids can have a vivid, fun experience while learning math. Hence, the Creative Children’s Book Publishing Center thought that this Korean series would be loved by families and children in China for sure if it is well customized to match the Chinese culture. This decision has brought the Big Kids Math series into China. The series was full of knowledge necessary for children, and its stories were not only fun and heartwarming, but also included mathematic knowledge. The publisher repeatedly edited and translated the series, always thinking about how to keep the artistic aspects and mathematic knowledge of the original series while helping children stay interested throughout the book at the same time.
But there were so many parts of the series that had to be delicately handled which could only be made by hand. A single mistake would mix up the order of the pages and the story. So, the editors worked hard not to cause such a situation by repeatedly carrying out tests in advance whenever samples were made. After all the efforts, the Big Kids Math series was finally ready to become the top-selling series. Still, the road ahead was rough as it was priced ¥798 at that time, which was an extremely high price in the Chinese market with a totally different culture and customs. The initial sales strategy of this series was taking a multidirectional approach to kill two birds with one stone and pursue both the online and offline markets at the same time. Hence, the editors repeatedly told the marketing team about the series’ characteristics, and the team stressed those points and strongly complimented the series during their sales activities. The publisher carried out consignment sales as well, but the consumers at that time did not recognize the values of this “properly made” series – as such, the Big Kids Math had to face significant barriers each time. After all the trials and errors, our team realized that the traditional marketing technique was not adequate for this series.

 

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Then, there was a turning point in 2019. The sales team of Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing studied the pros and cons of each sales channel and established a comprehensive marketing strategy for the series. They decided to switch the main focus of promotion and marketing. In short, they figured out the strong points online platforms have that mainly target new media, in which reliable content accounts for the most significant proportion, and their users. As social commerce is highly sensitive to price, it was adequate for the content marketing of new products. It was also a good way of pursuing three goals of boosting brand image, reputation, and sales at the same time. Even though personal media have been losing profits for the recent several years, they could expect quite an amount of sales recovery by bringing them together through the changed strategy.
What are the characteristics of social commerce and group chats which are the lower-tier alternatives of official accounts? First, social commerce was only at the level of a supplementary channel for selling products as the discount rates were low, regardless of their fast product deliveries and high sales records. Meanwhile, the Weishang (微商) platform that is in the form of group chats relies heavily on the individuals’ influences that there’s a limitation to target a large audience. Short-clip platforms such as Tiktok (抖音) are known for their short and fast tempo that easily attracts young people. It is, therefore, a good choice for new and curious products. Other new media platforms are more capable of attracting customers, but the big three traditional e-commerce platforms still stand firm with great potential to influence their users. In other words, content-based social platforms were a good choice for boosting sales by making new products go viral among the users, and user-based traditional e-commerce platforms were a good tool for realizing long-term values for general sales. Hence, after thoroughly analyzing the characteristics of each platform, the publisher set up a marketing strategy to spread out Big Kids Math rapidly by attracting consumers to Dangdang (當當), a traditional e-commerce platform, with the official account on new media WeChat, meeting the market demands while preserving the publisher’s reputation for children’s books.

 

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The publisher first took control of the series’ price on all online channels attempting exclusive sales. After confirming with Dangdang (當當) on the exclusive right of sales, the sales team started to control its price on other online platforms. They removed the series from other platforms that offered discounts and focused on sales, getting rid of any price-related noises in the market. They planned to check the inventory at all times and replenish them in time. As it took a relatively long time to publish this picture book series as its pictures were so delicately drawn, there had to be plan Bs in advance. In other words, the team had to keep an eye on the sales predictions, monitor the market on a real-time basis, and start printing out more once the stock falls below 2,000 copies. Then, they had to be communicative with each part. They steadily talked with the management team of Dangdang (當當), the official channel collaborating with the publisher, about the prime time for sale and the best price of the series. Online sources, product data, event discount codes, and give-away distributions had to arrive on time. Checking the overall sources they had in hand once again, they planned to precisely carry out the marketing activity and promote sales, encouraging positive reviews. And they kept the flow going by continuously drawing consumers’ interest, using the event schedule of major book discount events in China such as 618 Midyear Shopping Festival, Dangdang (當當) Annual Ceremony, and Singles’ Day and controlling the price range on other channels.
Here, the team could take advantage of the new media’s strengths that they have already developed. They let the relevant industry and power-bloggers access the Big Kids Math series by continuously exposing it on platforms such as Xiaohongshu (小紅書) and Tiktok (抖音). Also, for better communication with channels, the marketing project manager stayed close to the channel whenever we were working on major products. With such efforts, Big Kids Math could keep a steady flow for over a year, where numerous personal media volunteered to promote the series, requesting the publisher for joint sales. At the same time, the series settled as a bestseller ranking within the top 20 on major e-commerce platforms, recognized by many professionals and personnel in charge of book promotions. This enabled it to expand its influence in both online and offline channels along with the promotions and become a bestselling picture book series on each website.

 

We thought that Big Kids Math would be loved by families and young readers in China if we edited it with utmost effort.

 

How bizarre is Big Kids Math, which began as an unfamiliar book from another country but became the most popular book after making brilliant efforts to turn the tide? Perhaps, it was a little flame that had been waiting for the moment to burst out after days of meticulous preparations.

 


Written by Yang Wenying (楊文穎), Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing

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Yang Wenying (楊文穎), Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing

#Jiangsu Phoenix Education Publishing  #Big Kids Math  #China  #mathematics book
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