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Interview with Olivier Verot of Gentlemen Marketing Agency

This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Olivier Verot from the Gentlemen Marketing Agency in China.

  1. Tell me about yourself.

My name is Olivier Verot, born and raised in France. I graduated from the French business school of Clermont. I am married to a Chinese woman and I have a son.

I am the founder and CEO of Shanghai based digital marketing agency GMA (Gentlemen Marketing Agency).

  1. What lead you to move to China?

First of all, I have always been interested in marketing. China back then was really appealing as it already had these business opportunities (and it still has although not for everyone). In 2007, I felt that studying abroad in China would be a life-changing experience. I went in the technologies university of Dalian, Liaoning province, as an exchange student for a semester. This is when I realized how much I was passionate about China and how eager I was to earn some working experience in this rapidly-growing country. Between 2007 to 2008, I was in charge of the business development of CMT INT Logistics Group in Dalian. In 2008, I was a junior product manager for the KSB Group in Dalian. From 2010 to 2012, I was in charge of the business development for a French industrial machines manufacturer in Shanghai. Finally, in 2012 after 5 years spent abroad I decided to co-found the GMA agency with my friend Philip Qian.

  1. How did you come up with the name Gentlemen Marketing Agency?

Along with my colleague and friend Philip Qian, we seriously thought of a name that would be catchy for our potential clients. The name had to be appealing to different cultures and in different languages. We thought that calling our marketing agency this way would create a sort of connection to the famous American TV-show “Mad Men”. Gentlemen in French and Chinese has rather a serious tone, it sounds very professional. We wanted to make a difference in a country where local professionals are sometimes unreliable and not “gentle”. However, our name does not mean that we only employ man, we pride ourselves in having both young women and men working together, sharing one ultimate goal: succeed. The marketing term we use defines our line of work. The agency word indicates that we provide our clients with services.

  1. When I first saw the logo, I figured you specialized in marketing to men, much like SheIsMedia and ShopHerMedia caters to women. But I see that is not the case. Who is your target market?

We are mainly targeting the digital market in China which has been rapidly-growing recently thanks to the Chinese consumers being more internet-savvier than westerners. However, we are bound to follow the targeted clientele that our professional clients have chosen. We worked with many brands specialized in various products, like cosmetics, lingerie, tourism, B2B (business-to-business), industrial.

  1. What services do you provide?

The Gentlemen Marketing Agency is mainly supporting foreign companies that seek entry on the Chinese market. Digital marketing in China is nothing like its western counterpart. We believe that entering this highly-competitive market requires a certain amount of business experience and market knowledge, features that we do have at GMA.

As for our different services:

  • We offer web services from SEO to SEM on Chinese search engines (esp. Baidu).
  • We provide press relation services, improving your presence in the Chinese media.
  • We develop brand awareness, increasing your visibility by generating more traffic. The main purpose being to attract even more potential customers.
  • We can provide E-reputation services management, helping you to improve your business or brand image online as well as IWOM services.
  • Our services also comprise community management, making sure that your brand or business has a presence among Chinese social media that are currently skyrocketing.
  • We can offer you a marketing buzz service, creating, publishing viral marketing content as the Chinese market is highly sensitive to these. We are in charge of developing the buzz and spreading the word on the Chinese internet.
  • We can also provide you with a lead generation service, helping you getting leads from Chinese customers, we can help you improving your visibility, your website traffic, as well as your brand image among Chinese clients.
  • Lastly, as a digital marketing agency, we obviously provide E-commerce services.