For Marketing Managers that work for global brands, being part of a global team can sound glamorous and exciting but once you scratch the surface, the reality can be time consuming and end in frustration – a lot like travelling on business. You have to deal with elements of differentiation on many levels, including unsociable hours on conference calls, multiple languages, time zones, cultural variations and of course the reality of the deadlines and a launch date.
With so many elements to consider the ability to effectively localise marketing campaigns and strategy is not just about the fulfilment of a role. It is about learning to work with others in a fast paced and multi-dimensional environment – being a team player.
There are many factors to consider when trying to manage the regional piece of this localisation puzzle. I will explore 7 areas for consideration to help Marketing Managers be better prepared to manage successful global marketing campaigns:
1. Collaboration – It is essential that every member of the team understands their area of responsibility and delivery and that those items are documented in a plan. It is important to be detailed in the planning stages to ensure that no elements are missed and that no-one will be caught out when it comes to meeting deadlines. Every member of the team needs to be productive and contribute.
2. Resources – The regions usually have less resource than teams based at the corporate headquarters. Regions also have a number of other equally important local activities and events to manage alongside global campaigns. It is vital to the success of all programs that the resource expectation and reality are fully understood to identify any potential shortfalls. You can then plan on how best to cover any gaps.
3. Budget – It is best to ascertain how the budget is going to be allocated, globally and locally. The cost of asset creation might be managed centrally, but the execution of the campaign is likely to be funded locally i.e. translations and imagery. If a Marketing Manager covers several different countries, translation costs will soon add up. Determining budgetary responsibilities from the outset will help to manage the budget effectively.
4. Choice of Assets – There is usually a collection of assets provided that are classed as online and traditional demand generation. It is essential that the regional teams have time for input and feedback before all these assets have been created and finalised. Not all assets will be used but there needs to be fundamental elements available that can be easily translated for use in the integrated campaign. Channel Partners are often an afterthought. Remember assets are needed for internal and external audiences.
5. Timings – Synchronisation is crucial across all team members. It is essential for the regional team to understand the other points above, so they can plan accordingly. With most large projects, the more people involved the more likely that items will be delayed and timings will slip. The Marketing Managers need to be ready to react when required to get the job done.
6. Cultural Differences – It is essential to the success of any global program to understand and sympathise with the cultural sensitivities and the needs and characteristics of the local target audience. This is where local knowledge, feedback and buy-in is needed for a successful launch and conclusion of a campaign.
7. Adoption of Technology – There is a tendency to create digital only assets as this allows for easier ROI and metrics tracking. There is an increased reliance on marketing automation and nurture tools which need to be adjusted to ensure true local coverage for each campaign. Tracking of the US English version of a micro site only will not help other regions.
Success for global campaigns will be increased significantly if these 7 steps are considered before deployment. Adaptation of global assets to ensure a campaign that is both innovative, personalised and sympathetic to the local geography will generate the desired results. Local audiences will respond if the message resonates and the call to action is crystal clear.