The Global Buyer’s Journey is Changing (Part 3 of 3)

Our last two blog posts expanded on global marketing and localization strategies marketers can implement to address the new global buyer’s journey. In part 3, we will discuss the different globalization approaches companies can take to reach and engage global audiences more effectively. As a reminder, these posts follow a webinar Cloudwords hosted featuring marketing industry expert Gil Canare, Research Director at SiriusDecisions, which can be watched on-demand here.

 Your Globalization Approach: Choose Wisely

There are many different ways to approach globalization, but determining the right approach for your company, product and marketing strategy is key to success. Gil suggests that by answering the following two questions, you should be able to determine which approach you should take:

  • Do I need to localize the content, or can I simply translate?
  • Can I market similarly across the globe, or are significant changes necessary to be effective?

In the webinar, Gil discusses the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of all four approaches shown in the chart below. However, for the purposes of this blog, we’ll focus on the two most common globalization approaches: Centrally Driven or Regionally Driven.

chart slide 44

A Centrally Driven approach can be used when content is similar (i.e., you don’t need to create completely new messaging for different markets). This works when your offerings are consistent in all markets, and means that you can most likely simply translate, with only some subtle changes for cultural issues, if any. The marketing mix tends to be similar, too.. This approach ensures consistency of messaging and experience worldwide—you’re able to run the same campaigns and use the same messaging and content across multiple markets. Since major decisions and the majority of work is managed and executed centrally, you have the advantage of being able to scale your resources. Your core team is located in one place so you can reduce or add resources efficiently as needed. The other advantage is speed: Content and materials are created centrally and only requires translation (which should be localized to some degree so it reads fluently) so you can go to market more quickly than when a lot of customization is required.

However, there are disadvantages, too. Your team is in one location, but you’re managing a global campaign that reaches audiences worldwide, therefore you won’t have the same level of connectedness. And since you’re implementing the same marketing, you’ll have limited ability to customize content, so it’s critical that the central team has the right skill sets and people to create the content, and that there is also tight integration with the regions.

With a Regionally Driven approach to globalization, the global marketing strategy is still planned at the central level, but the tactical planning and execution happens regionally. The advantage of this approach is that it gives the regions a greater ability to be responsive to their marketplace, and it gives them the ability to target the content in region, and sometimes micro-target to specific subsets of audiences within the region.

The disadvantage to a Regionally Driven approach is that it will cost more to manage teams of people in different locations (which I personally believe usually pays off in terms of increased business in region). In addition to increased cost, unless it is well managed, there is also the potential for brand inconsistency across different markets. Since the regional teams are localizing content to meet the needs for their region and audience, and the go-to-market approach is different, you risk diluting your corporate messaging and brand across markets unless you have clear guidelines that are shared and followed across marketers and translation vendors. With this approach, it’s essential to implement corporate brand guidelines, multilingual glossaries and style guides to help keep your marketing on message as much as possible.

Don’t Wait, Act Now!
As marketers, we’re not only good at adapting to change, we’re often the ones leading the charge. Helping your company excel at global marketing is a worthy mission. Implementing strategies to support a self-service approach for customers that are also centered around strong relevant, localized content is critical. Combined with cross-platform digital marketing strategies and tactics and the right globalization approach, you’ll engage the global customer during the new buyer’s journey earlier and more effectively, and move him across the journey faster. Ultimately leading to increased global demand, sales and revenue for your company!

Want to Learn More?
A big “thank you” to Gil Canare at SiriusDecisions for providing the essential information marketers need to reach audiences globally faster and more effectively. I’d like to add that this blog merely touches upon a portion of the good information and recommendations that Gil provided in the webinar. Not to worry, though, if you missed the live webinar, you can view it on-demand.



The Global Buyer’s Journey is Changing (Part 2 of 3)

In our last blog post, we shared information about why the global buyer’s journey is changing, which was discussed in depth in a webinar Cloudwords hosted featuring  marketing industry expert Gil Canare, Research Director at SiriusDecisions. This next post, part 2 of 3, will expand on strategies marketers can implement to address the change in the global buying process.

A Framework for Demand
To further fine-tune your global marketing plan and messaging, marketers need to understand your company’s “Demand Type” so you can create and deliver the right content based on how familiar your offering is to a certain market. Your product may be well established in one country, but novel in others. How you communicate the value of your offering varies accordingly. If it’s highly established, you need to emphasize competitive differentiation. If it’s a new product or solution, you need to focus on basic market education. During the webinar, Gil presented the SiriusDecisions Demand Spectrum (see table below) and explained how SiriusDecisions classifies each type of demand a company is trying to create based on the characteristics of the product or service it sells. He outlines three types of demand: New Concept, New Paradigm, and Established Market. Which would you categorize your company?

chart slide 27

We would classify Cloudwords, for example, mostly within the New Paradigm category – we offer a new approach to solving the problems and difficulties associated with localizing marketing content on a global scale. As with other companies in this category, our messaging has to educate customers about the bigger problem we’re solving (in our case, creating efficiencies in taking content global, not just translation), then also clearly explain how our solution does so.

Adjust for Global Market Differences
When marketing globally, it’s important to determine Demand Type not just by the product you’re selling, but also by which market you’re selling into because your product might have different Demand Types depending on the region. Adjust your messaging to ensure you’re communicating to your audience the values they demand. Gil provided a good example of this—in North America and Western Europe, the SaaS market is New Paradigm and in some cases Established Market because most B2B customers understand the value SaaS provides. However, in some regions, consumers don’t understand the benefits and features of SaaS, so you need to treat it as a New Concept sell and spend more time in educating your target audience, otherwise they may not understand why your product exists at all.

Throughout the buying cycle, it’s important to tailor your messaging to fit the personas and demand type for each market. Determine all of this before you create the content. To facilitate translation into multiple languages, be sure to use straightforward statements and avoid local jargon or culturally specific references that won’t translate. And be sure to rely on local knowledge to make sure you get it all right.

Content Globalization Starts with the Idea
When creating and managing marketing content for global buyers, Gil noted two important considerations: The first is a reminder of a marketing fundamental: write for the consumer, not for you. Customers don’t care about what you can do; they care about how you can fix the problem that they’re coming to you to fix. His second point, which is actually the whole reason Cloudwords came to be, is “don’t insert globalization at the last mile.” In order for your campaign to scale globally, marketers need to think about how they’re going to globalize content from the beginning of the process when the ideas and messaging are created, and take into consideration all of the different audiences, stages of the buying cycle, and demand type. Otherwise, if you create the content first then consider translation later, you will create content and campaigns that are irrelevant and not impactful for other markets. Not only will this be very expensive and waste a lot of people’s time, but it will likely lose the intended impact.

It also means the content you create could be outright ignored by your regional sales and marketing teams. Is the content you create being used? In a recent survey of regional marketers conducted by SiriusDecisions, Gil noted that 80% of content is created by corporate headquarters for regions to use, but only 30% of corporate-created content is used in regions “as is”, without any modifications. That means 50% of content that corporate creates is being modified significantly by regional teams before they use it. While adjustments for local nuances is to be expected, there is a huge opportunity here to reduce the amount of time and costs associated with content having to be reworked in order to be useful and relevant by regional teams. If marketers can develop and create relevant content, with guidelines for localization, not only will costs be reduced, but go-to-market timelines will shrink as well.

Localizing the Entire Digital Marketing Mix
To execute a marketing campaign that supports the new global buyer’s journey requires digital marketing tactics, but these tactics must support a larger campaign with non-digital elements that is part of the overarching global strategy. Digital cannot be a stand-alone campaign. And to support global buyers, it’s important to support all digital marketing tactics used, including website, affiliate marketing, mobile, search, social, display, email and content syndication. However, the importance of tactics and how they’re used will vary by region and needs to be part of your plans. Some countries, for example, have strict email marketing rules, while others use different social media platforms, so it’s important to consider what’s appropriate and useful in different regions.

Coming soon: Part 3 of “The Global Buyer’s Journey is Changing.” Please visit to watch the webinar with Cloudwords and Gil Canare on-demand.



The Global Buyer’s Journey is Changing (Part 1 of 3)

globalization2You know it and I know it: the role of the marketer is changing fast. Not only are CMOs increasingly responsible for making technology-purchasing decisions, but marketers are increasingly responsible for driving more revenue, not just helping “support” sales and building brand. Why is this happening? What’s changed? One important reason is that over the last decade there has been a fundamental change in how buyers progress through the buying cycle.

To better understand this change and to learn what marketers can do to adjust our marketing strategy to adapt to the new buyer’s journey, Cloudwords recently hosted a webinar, featuring marketing industry expert Gil Canare, Research Director at SiriusDecisions, a leading global B2B research and advisory firm. Gil provided a wealth of information for our audience about how Internet penetration, social media, and purchase behaviors are changing the global buyer’s journey, as well as outlined strategies marketers can implement to better engage with global buyers earlier in the buying process more efficiently and more effectively.

Gil provided so much good information, we’ve developed a three-part blog to help inform our readers, so stay tuned for the next two posts in the series. In the meantime, please check out the on-demand webinar here.

The Buyer is in the Driver’s Seat

In a nutshell, digital technology is driving today’s global buyer’s journey. In the not so distant past, the sales team led the sales process for organizations, particularly for complex B2B purchases. If a buyer needed information about a product, often the only way to get it was to contact a sales person—that was step one. So, to increase sales, companies often invested in a larger, better sales team.

Today that is no longer the case. Now, more buyers—both consumer and business—are turning to online digital content to obtain as much information as possible about what they’ll buy before they even step foot in a door (or click a “purchase” button, or contact a sales person). Where are they getting this information? Buyers have access to more information than ever, conducting research online to seek out product information, peer reviews from other users, and third party sources. Now, instead of leads driven by the sales team, digital content accessed by the buyer is driving leads. The new buyer’s journey has moved from a sales-led process to a buyer-led, digitally-enabled process. As Gil stated during the webinar, “Companies no longer have control over the ‘cadence and flow’ of the customer any more.”

Digital is Global

Studies show that the buyer-led, digitally enabled trend is occurring worldwide. Digital content is global—the Internet makes your marketing campaigns and product materials accessible via computers or mobile devices. And access to content via mobile devices, particularly in emerging markets such as Latin America and Africa, is increasing significantly. A 2013 study revealed there are more than six billion mobile phones worldwide and more than 75 percent are located in emerging markets. Moreover, the World Economic Forum surveyed business leaders in 148 countries and found that more than 80% of the companies polled consider the Internet to be really important to their business. Clearly, Internet penetration is increasing worldwide and more consumers are taking the initiative to access digital content and find information about products they need or want.

“67% of the global buyer’s journey takes place online.”

“Research suggests that global buyers begin to research and evaluate products very early on in the buying process, and often are already deciding who they’re going to buy from (and not buy from) much earlier on, maybe before you even know about it, which ultimately impacts your revenue,” noted Gil.

Embrace and Adapt the New Reality

Since your digital marketing campaigns are visible across the globe, marketers must begin to support this change to maximize the opportunity to grow digital leads. According to Gil, companies today must support a “self-service model” that is content-focused and digitally delivered. That means marketers need to have the right information available at the right place at the right time. The content must align to what buyers are looking for and address their needs; and, be readily accessible.

Globalization plays a role when thinking about the buying cycle. Marketers need to adjust their messaging and content for the target market they’re reaching, as well as the target persona and the stage of the buying cycle. Localization is the key to global execution and engaging multilingual audiences—if your content isn’t translated properly, or isn’t culturally relevant, not only will you lose an opportunity for a sale, you risk damaging your brand and corporate identity. Your content must address what is important for the region. For example, some cultures rely much more heavily on statistics and data, while others are more trusting of peer reviews. Marketers need to pay attention to these differences when creating and delivering global content.

Coming soon: Part 2 of “The Global Buyer’s Journey is Changing.” Please visit to watch the webinar with Cloudwords and Gil Canare on-demand.


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