09/12/2014 Leave a comment
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.
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.