Global marketing campaigns are becoming increasingly focused on catering for the ‘instant’ society and also on being locally relevant. As consumers turn to the latest digital platforms and devices for communication and transactions, the successful marketing campaigners are those that constantly stay one step ahead.
The target market
Instead of an outdated ‘one size fits all’ approach, organizations are now customizing their strategies to suit local cultures and trends. They seek to engage with consumers at an emotional level and to interact with them as much as possible. To do so, they study the demographics of the communities they are venturing into to learn what drives them. What are the prevalent cultural influences? What do they value? How do they spend their time at work and home? Time spent on market research prior to releasing a product or service is seldom wasted.
If the organization is expanding into multiple countries or regions, they need to research each one separately, as the findings can vary greatly. For example, a car manufacturer might focus on building smaller hybrid cars for the Japanese market and SUV’s for regional areas of larger western countries. They would look at the distance travelled each day, the number of passengers and even color preferences for the paintwork. They would also need to consider if the product is already universal or if it will need some modifications for each market. Again, cars are a good example as they may need to be released in both left hand and right-hand drives and also automatic or manual models.
The economic situation in each region is another factor that needs to be carefully analyzed at a very early stage. Knowing what the average income is and how much people would be prepared to spend on a new product or service is critical, as judgement errors could result in millions of dollars being lost. Even in regions where personal wealth is quite comfortable, companies shouldn’t necessarily set their prices too high. Lower prices that still have a sound profit margin can often generate a greater turn-over rate and ultimately higher profits.
Communication and engagement
Once companies have identified their target markets, they need to establish the most effective methods to communicate with them. In this era, information comes from all angles: TV, radio, print media, websites, emails, social media, mobile apps and more. Not only do they need to utilize multiple platforms, but also multiple languages. It isn’t possible to offer translation into every language across all platforms, so deep consideration needs to be given to which languages to use and in which platforms. Again, this comes back to knowing exactly who the target demographic is in each region and what forms of marketing they respond to.
Look at any international sporting event or technology launch to see how many different marketing techniques have been utilized. They are increasingly seeking ways to engage with the fans or users. For example, the Grand Slam tennis events are advertised for months in the traditional media. They all have websites and mobile apps giving up-to-date player profiles, news and scores. Over the last few years they have also introduced social media channels where viewers can add comments, enter competitions and chat to the players. Of course, the online platforms all have very prominent merchandising ads and links to sponsor websites.
Calling in the professionals
Many companies recognize their strengths lie in supplying their products and services and not necessarily in promoting them, especially to a multilingual market. The smart ones call in professional global marketing operators who can then oversee all aspects of the campaign, including:
- Designing, translating and publishing promotional literature and internal documents
- Ensuring all website content is fully translated, including captions and videos
- Ensuring that translations are culturally appropriate
- Hiring professionals who are not only experts in their field, but who also understand local contexts and terminology.
Outsourcing these aspects of a global marketing campaign means that the existing employees are able to pursue their own responsibilities with greater focus and less stress. If companies chose to use their existing staff for the marketing roles, they would likely find a reduction in performance and completion time. Or if they hired staff for the campaigns, they would also have to pay additional taxes, superannuation and the like. So bringing in professionals for the duration of the campaign saves time, cuts costs and increases all-round performance. Many companies use a mix of permanent and freelance staff to work together throughout the global campaign. This means that they draw on the fresh ideas and inspiration from the freelancers and also the years of local and industry knowledge held by their existing staff.
The organizations that don’t actively seek to implement new business models and simply use blanket strategies are those that will slowly fade into the background. Those that ‘know’ their consumers and seek to engage with them as much as possible are the ones who will lead the way into the new global economy.