6 Core Roles of a Successful Global Marketing Team

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Executing a global marketing strategy (as opposed to a regional strategy) requires a bit more of everything: extra resources, more content, greater market knowledge, and additional languages, to name a few. To support this, you have to build your global marketing team accordingly.

Localization is critical for success, but adds operational complexity

We know localized content is important for customer engagement. Research shows:

  • 55% of global consumers only make online purchases from websites offering content in their native language.
  • Organizations that localize their content while ensuring its consistency with company branding achieve 79% greater Net Promoter Score (NSP)—a measurement of customer experience and predicted business growth—than those that don’t.
  • 84% of global business professionals are more inclined to purchase products online when information is presented in their own language.

And after horror stories about slogans, messaging, and content being mistranslated or misunderstood globally, it’s clear that high-quality localization is important for global branding.

So can’t you just translate content and push it through global channels? For certain content types and markets, this may work some of the time. But marketing is made up of more than just messaging and content.

Tailor your marketing tactics by locale

SiriusDecisions’ Director of EMEA Research, Isabel Montesdeoca, puts it best: “While marketers across the globe have access to many of the same tactics (e.g. email, webinars, search engine marketing, display advertising), how we combine these raw ingredients into effective integrated campaigns differs from country to country.” SiriusDecisions research found several examples of this:

  • Marketers in the UK ranked email as the most effective delivery mechanism during the education, solution, and selection stages.
  • In France, contact acquisition and content syndication were rated as more effective.
  • In the Netherlands and Germany, direct mail was seen as more effective than email in the education and solution stages.
  • Yet in Spain and Italy, search engine advertising was considered more effective than direct mail across several buying stages.

Since the effectiveness of tactics vary from country to country, you must tailor them to each specific market to optimize campaigns. But it’s difficult to have the locale-specific knowledge needed to properly adapt them.

To fill this gap, you need a truly global marketing team to support your strategy. Staffing your team with the right people—and understanding how they work together—is critical for success.

Some of these roles include:

Corporate and regional stakeholders

Who do you report results to? Whose buy-in do you need to execute your strategy? Your stakeholders could be a CEO, Marketing VP, Sales Director, Country Manager, or other influencer of your global marketing strategy.

Connect with them to understand how you can best support each other. Do stakeholders need to give final sign-off on campaign elements? Where are they located? Are local marketers empowered to tell them “no”?

Whatever level of approval is needed for both corporate and regional marketing activity, clarify it. That includes timeliness of approval, types of feedback, and how feedback is implemented.

Source- and target-language content creators

These creative types can be based in headquarters, regionally, or remotely. They must have strong writing or design skills. And more importantly, they must understand how to create global, or “culturally neutral,” content. If they write English source content, they should also understand the nuances of International English.

What is “culturally neutral” content? It’s content that doesn’t sound identifiably regional—it could have been written anywhere. It leaves out colloquial sayings, cultural references, and local terminology. It’s easier to add colloquialisms and idioms to meet a particular market’s needs than it is to remove or translate them. Err on the side of caution when creating global content.

Global SEO specialists optimize digital content

Depending on the size of your team, SEO specialists could be based in headquarters or regional locales. You can also outsource this work to a global marketing services provider. Specialists must be able to do keyword research, optimize sites for search, and provide guidance around campaign content topics.

They ought to understand the technical aspects of multilingual SEO and how website structure and coding must be configured to enable global search best practices.

Tip: Identify an SEO specialist for each of your target markets. They’ll need to provide local keywords that are unique to and relevant for each region.

A global webmaster manages your localized corporate site

This tech-savvy web manager will likely be based in headquarters. They should have experience managing a global site and understand how to integrate website internationalization, localization, and publishing processes.

Tip: To learn more about managing a global website and the approach of website translators, download The Definitive Guide to Website Translation.

Local marketers adapt campaigns and content

These are the players who put the “global” in global marketing team. Local marketers focus on specific global markets. Ideally, they’re based in the locale that they target, so they can easily stay up to date with market trends, social buzz, and local competitors.

These marketers tailor campaigns to their markets. They draw on their local market knowledge and marketing expertise to nurture and engage audiences.

Another critical role that local marketers play is reviewing translated content. They should have a final view to make sure it’s relevant and on brand. However, they must be mindful of giving preferential feedback.

What’s preferential feedback in translation? Consider the phrase: “To maintain communication, we correspond with teammates every day.” And editor might change it to: “To stay up to date, we communicate with teammates daily.” But the two phrases have essentially the same meaning. This is a preferential edit. For translation, it’s similar—a reviewer making edits because it sounds better, even if the meaning and tone remain intact.

A localization manager oversees all translation activity

Your localization manager keeps a close eye on translation projects, ensuring that translations are completed on time, within budget, and on brand. Their responsibilities also include managing translation workflows and communication to and from local market reviewers. They can be part of your in-house team, or you can outsource their role to a translation provider.

A localization manager must understand your company’s brand guidelines and terminology standards, adhere to deadlines, and vet translation feedback to know whether or not it’s preferential.

Tip: When it comes to translation review, determine how strictly each market must follow style and terminology guidelines, and then stick to those decisions. A localization manager should make sure local marketers understand the difference between preferential edits and inaccurate or off-brand translation. Hold local marketers accountable for providing actionable feedback.

With these six roles filled for each of your target markets, you’ll be ready to plan and execute successful global marketing strategies. And once you’ve staffed your global marketing team, be sure to develop an efficient workflow to collaborate with colleagues and manage campaigns.

Download the new eBook, A Marketer’s Guide to Global Customer Experience Management, to learn how to build this workflow. It’ll help you manage global branding, localization, and local marketing tactics.

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