In their Evolved CMO in 2016 report, Forrester Research found that 64% of CMOs are now responsible for delivering their organization’s customer experience.
With an increasing number of customer touchpoints, content as king, and personalization as a requirement, the scope of this responsibility is vast.
On a global scale, it becomes even more complicated. The customer journey in each market can differ greatly, requiring a unique mix of content types and channels. This content must be in your audience’s native language. And ensuring this multilingual content is consistent and on-brand in all languages? Yet another hurdle.
To successfully execute your global customer experience strategy, it’s critical you have the right team, tools, and processes in place.
Start by understanding how your organization operates
There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
The right workflow for your global customer experience strategy will depend on many factors such as budget, business goals, in-market resource availability, etc.
But before executing your strategy, it’s critical that you understand who has control and decision-making power over:
1) Campaign planning
2) Content creation
3) Marketing execution
Perhaps you’re a B2C organization that maintains an extremely local touch. Do you need to cede full control to your local markets?
Or maybe you’re part of a large B2B organization with many levels of corporate approvals. Is it important that executive leadership in headquarters signs off on all plans?
Who gives input? How much influence does each teammate get? And who’s in charge of what?
Engage your stakeholders in frank discussions, and clarify these answers upfront. Document them. Then communicate them to all members of your global marketing team.
That way, if disagreements arise, you can resort back to your alignment document for an unbiased resolution.
Note: This document should be considered live. You may find that certain situations call for adjustments as you discover new challenges and better ways to collaborate.
Develop a custom-fit, collaborative workflow
To produce global marketing campaign results—while maintaining a seamless global customer experience—you must foster an open, ongoing dialogue between corporate leadership and local in-market resources. A centralized workflow helps facilitate this conversation.
With a centralized workflow:
- You can control costs while maintaining efficient operations.
- Your in-market resources will feel more connected to and valued by the rest of the global team.
- Campaigns will be more effective from tapping into local insight.
- You maintain a level of organizational control, resulting in consistent global messaging.
How do you build this workflow?
Every organization is different, so you should tailor your workflow to the unique needs of your own team. But there are some consistent best practices to keep in mind throughout the process.
Note: This approach assumes you have local, in-market resources dedicated to each of your target regions. If not, some marketing translation providers can supplement your team with in-market reviewers or marketing experts to expand your global reach.
The workflow above maps out how your global team works together. This process can be adapted to fit most marketing tactics and content types.
Headquarters (regional or global) develops global business strategies.
Who are you marketing to? What is your main message? Which languages must you localize for? Rank your markets in order of important, and then prioritize your marketing activity accordingly.
Field marketers develop strategic campaign plans.
Define your go-to-market strategy for each region and plan for necessary adaptations to content and campaigns. That includes what and where you’ll publish content—everything from thought leadership content to email blasts to plans for PPC and display campaigns.
Each field marketer must understand the nuances of their locale. Perhaps for one region, the campaign must be entirely digital. For another, in-person events are more effective. Trust your in-market resources. They know their region best.
Remember to communicate local campaign plans back to headquarters. They should be approved by required stakeholders so local field markers have the resources they need to succeed.
Content creators develop English source content.
With plans in place, creative production can begin. Source content must be developed in line with branding guidelines, translation best practices, and global content best practices. Remember to use culturally-sensitive images. And graphics should be built using global design best practices.
Local marketers vet content for translation.
Which pieces need marketing translation, which need transcreation, and which should be recreated in-market? It’s possible that a certain piece of content is unnecessary for a campaign in a certain market. Or the English source content may be good enough.
Collect feedback from local marketers on content relevance and quality for their region. For example, if most of your content creators are based in the U.S., you may receive the feedback that content sounds “too American.” If so, have them note a few specific actions a writer could take to improve content for a global audience.
Content is sent for marketing translation, transcreation, or copywriting.
Before you submit content for localization, be sure to provide your translation partner with terminology glossaries and style guides. They’ll also need to be familiar with your brand identity and guidelines.
Tip: Always send your translation provider content source files in a format native to the system they work in (indd, psd, ai, xml, html, etc.). These files speed up the process and control costs.
Field marketers review translated or transcreated content.
Has content been translated according to terminology and branding standards? Do translations clearly articulate your message in your global brand voice? Be sure that all reviewers understand the difference between preferential edits and translation errors.
If requested edits are due to branding or terminology errors, make the necessary changes. But if they’re preferential, communicate these changes to headquarters. You may need to revise your style guides or revisit your rules of field engagement. Your local marketer could be right to flag a change. If so, have your translation provider update linguistic assets accordingly.
Content is published—digitally or in print—and promoted.
Executing your global customer experience strategy through this workflow allows for centralized operations, which are key to controlling costs and maintaining consistency across touchpoints. Yet local resources still have the freedom and authority to make necessary adaptations for their markets.
It’s good for corporate headquarters, local influencers, and global customers.
In short, everyone wins.