“It’s not personal; it’s business.”
Today’s global marketers should flip that age-old adage on its head and use its opposite as their rallying cry. Today’s marketers can rest assured: if it’s business, then it’s certainly personal.
In a fast-paced global environment in which consumers seek increasingly targeted, authentic conversations with the brands they support, how can marketers keep up? As brands strive to reach more heterogeneous customers on a more personal level more often, they need new global marketing processes, tactics, and tools.
To optimize their global marketing campaigns, marketers should keep the following three maxims in mind.
- Operate like GPS.
When you use GPS, your points of departure and arrival are fixed—but nothing else is. Every road, turn, and method of transport is subject to change as new data—and an optimized route—become available during your trip. Savvy drivers will reload their GPS devices periodically to get to their destinations better, faster, smarter.
The new global digital marketing environment requires the same approach: a clear point of departure and point of arrival, persistent measurement and analysis of highly dynamic data flows, and a willingness to pivot from tried and true paths when new data and tools reveal a better one. Because if anything is constant for marketers, it’s the surety of change. Marketers are inundated with an ever-expanding litany of tools and technologies that purport to solve their myriad problems; this year, chiefmartec.com delineates 6,829 available marketing technology solutions in a dizzying graphic—and that’s up a full 27% from the 5,381 solutions offered in 2017.
The best marketers will operate like GPS: they’ll understand where they’re coming from and where they want to go, but they’ll also embrace a winding path—and all the newest tools and information, from SEO to content marketing to voice search, that make their journey the best and most resonant it can possibly be.
- Strike a balance between local and global.
Global marketers are constantly straddling a line dividing two priorities: maintaining consistency with their core branding, and finessing messages so they’re relevant to local markets. Despite pieces such as this one from The Guardian positing that English is “taking over the planet,” the importance of speaking to global customers in their local languages can’t be overstated. According to a 2018 Common Sense Advisory report, global consumers still prefer to make purchases in their native languages. When a minority of ads created for the US market resonate globally, this is a real challenge.
Protecting brand consistency is key, perhaps especially when a company globalizes. But marketers need to be aware that different words, phrases, and images will have varying connotations and receptions in different locations—and if the goal is to connect with customers on a personal level, it’s important to keep cultural context front-of-mind.
To optimize their global campaigns, marketers need to codify the core essence of their brand: the feelings it evokes, the images that animate it, and the values that drive it. They then need to work with local partners to ensure that this essence is brought to life in local markets, so they can forge lasting, personal connections that circle the globe.
- Cut costs and complexity by centralizing operations.
Global marketers may find that their strategies and plans can be impeded by increasing levels of complexity—in terms of the resources available to them, the rules that constrain them, and the experience that customers are increasingly seizing control of. It can be a burden to marketing departments to run efficiently and cost-effectively.
If possible, global marketers should centralize their operations to overcome complexity and cut costs. This is where a partner like Lionbridge can help—our Global Digital Marketing Services team takes stock of a company’s marketing ecosystem, original rich content, and global and regional goals and uses our insights to increase customer engagement, omnichannel performance, and global operations efficiency. We help marketing teams worldwide centralize and streamline, so they can adapt to the shape-shifting marketing landscape and resonate with local customers while maintaining global brand integrity.