Big Marketing Industry Problem #6: How San Diego Leaders are addressing the issue
The AMA’s sixth marketing industry problem is “Competing in Dynamic, Global Markets”, which describes the unprecedented speed of change within global markets on both the customer and competitor levels. Non-traditional competitors such as second-world firms and emerging economies are developing rapidly. Additionally, many big growth opportunities are in emerging marketplaces which is new and unfamiliar territory for most marketers.
In this article in our Seven Big Problems in Marketing Series, we outline the solutions to the sixth big problem articulated by leaders in the 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective.
Brands participating in the study included those in global markets and some with plans to expand into international markets. The marketing practices employed by global organizations are also commonly used in the U.S.
MARKETING PRACTICES EMPLOYED BY GLOBAL ORGANIZATIONS
Alignment of Corporate and Product Marketing
Among some global brands there is a separation of corporate marketing and product marketing. While each team has a separate purpose and marketing goals, global brands ensure that both teams work together to align brand awareness and product messaging. Corporate marketing provides overarching marketing guidelines to make sure that branding is aligned across all product marketing teams. It is then the job of the product marketing team to utilize and adapt that material to their local markets and audience.
One Technology company explained that corporate marketing oversees public relations, social media, trade shows, branding, advertising, research and insights. Product marketing, on the other hand, has different specific geographic priorities and challenges. In the future, this separation of corporate and product marketing is likely to be replaced with more unified and seamless customer engagements. Another Technology company has already moved all marketing efforts under a corporate marketing umbrella; however, there are separate corporate and product marketing objectives.
Greater Use of Outside Resources in Foreign Markets
Global organizations tend to use outside resources in foreign markets because native agencies have a more in-depth understating of local markets. This gives firms headquartered in the U.S. a better chance at competing with the second-world firms that are growing in emerging economies. U.S. based marketing teams set strategy and provide foreign agencies with guidelines, templates and marketing assets that are used and customized for their local markets. In some cases, foreign agencies do not have the necessary industry expertise, so it is important that internal marketing teams from headquarters influence the creation of tools and resources for each region during product launches or advertising campaigns. Since a large part of business is conducted online today, it is easier for companies to outsource technical services such as web design and automation abroad often gaining the benefit of lower prices.
Traditional Media Usage
The preferred advertising medium for successful reach and engagement varies across countries. For a brand in the Technology space, advertising to consumers via television is the preferred channel to reach consumers in India and China, but promoting the B2B brand to businesses in the U.S. is done via public relations and in-person engagement. Marketers are using campaign data and analytics to understand which methods are successful in each country. There is a perceived need to create a balance of digital and traditional marketing within each country.
Social Media, Video and Short Films
Social media is becoming increasingly important in the marketing mix in countries outside the U.S. One B2B Technology brand noted that most of their marketing budget in China went to social media in 2016. Additionally, brand videos and short films are being developed to raise brand awareness in both the Asian and U.S. markets.
Just as the U.S. marketing community is increasingly focused on personalization and customization, this is also occurring in global markets; however, this is overlaid by the ever-increasing need for faster fulfillment. To address this, global brands are:
- Using more customer stories and user generated content rather than informational marketing to create a more local and relevant experience.
- Making social media more personable when interacting with customers. For example, one marketing team has its CEO interact with customers on social media rather than employing a nameless person who represents the brand. This allows foreign consumers to feel they are being heard and have a connection with a multinational company based in the U.S.
- Creating a physical presence in foreign markets. Having business units within the market allows the brand to provide a more personal experience that is relevant to local customers.
This push for personalization was a big adjustment for one B2B brand that historically believed that its customers were not very “social” in nature. When the brand realized that its international clients desired detailed conversations about products and services offered and the ability to discuss industry concerns, the company took measures to engage on a more personal level.
Thought Leadership is essential for global brands to gain more recognition and trust in new markets where they are less known. Successful campaigns for global brands include sharing knowledge on relevant industry topics and being perceived as leaders in the industry.
One B2B Technology brand launched a globally focused campaign combining social media, blog posts and other digital channels to share “hot topic” industry tips and tricks. The campaign saw higher performance results than any other marketing effort to date.
Another Technology brand creates unique and relevant content for both customers and clients that is personalized for each country.
The acquisition of global companies is one way to increase global footprint and leverage resources for efficiencies. The marketing department of the acquiring company must make sure it is not missing any valuable skills in the company being acquired, especially if the company is abroad and has local talent and procedures.
COMPETING IN GLOBAL MARKETS
Global markets are becoming more easily accessible due to the online marketplace. Companies are viewing this as both a threat and an opportunity and taking measures accordingly. Marketers are realizing that one size fits all is not effective and are using foreign agencies that have the local know-how to conduct their research and marketing campaigns.
Marketing is changing. The mindset of your customer is changing. The most successful companies understand and embrace change.
Today’s marketing leader must be more agile, data-focused, and customer-obsessed than ever before. We spoke to CMOs, VPs, and Director-level marketers from a variety of B2B and B2C businesses to learn how this shift in marketing is impacting San Diego.
Our 2017 State of Marketing Report – The San Diego Perspective is available at no cost!
Heather Hatty is a Project Manager at Q2 Insights, Inc. a research and innovation consulting firm with offices in San Diego and New Orleans. she can be reached at (985) 867-9494 ext. 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org.