Any marketer can tell you the competition for consumers’ attention continues to grow, driven by trends in globalization and digital marketing; however, acknowledging and addressing these challenges are two very different processes.
Recently, Lionbridge teamed up with Econsultancy to survey more than 300 marketing professionals to determine key differentiators that distinguished marketers as industry leaders in comparison to those who were performing at average levels.
At the foundation of any marketing campaign is a deep understanding of the customer and how they prefer to receive communication. When it comes to understanding customers’ communication preferences, an overwhelming majority of leaders (91 percent) reported feeling confident, compared to only one-third of everyone else. Similarly, 89 percent of leaders are confident in their understanding of customers’ channel preferences, versus just 51 percent of the mainstream.
This astounding discrepancy in responses highlights how essential it is to build a customer-centric marketing campaign. While it sounds like a straightforward step, the average marketer is clearly less confident in their level of knowledge on how customers like to be reached – a factor that can drastically alter an entire campaign strategy.
Additionally, leaders and the average marketer approach content creation differently. Leaders most frequently reported that all content is created locally, while a majority of the mainstream create content centrally and then localize it. Not surprisingly, the mainstream is investing at significantly lower rates than leaders in their ability to distribute content to regions. Over half of leaders report vigorous investing while everyone else says they are planning on investing later, but have not currently budgeted for it.
The benefits of vigorous investing can be seen in other aspects of marketing. For example, over half (59 percent) of leaders say the time from campaign concept to delivery is decreasing, while more than one-third of average respondents found the time to develop and execute on a campaign is actually increasing.
Marketing leaders are using part of their investing to institute unified processes and technologies for campaign development and management, helping accelerate the process overall. The average respondents understand the importance of this consistency, but more than half have no plans to consolidate processes across all stakeholders.
The mainstream marketers’ lack of understanding of its customers, coupled with underinvested distribution channels provide an opportunity for improvement. Developing content and campaigns that resonate with local markets requires a deep understanding of customers and their preferences.
To create meaningful campaigns and/or content that reaches the appropriate audiences through the channels they most often utilize, it is critical to first have a thorough understanding of the customer on a global and regional scale.
It may seem like a simpler and easier option to simply take centrally created content, translate it, and distribute it to the appropriate region(s), but doing so overlooks cultural differences that can have major impacts on marketing campaigns – from product names that translate awkwardly to idioms or colloquialisms that don’t translate at all. Understanding customers and their behavior will ensure better outcomes and stronger engagement.
There are still challenges that all marketers (including industry leading survey respondents) continue to struggle with. Large percentages of respondents say they struggle with striking a balance between global and local messaging demands.
One way to address this challenge is to partner with a company that can provide the expertise in both the language and the target regions. These consultants can augment a team’s understanding of local messaging demands, and can be used as advisors when generating overarching global themes. Experts with global and local knowledge can iron out wrinkles early in the development stages, such as by eliminating messages that are too region-specific or will not necessarily resonate with global customers.
Overall, leaders have elevated themselves by making proactive investments in their marketing technology and processes to help streamline localized content development. They also focus heavily on customer-centric campaigns, spending time on gathering intelligence on customers’ preferred methods and means of communication. While marketers across the board continue to struggle with balancing global and local messaging and ensuring messaging is relevant, by bringing in global partners and experts, companies can overcome these hurdles to create compelling global campaigns that resonate with customers.
Clint Poole is the vice president of global marketing at Lionbridge. He joined the company in 2012, bringing over a decade of experience in developing and enhancing brands and improving marketing performance to drive revenue growth. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of New Hampshire.
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