Global Marketing Next: our roundtable recap

Rapid digital acceleration, major shifts in consumer behaviour, more content across more and more channels… the new era of global marketing has arrived. But, while the game has changed, the same rules still apply. It’s all about listening and learning in order to deliver an authentic message to audiences. Of course, when you add local markets into the mix, things get a little trickier.

So, we invited senior global marketers from leading brands to help us ponder the challenge of getting it right locally, and to shed some light on what ‘global marketing next’ means to them.

Here are a few of our key learnings:

Global Marketing Next In A Nutshell

  • The future of global marketing is about investing heavily into diversity, inclusion and belonging, looking at your internal and external talent.
  • The challenge of global marketing will continue to be about local relevance. How can brands understand the needs of customers in-market as the world continues to shift so quickly?
  • For tech brands, rapid digital acceleration has led to hyper-growth. The present and future challenge will be responding to this growth. The global, collaborative element will be especially tricky – pulling teams together from all around the world, building relationships and trust while working remotely and collaborating effectively to deliver impactful marketing campaigns.
  • A vital part of global marketing next is finding a way to marry content creators with brands in a truly engaging and authentic way. Brands need to move away from the #InfluencerAd model as consumers see it as a creative sellout.
  • Global marketers should embrace the opportunities presented by audio marketing. Podcasts are easy to make, highly accessible and provide brands with a unique way to share their story. The podcast market is also opening up to more cultures and more voices, so it’s a key global opportunity.
  • The role of brand and consumer has now reversed. Brands can no longer preach to their audience. Brands must listen to their audience, catering their messaging and delivering content that resonates.

Digital Isn’t First, Second Or Third. It’s Just Part Of The Mix

  • Digital is integral to new era marketing, but it’s not about digital first, second or third. Digital is now part of the mix and global marketers should use a holistic blend of channels relevant to their brand.
  • Global media strategy should be determined by the best path for engaging in conversation with customers, whether that be IRL, print, OOH, digital, etc.
  • Different brands will require different media strategies, depending on their audiences. For many, TV still has a huge role to play.
  • Traditional IRL marketing allows brands to translate their message into different touch points for audiences. In that way, IRL is a great way to cut through the noise. As a result, events will make a comeback following the current pandemic.
  • In the short term, the challenge is taking unique IRL experiences and delivering them to audiences digitally.
  • A way to do this is by reacting to what’s happening locally. For example, a podcast platform brand might look at the wave of new creators in Mexico and Brazil and try to cater to those audiences through digital experiences.
  • Fundamentally, digital marketing is about data-driven experience. It needs to be attributable and you need to look at the cost of acquisition over time.
  • If marketers want to test and create content that’s more authentic, they need to work on how they use data. Global marketers have access to a huge amount of data. But now the focus should be on leveraging that data effectively and responsibly.

Looking Beyond Buzzwords To Achieve Authenticity

  • Brands must know their place. Opportunities will always arise, but brands must remember what role they play in people’s lives. Experimentation, testing and adapting is important but only if it’s relevant to the brand’s role.
  • Brands should get up and close and personal with not only their customers, but also with those who interact with the brand – employees, external partners etc. Ask questions: what are the issues? How can we help? What can we do better?
  • People have strong BS meters. Global marketers are the gatekeepers of content, so they must have a really high bar for what’s being put out into the world.
  • Content shouldn’t be driven solely by vanity metrics or business goals. It’s about leaning into the conversations taking place within the audience.
  • Marketers need to move away from authenticity as a buzzword and actually understand what authenticity means for their brand – it must become a value they bring into the way they are conducting their work.

Humility And Flexibility – The Keys To Getting It Right Locally

  • Brands mustn’t do things just for the sake of global brand consistency. One size doesn’t fit all, local nuances and cultural differences need to be taken into account otherwise marketing becomes too homogenised.
  • Global marketers need to work with people from different backgrounds, across different markets. There needs to be a relationship of trust between global and local teams, thus allowing local knowledge to inform marketing decisions.
  • When trying to achieve local authenticity, marketers must show humility. Of course, with global to local content, everyone thinks their approach is right. But being humble, stepping back and assessing all the ideas objectively is the only way to find the right one.
  • Global teams need to know up front where they’re willing to make compromises in order to create content that works locally.
  • All global marketers have internal bias. As a single person, they can’t decide on what’s going to resonate locally. Global marketers must always aspire to expand their worldview, stepping into the shoes of different audiences around the world.
  • Sometimes local teams buy into the bigger global production piece because global have the budget to produce amazing creative. But, global creative often lacks the necessary local nuances. Marketers have to ask themselves what local audiences expect to see visually and tonally.
  • Global marketers must do their homework. Research the markets, test the content and keep improving it to find out how to be a key player in local conversations.
  • Global marketing requires a flexible approach – what works for one campaign might not work for the next. Brands need to build flexibility into how they work so they can adapt to a fast-changing global context.

We hope you found this roundup of our roundtable, Global Marketing Next: Building Global Campaigns For the New Era, useful. For updates on future events, make sure to join the Global Marketers’ Club.

Or, if you’d like some help fine-tuning your global marketing for the new era, get in touch.

About Freedman

Freedman is an insight-driven global creative production company. We help brands speak to any audience, anywhere in the world, on their own wavelength.

To make that happen, we combine our unique breadth of local cultural understanding across all brand communications with over 30 years of practical expertise in the nuts and bolts of production and delivery.

We are proudly independent, working in partnership with brands to offer objective advice and a fresh perspective. This freedom allows us to take a bespoke approach to localisation, production and delivery. We assign teams and create tailored solutions to support a brand’s unique situation. 

As global brand guardians, we provide expert advice and worldwide brand governance ensuring that campaigns are always consistent and compliant. At the same time, our team of global creative production experts deliver hyper-relevant localised assets informed by genuine cultural insights.

How Confluent continues to disrupt the event streaming space

For the latest instalment of our interview series with next generation marketers, Freedman’s Eleonore Maudet shared some real talk (screen to screen) with Confluent’s Jess Weimer.

Not only is Jess an award winning demand-to-revenue marketing executive, she’s also Confluent’s first ever Vice President of Global Revenue Marketing. And on the topics of firsts, our interview with Jess was full of first-rate insights, with some surprisingly refreshing marketing advice.

Jess discusses how Confluent cut through global Zoom fatigue, continuing to deliver  targeted events and field-led activities to locked-down audiences worldwide. And, leading the way in the battle against old school thinking, Jess inspires us to up the ante with traditional KPIs, focusing on new ways to create and accelerate real opportunities…

EM: How has Confluent adapted to Covid-19? Were there any new opportunities for the brand?

JW: Fortunately our brand is fueled by the love of the developer community. They’re the heartbeat of the organization and they got us to where we are today. Because they’re such strong influencers and advocates for the technology we offer, Covid-19 didn’t really affect the conversations we were having with them.

In fact, Covid provided opportunities for more people to get involved with what we do. For example, by making our annual Kafka Summit event free, and by pivoting into virtual, we went from roughly 2,000 people attending in person, to over 35,000 registered and close to 19,000 live attendees. On-demand sign-ups have also been pouring in daily since the event. And, thanks to the ease of virtual, we had attendees from over 143 countries represented. These figures exceeded our expectations, and are well above the registrant to attendee ratio for big summits like this.

Back in March, I was worried that the people we were inviting would have virtual fatigue after months of webinars day and night. But our attendance figures show that it doesn’t matter how many online events are being held, it’s the nature and the quality of the content that matters.

EM: What about your global marketing campaigns? Has the crisis affected your strategy and tactics?

JW: As I mentioned before, Covid-19 forced everything to turn virtual, and quickly. This shift had a big impact on our field led activities. Our field sales suddenly had to become “inside sales.” And it wasn’t just affecting us, our buyers became at home buyers overnight. Nothing can replace the impact of face to face interaction, but all of us had to adapt.

There are pros and cons of this change to virtual. What I mean is, by turning our field events (prospecting, deal acceleration, closing events, etc.) into virtual events, we were able to get more reach in many places. Before, if we were hosting a closing event in a specific city in the central region (USA) for example, we could only invite so many people who could drive a certain mileage in that region. Now, with our prospects and customers all being remote, they have the ability to engage in more activities, like workshops and forums. So we can invite more of them along. But the conversion rate with a broader exposure is still to be determined.

Of course, we have to be careful about bringing too many people into what is typically a more intimate setting as it goes against the personalized approach. We can’t lose the intimacy of what’s meant to garner the impact from 1-on-1 and 1-to-a-few activities. For example, if we’re holding an executive roundtable, the goal is not to get 100s of registrants as it takes away from the objective and the conversation, and ultimately lessens the impact. So that’s one thing that I work with my team on, finding the balance because it’s not a free-for-all.

EM: And have you noticed any regional differences in the reaction to Covid-19? How do you ensure you remain flexible with your marketing to cater for any local differences?

JW: We’ve noticed a lot of differences regionally. For instance, we’re a key sponsor for Big Data Paris and Big Data London. Big Data London pivoted to a virtual format, as to be expected. But Big Data Paris is moving forward with in-person execution which is a big mind shift from those of us operating in the US and most of the rest of the world. We’re here thinking how could in-person events even work? The new reality is, every one of our employees, customers and prospects are essentially tied to what’s going on in their area. So that’s just one example of a nuance that’s happening regionally that we’ve had to contend with.

Also, while virtual means we can easily invite global audiences, we can’t just turn our regional events into generic global events and target everyone. For example, our Confluent Streaming Event series is our customer marquee event where we invite top tier prospects too. It used to be in-person across 12 regions. Now that it’s virtual, we’ve been able to reduce them to 6 by making them a little broader, all while taking into consideration the language barriers. The registrations are still quality signups because, even though we shrunk the quantity, we didn’t make the events too generic. We didn’t derail their purpose.

EM: Thinking about flexibility on a local level, at Freedman we believe there’s a new generation of global marketers: the next gen global marketers. They help disruptive, digital native brands like Confluent adapt quickly to changing global situations. But what does next generation global marketing mean to you?

JW: To me, next generation global marketers are revenue marketers. In the past, I purposely rebranded my team as revenue marketers, and I continue to do that in my present career. Some people identify as digital marketers, others as demand gen, but I argue that we should all be revenue marketers. If you pivot your thinking to that mindset, you stop wasting time on vanity metrics like clicks and even MQLs – as those metrics cloud the picture and distract from the true value of marketing, which should be pipeline generation and, ultimately, revenue.

Thinking about your question, disruption to me means pushing out the old age thinking of “lead volume” as a market purpose. How many impressions are we getting on this ad and all of that. Maybe they’re indicators for a baseline portion of what you do, but not all leads are created equally, not all personas in the buying committee or the stakeholder stack are operating in the conversation in the same way. So, you really have to look at your accounts and ask yourself – what is the best way to really get to that account? Do you need a ton of lead volume, or do you need more high touch engagement with certain personas, like the executives? What is the best way to connect with the accounts according to their buying journey?

So, I challenge all global marketers to ask themselves: where am I willing to take risks, to up the ante on traditional marketing KPIs – like Impressions, CTR, CPL, Lead Volume and MQLs – and put more skin in the game on opportunity targets, timing to convert to opportunity and buying committee centric strategies?

EM: That’s a really refreshing and honest approach to marketing, and actually leads to my last question – what do you believe to be the secret to impactful global marketing? Can you share your 3 top tips?

JW: Impactful global marketing requires a culmination of strategic and tactical components that should not be forfeited.

First and foremost, there needs to be hand in hand partnership on the top down strategy with your sales leader counterpart. Bottoms up approaches and siloed marketing activities will only get you so far. The question I often pose when I see misalignment between sales and marketing is: what are we aligning to? Is it a pipe create goal? Is this a revenue goal? It should be both, in my opinion. It can’t be that marketing is focused on lead volume, and sales is focused on something else. If marketing and sales aren’t operating in cohesion towards a common goal, there’s just no way for you to measure, course correct or even determine success together.

Secondly, in fact probably right up there with my first top tip, content and messaging is king. If you aren’t sending out a message that matters to your target persona, then you’re wasting your time. You will only gain efficiencies of scale if you engage with your target personas around what they care about and what business value you can solve for them. This is an area a lot of marketers short cut around because that’s the easy route. But having focused content that resonates with each persona in your buying committee is simply a place you need to invest the time in for effective marketing.

Thirdly, not everything is “spreadsheet-able”. As much as I am passionate about key metrics – volume, account conversions, cost per opportunity, deal velocity – there are some complexities with making these metrics look good on paper, especially in heavily distributed attribution models. Take the time to align on what KPIs can be put on a “dashboard” vs. what qualitative insights you need to be able to uncover in your global marketing plans.

I’m going to add a 4th, even though you only asked for 3! Have a plan – a plan that aligns to the pipe and revenue goals. Document what success looks like. Create your roadmap. Act on your plan and measure it the way you stated it should be measured. Share your plan and results with your stakeholders, and talk about it often. Get feedback early on and incorporate it into the plan. Otherwise, everything will just feel and behave like random acts of marketing, random acts of doing, and will bring you further apart from achieving your common goals or operating as 1 team especially with your sales counterparts.

EM: And finally, any last words of advice?

JW: Covid-19 has changed the world forever. The buyer’s journey is now accelerated because everything is done virtually. If you aren’t moving fast enough in a deliberate and co-ordinated way, your competitors are. So whether it’s crafting your messaging, strategy, tactics roll-out or targeting decisions, get there faster before you miss out on the deal.

Key Takeaways

  • Cutting through Zoom fatigue is a real worry during the current global situation. However, by focusing on delivering quality, focused virtual events you can achieve the desired engagement from the right people.
  • Virtual makes it much easier to reach global audiences. But don’t go over-the-top, regional events shouldn’t be a free-for-all and need to add value to location-based audiences.
  • Vanity metrics and traditional KPIs are out. Do you really need a ton of lead volume or is it better to get more personal with your target personas? Keep asking yourself why you’re measuring something, and where the real opportunities lie.
  • The changing global situation is new for everyone and it’s all too easy to operate in silos. Align strategies and goals in a detailed plan and measurable outcomes with your sales counterparts. That way you can all move fast in the right direction.

If you’re a next generation marketer looking for more insights on all things global marketing, join our Global Marketers’ Club. Or, if you’re a digital native brand and need help with your next global campaign, get in touch.

How Head Tennis approaches global marketing in a new era

While we’re all a little tired of the phrase “new normal”, it’s true that global marketing is entering a new era in the wake of Covid-19. With everything changing dramatically, from the way teams collaborate around the world, to the ways consumers think and feel, many might argue that global marketers are having to adapt and progress faster than ever.

So, we decided to catch up with some top global marketers via Zoom to gather their thoughts on what it means to be a marketer today, and to discover what the next generation of global marketing holds.

First up, Eleonore Maudet, Head of Marketing here at Freedman and Co-Founder of the Global Marketers’ Club, chats to Christian Wilbers, Director of Advertising and Communications at Head Tennis. 

Christian reveals how Head found ways to make a lack of purchasing during lockdown work to their advantage, delivering content to a whole new set of tennis consumers. Plus, he discusses how next gen marketing for legacy brands is more about evolving and less about revolutionising in order to keep the game alive. Read on to find out more…

EM: To start, can you tell us a bit about your latest campaign and how you felt it went?

CW: With our recent brand campaigns, we tried to address the current situation with Covid-19. For our #HeadTogether campaign, we invited people who play tennis to share their experiences, mostly talking about what it’s like for them when the courts are closed. We then shared this user generated content alongside some of our own.  Once the tennis courts started opening again, we ran a campaign called “Be Good on Court”. It was a set of guidelines on how to play tennis safely which we sent to our global retailers and partners.  It’s hard to say how those two campaigns went because the fast-changing situation meant it was hard to set clear benchmarks or KPIs. Overall, I think the #HeadTogether campaign worked really well because we saw that there was a need for tennis players to interact and talk about tennis, even during a global pandemic, and we provided that space. From April into early July, we were the strongest growing tennis brand on social media, especially on Instagram. We had the highest rate of interaction. So I guess you could call it a success.  The “Be Good on Court” piece played out more on the retail channels. And again, we didn’t really have any benchmarks. We just wanted to be close to our partners, to our retailers and to the clubs. But the feedback from the markets has been really positive.  And finally, we’ve been busy launching our new Extreme racquet series. My main takeaway from all of these campaigns is that tennis fans are still thinking about tennis, even when they’re unable to play. During Covid-19, people were just as excited about our products as they ever were.

EM: So, have you had to change the way you run campaigns due to Covid-19? If so, how much of this change is temporary and how much is long term?

CW: Well, to be honest, I think the crisis will not impact our market structurally. The consumer journey remains unchanged.  What we did for a while was shift marketing dollars from the bottom of the funnel to the top of the funnel, because no one was buying tennis racquets when all the courts were closed. Instead, we used this unique time where you could get enormous reach and awareness for your product with very little money in order to build new audiences. We got them interested in our product.  But I don’t think there will be a long term impact on the way we launch and market our products, apart from an acceleration of the changes that we already saw happening before the crisis.

EM: I guess you’ve had to change the way you did your marketing in terms of events?

CW: Yeah, that’s definitely one “asset” that we lost. Of course, it’s always a great opportunity for us to talk about our product when there’s the French Open or Wimbledon where our players are competing and winning. During the pandemic, none of that was possible.  But it looks like the first tournaments are coming back this month, and ultimately these tournaments are going to return to a normal routine. It might not be this year or even next. But I would argue that the longer it takes, the more demand you’ll see for tournament entertainment.

EM: Has the crisis had an impact on the retail side of things? Obviously people weren’t going in shops, initially, but now they’re starting to go back to stores.

CW: I think it’s probably too early to say how big that impact has been. What I would say is that the retailer that does a good job locally – the retailer that’s really well connected with the community, with the clubs, with the players, with the coaches and that provides a good retail experience – is going to survive and continue to do well. Tennis is a community based sport and consumers are looking for that advice and support when they buy product. So the retailers that are on their feet and are actively offering those services are going to survive.

EM: Speaking of being active and ready to roll with the changes, when it comes to adapting to the crisis everybody talks about being agile. But what does being agile in global marketing mean to you?

CW: So this goes back to how we operate as a business and how focused we are on the markets, with our forty thousand doors, with our coaches and with our retailers. We have a large foundation that’s in place and, as long as the research or the market doesn’t tell us any differently, we need to keep that in place.  For us, the agility comes in smaller ways. For example, in the last year or two, we’ve adapted how closely we work with our online retailers. We realised that they’re not only a point of purchase but they’re also a point of storytelling and a point of information for the consumer. So we’ve gone to them and worked on content with them that the consumer is looking for. I guess you could call that a fairly agile adjustment to the changing marketplace.  The project that we’re working on right now with Freedman is an agile response to a process that was sped up by Covid-19. A lot of online retailers are now looking for video content and testimonial based brand content which gives the consumer more context before making a purchase. This is something that we need to understand and that we need to address as a brand, so that we can be successful.

EM: I guess Covid-19 has sped up this whole shift to digital, and having to adapt.

CW: Yeah, and I think that’s also one of our strengths as an organisation, that we can be agile and that we can just make those changes without having to align 50 ways and shifting the strategy.

EM: When it comes to the period we’re in, I think some consumers see brands as an element of stability, so it’s good to be agile without dramatically transforming your strategy long-term.

CW: Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s the challenge with many of these buzzwords, determining whether there’s actually a need for it. For example, if as an organisation you have to speed up your processes because you realise that you don’t get to the finish line fast enough, then agility is a tool. But if you make agility the strategy, it just goes nowhere.

EM: That’s an interesting point. Thinking about the relationship between agility and strategy, how do you weigh up the risks when pivoting your marketing?

CW: We’ve grown a very successful business over the last three or four decades. We’re usually one of the top three brands in each market that we’re in. But when it comes to change, we have to be extremely careful because tennis is a very conservative market. You want to adjust to the new realities and you can’t miss the boat on some of these things, but you also have to protect what you have.  For us, this whole idea of grassroots marketing, of being close to the consumer, of being close to the community, that’s our moat; that’s how we protect our brand. We do experiments, we try things here and there, but most importantly we protect our castle, we strengthen our moat and that’s why we don’t pivot a lot.

EM: So what would be your three ingredients for a successful global campaign?

CW: I think the most important thing is that you have to have a message that resonates globally, something that’s emotionally connecting to consumers around the world. Otherwise you’re going to use messaging that’s maybe very American focused and then European audiences are left thinking: what does that even mean?  For us, the universal message is always based around competition. It’s a global feeling, right? Everyone wants to win. We want to help you win with the right product. The way you phrase it, of course, is where it gets complicated. That’s why it’s always helpful to have a global partner for your marketing, to help you fine-tune the message. But at its very core, it needs to be an emotive message that resonates with all audiences.  Then you want to make sure that you hit all the touch points that matter for your particular audience. So you have to understand your audience really well and make sure it lands where the audiences are. That’s the second point.  The third point is duration, it’s hard to pull off a successful marketing campaign with lasting sales success if it’s only a one week or two week thing. The campaign needs to be there for a while for it to make a lasting impact. Most consumers are somewhere else, they’re not waiting for your message to land. You have to penetrate again and again and again in order to really make a lasting impression. So it’s those three things: the emotional message; the right touch points and the long duration.

EM: I guess tennis is a passionate sport built on community, so I can imagine with social – which doesn’t cost as much as other channels- you can already do quite a lot to engage with the community.

CW: Absolutely, social media is very valuable to us because it’s an enthusiastic tennis consumer that follows our channels. We absolutely have to engage this particular audience, because they are often coaches or passionate players, whose recommendations make a huge difference. But, in the end, depending on the market that you look at, it’s only between five and ten percent of all tennis players that follow any tennis brand on social media. So, if you only focus on social media, you’re going to miss nine out of ten people. You have to make sure that you’re also spreading out, that you’re on the ground with the coaches, that you have the online platforms where consumers leave reviews, etc. You have to be everywhere otherwise you’ll fall flat.

EM: So we know your recipe for success, but what’s going to be your focus for improving further?

CW: I think the focus is on duration. And the way you achieve longer duration. So, what we’re focusing on right now is connecting the storytelling between product and brand a little bit more. Because you can only talk about a product for a few weeks before it gets boring. The interplay of brand and product can help you tell a long term story which really penetrates the market and gives the campaign duration.

EM: When it comes to making a lasting impression around the world, what are the top things you look for in a global agency partner?

CW: I think brand agency collaboration doesn’t work when the agency just recommends the stuff that they’re good at, or suggests using the networks they already have, without paying attention to what the business needs. In order for the two to work together well, they have to complement each other. So the agency has to engage with and understand the business strategy, and then think about what they have to offer in order to support and improve that strategy. That’s the recipe for a winning partnership.  What I see as the opportunity between Head and Freedman, for example, is that we have good global campaigns but we could do better in localisation. We have small organisations in the markets that are very focused on the tennis community. They’re very good with the clubs and with the coaches. They’re all tennis players and they’re really enthusiastic, but they’re not necessarily marketers and we shouldn’t expect them to be. This is where I think the two of us can really come together. We have a global approach, but we could use some help with localisation, which is your area of expertise.

EM: Onto our last question, we’re interested in how next generation marketers are finding innovative ways to deliver campaigns for disruptive brands. But what does next generation global marketing mean to you?

CW: Obviously, it’s always fun to think about these disruptive brands that do all these innovative things. But at Head, we’re on the other side of that; we have to make sure that we’re not being disrupted because we’re a legacy brand. We love tennis as it is, we’re invested in it and we hope it doesn’t change dramatically. Of course, as a brand, you try to move a sport forward but it’s an evolution, not a revolution. So you have new products and services – sometimes these innovations really land and sometimes they don’t. But you keep trying. In the end, it’s not about disruption. It’s about continuation.

EM: That’s really interesting to see your perspective from more of a legacy brand. Obviously there are disruptive brands who will become legacy brands as well in the long term, I mean Amazon have been around for almost twenty years. So, I think being next gen is more about how you evolve and how, as a marketer, you find new ways to connect with your audience.

CW: Absolutely, you have to evolve. We continue to evaluate where tennis players are and what the most important channels are. What that means in practice is this: you can’t get distracted by the newest fad and forget about where your customers are. It’s always more exciting to build something new than to maintain the established. If our audience is on Facebook, that’s where we need to be. Focusing on the new shiny thing can be great because everything you do is innovative – nobody’s been there or done it before –  but the impact is elsewhere. So you have to find a balance. And if you shift your attention, you have to do so with full force: you can’t just do it for a week or two and then disappear.

Key Takeaways

  • Next gen marketing for legacy brands is about finding the balance between innovation and continuation.
  • When it comes to buzzwords like agility, determine how they can actually help your marketing, rather than building your entire strategy around them.
  • For Christian, the top global marketing challenges include: finding a message that resonates globally, hitting the right touch points and sharing the campaign for a long amount of time in order to make an impact.
  • The way you phrase your global message across your local markets is key, that’s where collaborating with a global partner comes in handy.
  • Social media only works if your audience is actually there. Don’t just try new channels for the sake of it, and make sure you’re present across lots of touch points.
  • Keep evaluating your customers and what it is they’re looking for, a crisis may not sway their interest as much as you think.

A huge thanks to Christian Wilbers for answering all our questions about brand communication during Covid-19, agency collaboration, and what’s in store for the next generation of global marketing.

If you’d like to take part in our interviews to discuss what next gen marketing means to you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Or, if you need some help solving your global campaign challenges, let us know, we’re always here for a chat.

Women in Global Marketing: Real Talk, No Mansplaining

For our latest Global Marketers’ Club webinar we were joined by a fabulous line-up of leading female marketers for some real talk about Women in Global Marketing.

Our guest speakers included:

  • Susan O’Brien – Chief Marketing Officer at Just Eat
  • Meher Mumtaz – Global Head of Brand Strategy at Western Union
  • Flavilla Fongang – MD, Brand Strategist, International Keynote Speaker, BBC Brand Advisor & Founder of TLA – Black Women in Tech
  • Vivien Ivanyi – Director Brand Management, Raffles Hotels & Resorts at Accor
  • Melissa Romo – Global Head, Social Media, Content & Customer Advocacy at Sage

From starting out in all-male teams, to demanding that next promotion, to taking up leadership roles, to mentoring the next generation of female marketers… our speakers have certainly experienced it all, and weren’t afraid to share some truths.

Here are our notes from the event in case you missed out (without any mansplaining, we promise). Equally, if you’d like to watch the full recording of the event, you can do so here.

Topic 1: Marketing post #MeToo, female representation in advertising and faux-feminism

  • Companies themselves have come a long way towards making the workplace a safer space. The #MeToo movement forced company leaders to look at the internal situation.
  • Brands that have traditionally shaped the narrative around a woman’s place in society – like beauty and fashion brands – have had to change how they communicate with audiences as the fight for gender equality has progressed. For example, Always went from being a functional brand to an emotional brand (see examples of their more recent ‘femvertising’ campaigns below).
  • But, there’s still a lot of work to be done. Many brands – especially on social media – promote unhealthy weight loss/diet culture and present unrealistic beauty standards.
  • According to Think with Google, analysis of the top 100 viewed global ads revealed that female characters were much more likely to be dressed in revealing clothing than male characters. Equally, male characters are given more speaking time in advertising, having their voices heard 1.5X more often than their female counterparts.
  • Marketers have a responsibility to progress the subject of female representation. Especially since today’s consumers are so savvy, speaking out against brands when necessary. If brands want to survive they have to recognise the issues close to their consumers’ hearts.
  • Of course, brands can’t drive change on their own. They must collaborate with corporations and external groups or forums to accelerate progress towards fair representation. For example, they can work with clearance bodies to pass necessary regulation, like the ASA’s recent ruling around gender stereotypes in advertising.
  • Brands shouldn’t just jump on the bandwagon when it comes to movements like #MeToo or Black Lives Matter. Brands should align their company culture and company vision to movements they support to be truly authentic. If actions aren’t being taken internally, then any external brand communication around a movement is just fluff. Change needs to start at the top, with fair representation in the boardroom.
  • Companies often make a mistake in assuming that their advertising should and can be a platform for a social movement. It doesn’t always work, and it shouldn’t always be the focus. Brands have to ask themselves: does the issue actually affect our target audience? Sometimes, it makes more sense for companies to address the issue internally, rather than addressing it in their external communications.

Topic 2: Managing cultural differences and promoting gender equality on a global scale

  • Inclusion must start within the global marketing team. When working on a global team, it can be difficult for voices to be heard, as English accents tend to dominate the conversation. Marketers must remember to let everyone have their say, and to make room for the less dominant voices. This can get even more complicated when the issue of women’s voices going unheard comes into play.
  • When marketing to female audiences around the globe, you have to understand each culture first. You can’t assume that the position of women in one culture is the same as another. Marketers should work with diverse teams and local partners who can provide feedback on all creative and messaging.
  • The journey towards gender equality is at different stages across different countries. For example, things that women might perceive as demeaning in one culture might be the cultural norm somewhere else. Brands and marketing should aspire to make progress, but shouldn’t go against local culture too strongly as that might do more harm than good.
  • The small details really do matter. Brands should look through a local lens to ensure that creative or messaging doesn’t subjugate the women in that culture, or fall into stereotypes. For example, in their advertising, brands should focus on the minutiae, like how a woman’s hair is done or the gestures a man is using when talking to her.
  • Marketers should be aware of what’s going on the world when it comes to female representation and the progress towards gender equality. They must remember that the marketing a young girl might see today will help shape her perception of herself, and will have a lasting effect.

Topic 3: Gender equality in the marketing industry

  • The stats speak for themselves. According to a Marketing Week 2020 salary survey, gender bias is evident in leadership roles; 60.9% of all respondents were female but their numbers dropped significantly as the roles became more senior.
  • Female marketers should find themselves mentors from different categories and different industries, both male and female. It makes a huge difference to be able to talk about things, and to get a different perspective.
  • Equally, female marketers should look out for groups, forums and organisations which already exist; there are lots out there! (See our resources list below for a few examples.)
  • Closing the gender gap is actually good for business and the economy. And in the marketing industry, helps to produce advertising that resonates better with audiences.
  • Companies should create internal support groups for the women in their workforce where they can speak about any issues and help the company to take concrete actions.
  • When hiring, companies should look at job descriptions. For example, if a role seems to have little flexibility this instantly alienates working mothers.
  • Companies can set an official agenda to increase the representation of women at director level and above. They can then provide resources and support to women who have the potential to go far. Women should also ask for these resources if they’re not being provided, it’s likely that there will be others looking for this support who don’t know how to ask for it.

Topic 4: Advice for up and coming female marketers

  • A challenge that’s often seen as cliché, but one affects women in all industries, is the worry around being good enough. Am I a good mum? Am I a good person to work with? The key is to allow yourself to be imperfect. Don’t obsess over the fear of imperfection.
  • There’s a lack of diversity in the UK advertising industry, so moving into this line of work from another culture can be difficult to navigate. The important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t be apologetic about your cultural or professional background, focus on what your background can bring to the role.
  • When people underestimate you or see you as inexperienced, don’t see yourself as they see you. Portray your confidence to change the atmosphere around you.
  • Sadly, men in our industry have privileges that women don’t. For example, men are usually listened to more than women. Right now, you might not be able to change the gender imbalance in your workforce. So, develop really strong one-on-one relationships with some of the men in your team or company who recognise your talent so that they can help project your voice.
  • You don’t have to be incredibly senior in your company in order to make a difference to the gender disparities. Sometimes other people don’t notice these issues, so be brave and point out anything that’s amiss.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your hard work is enough to get you recognised. You have to ask for what you want, like that next promotion. Be direct and go for it!

As you can see, it was an incredibly insightful session thanks to our guest speakers. A huge thank you to Susan, Flavilla, Meher, Melissa and Vivien for taking part! We hope their words provided you with some food for thought about women in global marketing, and how we can keep making progress in a male-dominated industry. 

See below for a list of resources, including female marketing groups, mentorship schemes and inspiring campaigns. We hope you find them helpful. And do let us know if you know if you come across any other useful resources.

Global Marketing vs Coronavirus: The Uncensored Talk

At the end of April, after another month of staring at the same four walls, marketers from all over the globe took the opportunity to see some new faces via our virtual roundtable, Global Marketing vs Coronavirus: The Uncensored Talk. Everyone was in good spirits!

After admiring each other’s lockdown haircuts and Zoom backgrounds (an Italian sea-side town providing some much-needed escapism), we started our discussion on marketing during the coronavirus crisis. We explored the current challenges, from creating content that cuts through the noise of coronavirus marketing comms, to allocating spending in response to the current economic situation. Finally, we discussed what’s in store for global marketing in a post-coronavirus world.

Here are our notes from the session:

What are the biggest challenges that brands are facing right now?

  • Understanding what’s happening in each market and finding the appropriate reaction is tough for brands.
  • Getting teams to collaborate effectively when working remotely can be a struggle. Equally, trying to get everyone aligned within the global corporation isn’t easy.
  • Leading a team is a challenge right now, leaders must take into account the personal toll of coronavirus on team members and be supportive.
  • Breaking down silos, bringing the marketing and sales teams together to focus solely on the consumer is tricky, but necessary right now.
  • Changing the way the brand is communicating with customers is a challenge, especially when there’s uncertainty about how to proceed.
  • Putting the product messaging on the backseat and focusing on the ethos and values of the brand is a sensible move, but it’s a challenge when consumers are so used to seeing the product in the brand comms.
  • Measuring performance has emerged as one of the biggest challenges during the pandemic. Regions still feel evaluated on performance but it’s hard to perform well in these circumstances, especially if a brand’s product isn’t very relevant to the crisis situation. Regular benchmarking needs to be replaced with an assessment which takes the crisis into account.
  • Finding a distinctive voice and producing content that stands out during the crisis is extremely difficult, especially as many brands are producing very similar ad content.

How can brands be distinctive during the coronavirus crisis?

  • Understandably, brands are double-checking all content with the “Covid lens” to check that they’re being sensitive and relevant. But does that mean all of their content is starting to look the same? Have brands withdrawn too far, and are consumers ready for a sense of normality in the communication they’re receiving?
  • One of our guests from a tech brand revealed that forecasts were cut in preparation for the worst. However, the situation hasn’t been as dramatic as expected. There was an initial drop in interest but, once lockdown hit across markets, demand began to increase and consumer interest grew. Consumers, even in countries that aren’t traditionally seen as ‘online markets’ like Germany, have changed their behaviours and are just as interested in the products today as they were 3 months ago. Marketing comms should reflect that, but how can brands judge the tone?
  • At the beginning of the crisis, many brands were told from a general management level that communicating product was not sensitive. Whereas the regions who had all the data actually saw an opportunity, looking into the consumer searches and proposing customised landing pages and homepage communications in response. It’s good to listen to the voices of the market, using results to drive the decisions. If results suggest that consumers are looking for a brand’s product, it’s fair to reintegrate more product messaging, as long as it’s done cleverly.
  • Brands need to start looking at the world through ‘economic recovery status’. So many countries are at different stages in their recovery, so brands can no longer think regionally. Brands have to ask: where are the countries in their journey with Covid-19, and what messaging applies to them?
  • The brand is more important than ever – it’s not just about marketing messaging. It’s also about actions right now. If they can, brands should help by providing services that customers need during this time, i.e. free packages which aid remote working or living in isolation.

How are brands approaching the argument between cutting marketing spend vs continuing to invest through recession?

  • Many brands are pivoting as much as possible to digital but, when looking at the sales funnel, deals aren’t closing as fast or as frequently as possible. So, is this the right time to spend on certain channels? Will digital actually deliver the results? One of our guest brands had come to an agreement with their finance team, stating that if conversion rates fall to a certain threshold then they’ll stop spending.
  • After making initial cuts, there’s an opportunity for brands to sit back and think: what should we shift our money into? Brands should do the things they’ve been holding off, investing in the gaps that they’ve always thought about moving into. Now’s the time to break up old structures.
  • It’s important that marketers understand where their business is right now, before they argue for continued brand spend. Is the business in survival mode, and does it need to get through the survival stage in order to thrive later down the line? Brands are doing themselves a disservice if they’re overlooking the commercial element of the business at the moment.

How have global marketers been managing strategies across different countries within regions?

  • The pandemic has been extremely democratic, hitting hard everywhere. So markets are actually responding in very similar ways.
  • One of our guest brands revealed that their global panel of consumers across markets were looking to the human side of brands. Consumers want to see brands providing tangible solutions to protect the brand, the community, the consumers and employees. The call is for brands to act as citizens of the world, rather than just providers of reactive content.
  • Right now, it’s easy to make mistakes. But it’s about learning and adapting as marketing continues to change. Branding will not be the same after this crisis.

How have marketing teams been adapting to remote working?

  • Amongst many of our guest brands, the issue of all-day Zoom meetings affecting productivity has been a constant challenge. One suggested solution was ‘Wellness Wednesday’, where employees are encouraged to opt out of video meetings, helping to boost their productivity and, as a result, their mental health.
  • Some of our global marketers have found that they are working much longer hours, waking early and staying up late to work across time zones. New rules need to be set to ensure that there’s a best practice for remote working which can be followed.
  • Bringing a bit of fun and positivity to remote working has been key for many brands. This includes: running competitions like ‘best Zoom background’ and ‘cutest pet’ competitions; introducing ‘meet the family’ days where people can bring their children or partners onto video calls; and simply setting a day where the team has lunch together over a video call.
  • On another positive note, there’s been more direct collaboration between teams. Many of the marketers felt that they actually have more direct contact with colleagues when they’re working from home, than when in the office.
  • Many brands have seen a rise in productivity.

In a post-coronavirus world, what will the “new normal” look like for brands?

  • The impact of the coronavirus crisis may be felt for 1 or 2 years. So brands will have to stay explicitly focused on the consumer to work out how to proceed.
  • For some brands, the plan is to avoid going back to normal. While the situation is chaotic right now, progressing towards something entirely new can be a positive, especially for older brands that need shaking up.
  • One of our participating fashion brands revealed that they wanted to prioritise thinking globally when it comes to ad content, finding a global framework then following it with regional adaptations and executions.
  • The reality of the situation has made brands really question how they do things. While some elements of the brand or business have had to be put on pause and marketing has had to adapt incredibly quickly, there have been some surprising and positive results. All of this shows that challenging situations force brands to grow.

Though the topic of coronavirus is a distressing one, there were certainly positives to take away from our virtual roundtable. For example, working from home is a great opportunity to boost collaboration and productivity between teams. And, perhaps more importantly, the current global challenge is presenting brands with a great opportunity to shake up their old ways of doing things. Brands now have the chance to adapt and grow, ready for a post-coronavirus world.

To find out more about our upcoming virtual events, make sure to join the Global Marketers’ Club here.

Event round-up: Global Marketing in Times of Coronavirus

We are living in a complex new world. Brands are having to adapt, fast, to an unpredictable situation. So, to provide global marketers with some helpful advice during this crisis, we decided to host our latest GMC webinar on Global Marketing in Times of Coronavirus.

While you might think we’d all be tired of Zoom calls, our stay-at-home speakers were more than happy to dial in and share their insights during our latest webinar. Our panellists included Laura De Stefanis from Jaguar Land Rover, Briain Curtin from Fitbit and Christian Wilbers from Head Racquet Sports. Each representing different sectors, and different regions, they provided lots of discussion on today’s pressing issues, from shifting consumer mindsets to adapting media channel strategy, and more.

Here’s what they had to say

Reacting to the crisis in the short term

  • A first step for these 3 marketers was looking at what the crisis meant for their company, thinking about savings and the long term health of the company, ensuring its health was guaranteed.
  • For all of these brands, retailers and showrooms were suddenly closed all around the world meaning activity couldn’t shift from one region to another. As a result, messaging focused on driving sales had to be adapted quickly.
  • A key short-term action for all the brands was to figure out what messaging made sense, and then to tailor the media towards it.
  • Some regions are still operating in some ways, so regional differences had to be taken into account in the short term too.
  • Brands had to think about their campaigns, either cutting campaigns that simply didn’t work or adapting them. Fitbit was launching a new product and couldn’t delay the campaign. So imagery and messaging were assessed and adapted to ensure the content was sensitive to the current situation. Imagery of hikers, for example, was replaced with footage of home-workouts.
  • Brands are also thinking locally too in the short term. Head are considering what will happen when clubs re-open, shifting their event plans and the messaging to best fit what might happen in the future.

Reviewing creative and remaining relevant

  • Right now, all brands are trying to support the essential workers that keep our societies together.
  • If a brand offers a product or service that can benefit key workers, then that’s great, they should do their bit. For example, Jaguar Land Rover used their ongoing partnership with The Red Cross, donating their Defenders to the charity to help care workers transport supplies.
  • But, if a brand’s product isn’t relevant, they shouldn’t force a campaign or movement. They must stay authentic.
  • The focus should be on adding value to the consumers that are still going to be around when the pandemic is over. To do that, brands need to deliver engaging content that adds value to their customers’ lives during the crisis.
  • Fitbit introduced the Fitbit premium 90 day extended trial, featuring personalised health and fitness guidance, stress management, sleep programmes, home workout plans, and more. The Fitbit community really appreciated the opportunity to access the premium content.
  • For Head, the world of tennis relies primarily on courts and events. However, Head’s customers are still incredibly passionate about tennis, and want to talk about it, even in isolation. So, the brand is delivering the tennis content they want to see.
  • Brands should use data to inform the content they produce. They should see what people are searching for on platforms like Google or Pinterest and apply the data to their content strategy.
  • The key takeaway? Brands need to be brave and continue to spend on marketing, as long as their messaging remains thoughtful and relevant to their audiences.

Adapting media channel strategy

  • The immediate reaction for brands was to shift their spend to the media channels that seemed the most logical, for example games on social.
  • For the first time in a long time, the media market is unsaturated, so there’s a huge opportunity for brands. Media that’s currently running is overdelivering on its value.
  • More people are at home spending more time watching TV, listening to podcasts, scrolling through social and searching on websites. Brands should use these platforms, but only if they have something relevant to say. They shouldn’t just invest in media because it’s cheap.

Finding new ways to produce content

  • Shoots have come to a halt, so brands are turning to other types of content, like animation.
  • As work slows for many people, the internet is predominantly being used to communicate and connect. People are producing really great content in their homes and sharing it with their friends and favourite brands – so making the most of UGC will be key.

Looking at the mid to long-term impact

  • In both the mid and long-term, brands will have to plan for multiple scenarios, allowing them to be as flexible as possible, adapting to an ever-changing situation.
  • Older generations who’ve been resisting certain technology and tools for so long are now gladly adopting them. So, the way we work will change as resistance breaks down.
  • The crisis will have huge implications for the economy, which will impact everyone’s lives. It’ll become more difficult to encourage consumers to buy in a time of economic uncertainty.
  • Behaviour is changing around the world. Countries like Germany that were once much more traditional about media and commerce are now online, engaging in ecommerce. This will affect local strategy in the long term.
  • People will think differently after this crisis. They will value time spent together, and there’ll be a shift towards experiences. It may only last for a short time, but brands will need to take this shifting mindset into account.
  • In terms of advertising again outside of Covid-19 messaging, brands should look to the wealth of data out there to see what’s happening in each region. The transition from this current state to post-coronavirus life will be phased across the globe.

And while our panellists shared their insights and answered any queries, global marketers from an array of brands also let us know their thoughts on our Global Marketing in Times of Coronavirus poll.

Here’s the results

In terms of marketing in the coming year, which of the following are you going to focus on as a priority?

  • Brand awareness 52%
  • Innovation 22%
  • Tactical promotions 17%

Which media channels are you going to invest most in?

  • Social / Digital 66%
  • TV 20%
  • OOH 6%
  • Radio 4%
  • Print 4%

What has been your greatest challenge over the past few weeks?

  • Change in demand 64%
  • Operations going remote 22%
  • Affected supply chain 14%

To conclude, there’s a lot for brands to think about right now, and the future seems fairly uncertain. Thankfully, our panellists also provided us with some with some much-needed positives to close the discussion:

  • Never have teams been more closely bonded, starting everyday by asking ‘how are you feeling?’
  • History shows us that crises always come to an end. There’s always a day after.

Just to let you know, we have a few more GMC events coming up, including a webinar for the APAC region exploring marketing during the coronavirus crisis. We also have an upcoming virtual roundtable series on current global marketing challenges. If you’d like to know more about these future Global Marketers’ Club events, join the club here.

The GMC launch: global marketing on trial at Ennismore

A tribe of global marketers came together at Ennismore Sessions House on the morning of July 3rd, 2019. Quite a different demographic compared to the crowds of prisoners ushered up the majestic stairway back in Victorian London. Ennismore was then a courthouse, where people were judged before being shipped to Australia – or worse, sentenced to death.

Our global marketers had not committed any crime or felony – unless you consider having a passion for global marketing as a criminal offence. In this unique venue, filled with a rather sombre history, the atmosphere was cheerful as all gathered for the launch of The Global Marketers’ Club to explore the intricacies that come with marketing on a global scale and to meet like-minded global thinkers.

Charles Dickens is still relevant today

After a tasty breakfast, over which everyone seemed to mingle and network enthusiastically, the time came for our CEO, Kevin Freedman, to deliver his opening speech. With a nod to Charles Dickens who described the Ennismore courthouse in Oliver Twist, Kevin opened up the debate:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…”

While Dickens was referring to the late 18th century in A Tale of Two Cities, the quote could very much describe the state of global marketing today. Marketing has never been this global and hyper-connected, and yet with globalisation comes a new set of challenges which we discussed throughout the morning with our exceptional line-up of speakers.

The first panel discussion focused on the evolution of media channels globally and on how the media landscape can differ from one market to the other. Three talented panellists shared their views on the state of global media. The panel was vigorous and at times quite controversial, with predictions on upcoming media trends and insights into the differences that exist in media behaviour across markets. For Suzanne Perry, Executive Director at OMD, smart cities are the biggest trend to look out for, predicting that a Minority Report reality is just around the corner, and media owners are effectively turning into media builders creating opportunities for brands to become permanent fixtures, on a long-term holding, much more ingrained in the city.

Briain Curtin, Marketing Director Brand & Media at Fitbit boldly claimed that the word “digital” should be removed from the vernacular altogether, considering that we’ve now moved completely to a digital world so the distinction between offline and online is no longer relevant: “TV, OOH – it’s all digital now.”

Laila Sulaiman, Global Business Director at Freedman pondered on whether the use of media was too targeted, which ironically can lead to being targeted by ads that are not relevant.

Global vs. Local: the eternal conundrum

Our second panel of experts shared some tips and heartfelt experience on how to navigate relationships between global and local marketing teams and gear up for global campaigns.

Ruth Collet, who leads international campaign implementation at Oracle, shared some soundbites on Oracle’s successful journey from a locally driven marketing approach, to a more unified and centralised marketing model. She also emphasised how important it is for global and local teams to work in collaboration, while agreeing clearly defined roles and responsibilities.

Simon Francis, CEO at Flock, shared his acronym for campaign success (a rather clunky one, in his own words) –PROCTD which stands for People, Resources, Organisation, Costs, Technology and Data. The most important of these terms from an activation and implementation perspective is Organisation, which basically boils down to getting your processes right. Simon also shared his views on an optimal model which would combine hyper-localisation (i.e. marketing that’s deeply rooted in market reality) with global efficiency.

Marie Bonin, Account Director at Freedman, urged marketers to think implementation first, rather than as an after-thought. In her experience, a lack of consideration for implementation and processes too often leads to campaign failures.

Culture vs. Creativity: where to draw the line

Our last panel was perhaps the most animated, as it tackled challenging markets and questioned whether creativity is limited in a global marketing context. Our panellists were quite diverse, which made for a passionate debate. Joe Edwards, Head of Digital Marketing at FIBA Media shared his experience of working on the current FIBA campaign for the next basketball world cup in China, which happens to be the trickiest market from his perspective. The media landscape and culture in China is so different that FIBA are actually running a different campaign for China than they are for other markets.

Harry Shaw, Creative Director at Grey explained how it’s important for creatives to have access to local insights so they can decide whether to create a campaign specifically for a region or run a global campaign focusing on universal truths. As an example, he took a Guinness campaign he worked on, specifically created for Africa – based on insights that found that the local population attributes aphrodisiac properties to Guinness. A different creative approach to the one he takes on Sensodyne campaigns, where the emphasis is on the universal truth that is the need for pain relief and oral hygiene. Harry also emphasised how paramount it is to hire the right people to work on global campaigns; people with the right experience, and most importantly the right open mindset.

Nara Cravanzola, Head of CAT at Freedman shared her views on what makes some global campaigns successful, while others fail. She started off with the 2017 Kendall Jenner Pepsi advert, to illustrate what brands should avoid at all costs. In this advert, Kendall Jenner joins a crowd of demonstrators and attempts to spread world peace by handing out cans of Pepsi. With this campaign Pepsi tried to jump on the Black Lives Matter bandwagon, with no connection to their brand. Besides, Kendall Jenner is not known for her political or social activism – so naturally, Pepsi experienced tremendous backlash.

Nara then referred to Nike’s 2018 Just Do It campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the American Football player who knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. This Nike campaign is an example of a successful controversial campaign, as Kaepernick has become a great ambassador for Nike’s long-term commitment to promoting racial justice. There’s a very fine line between campaign failure and success, especially in the current socio-political climate and with the prevalence of social media.

The verdict

What a great launch event for the Global Marketers’ Club! We all learned from each other’s experience and dared to speak up about the challenges we face daily when marketing on a global or international scale. It also gave us a taste for the exciting events to come – networking and educational ones.

If you’re a global marketer and are interested in having access to exclusive events and content, subscribe to our GMC newsletter or get in touch!

The event lowdown: Global Tribes & Local Identities

Set in an art-house cinema in London, our latest Global Marketers’ Club event: Global Tribes & Local Identities certainly provided some movie magic moments. Indeed, our panel discussions weren’t the same old marketing debates we’ve all heard before. These were exciting explorations into consumer communities, the younger generations and local culture, alongside mic-drops, Britney Spears quotes and a dramatic ripping of a £20 note (you had to be there).

If you’re worried you might have missed out, don’t worry, our event roundup will tell you all you need to know.

Panel 1: Gen Z vs Millennials Around the World

For our first panel, we were joined by Alvin Hussey from Beano Studios; Chris Kubby, the CEO of Kubb & Co; and Rebecca Connée, an influencer marketing specialist from Tailify.

There was lots of healthy debate, especially around the attention spans of Gen Z and Gen A audiences. However, the overall consensus was that these younger gens are a switched-on bunch, and not to be underestimated.

Here’s the lowdown:

It’s true – Gen Z are woke

  • Gen Z are more aware and more raw than Millennials; they want brands to have values and be genuine
  • Gen Z are less fooled by influencer marketing, they want micro influencers who are more tuned in to real life

The great debate – how long can younger gens pay attention for?

Statistically, Gen Z have an attention span of about 8 seconds. However, an increasing number of younger audiences are actually tuning into long form content in the form of Youtube, Twitch, Netflix, online quizzes, etc.

Don’t make the same old mistakes

  • Choose your influencers carefully, they must align with your brand values
  • Watch out for self-conscious bias, too many agencies make decisions based on their own experience of being in their late teens/twenties and not on reality
  • It’s not necessary to rely on big overarching campaigns; specific content is cheap to make (especially on social) and can be personalised to Gen Z audiences

Gen Z and millennials are “glocal” citizens

  • Generally, millennials and Gen Z are becoming borderless, seeing themselves as global citizens
  • Local culture still has an impact; for example, kids in the US barely go online in the summer while they’re at summer camp. However, in the UK, kids are online throughout their school summer holidays
  • Trends are still local and the younger generations want smaller, localised influencers, as opposed to global celebrities

Panel 2: Marketing to Global Tribes

For our second panel, we were joined by: Gellan Watt, a creative and advisor; Thomas Huttner, the EU Media and Planning Lead at EA; and Eleonore Maudet, Marketing Manager and Co-Founder of The Global Marketers’ Club.

This panel caused quite a stir, as the panel (Gellan in particular) took a stand against those all-too-common marketing buzzwords, like authenticity, relevant, consumer and on-trend. Here’s our key takeaways:

Broadcasting vs participating – the death of “marketing to”

  • Brands must never “market to” tribes by observing from afar, they must be “part of” the tribe, driving conversations and connecting with the community
  • As a brand, ensure that you’re an icon within your tribe
  • Marketing to an entire tribe is unrealistic, instead look for a smaller tribe within your tribe, i.e. the mobile gamers within the gamer tribe

“On-trend” – another phrase to ditch

  • Forget on-trend, it’s advertising speak! Great brands shape tribe trends and drive the conversation in an honest way
  • Don’t jump on a trend if it doesn’t fit your brand
  • Keep your ear to the ground stay nimble and be willing to evolve with your tribe

Reaching consumers who belong to many tribes

  • Dynamic creative optimisation is a great tool to use, but don’t let your brand become disjointed or over-complicate your audience
  • The tools and data we have can give us the level of reach we want but it’s hard to touch people’s values, that’s what we need to work on as marketers
  • Many brands are able to reach multi-hyphenated consumers, i.e. Nike appeals to the gamers, the urban fashion tribe and the fitness enthusiasts

Just be part of the tribe

  • Immerse yourself in your tribe and understand their motivations
  • Do your research, don’t just replicate what your tribe or other brands are doing
  • Tribes are full of energy and passion, as a brand you must be reactive to this in order to ignite your tribe’s passion

Panel 3: Considering Local Identities

In our final panel, we were joined by consultant Paul Arnold; Gillian Davies from IHG; and Nara Cravanzola, Head of Creative Adaptation at Freedman.

Our speakers considered how local customs and behaviours shape consumer identity. The general takeaway was that while we may live in a hyper-connected world, local culture still matters.

Here’s some of their insights:

Spend money to make money

  • It is always worth investing in localisation, if it means your campaigns will resonate
  • When marketing globally, you have to consider different local truths – even when it comes to teeth! For example, a Sensodyne ad had to account for different global factors affecting tooth sensitivity; in Canada the cold weather affects sensitivity while in India, the nation have certain traditions linked to sugary sweets
  • For the hotel industry, travellers may be global but they want their hotels to deliver localised features and experiences from decor, to F&B, to customer service

If targeted marketing isn’t useful and relevant, it’s redundant

  • Personalised ads using geo-targeting must aid the consumer, using the location to provide relevant info like pointing to the local supermarket etc.
  • Don’t invade someone’s personal space or clog their feed when using geo-targeting
  • Culture doesn’t live on Google – send your creatives out the local markets so they can produce relevant content
  • You must catch a trend at the right time to get carried in the right direction
  • Like waves, trends can chop and change. For example, Chinese tourism is seeing a huge shift with millennials stepping away from the traditional reliance on travel agents and package tours, instead opting to get under the skin of new places
  • It’s important for brands to analyse trends so that they can become trend-setters, as opposed to trend-followers

We hope this event roundup provided you with some useful marketing tips and tricks! If you’d like to know more about global consumer tribes, you can download our latest guide. Or, if you’d like to hear about future Global Marketers’ Club events, you can join the club here.

An open conversation with top global marketers

After days of gloriously blue skies, a drizzly fog descended over London just in time for our latest Global Marketers’ Club event at the Gherkin. The view from the 38th floor was fairly limited but the conversation was anything but. Between tucking into delicious fruit, pastries and avocado on toast (of course), we delved into the global marketing challenges affecting our industry today. From over-confident global campaigns to edgy local campaigns, from brand boards to creative hubs, from the resurgence of cinema to the opportunity of audio – we discussed it all.

So, get your head out of the clouds (sorry, we couldn’t resist) and take a look at some of the key takeaways from the morning…

Global vs local

  • Global overconfidence can be an issue. Instead of being transactional, the relationship between global, regional and local teams needs to be conversational.
  • Strong insights need to be the driving force behind local campaigns to avoid damaging the brand in local markets.
  • Allowing for more objectivity, an insight-led approach can also help communications between global and local teams.
  • The rise of neo-nationalism is a challenge for global brands when it comes to running diverse campaigns as many regions are becoming more inward-looking and are rejecting the notion of a global brand entity. Ultimately, diversity is not about local or regional market preferences, it’s about what the brand believes in.
  • Setting up a brand board, across global and local teams, is a great way to discuss insights and data to reduce ambiguity between markets.

Creative & content

  • Content should have a consistent global look and feel but a localised tone of voice.
  • Brands are finding that more emotional campaigns based on telling people’s stories are achieving great results.
  • Brands should avoid the on-going “sales-push” content and provide customers with useful content to build a brand community.
  • Brands should consider local culture but not at the expense of creativity. It’s crucial to listen to local markets but creative teams shouldn’t be afraid to say no.
  • One method to help with global and local creative strategy is to form a global creative centre of excellence, where local creative teams report to the global creative team.

Channels & media

  • Too much content can be an issue, especially when brands are just producing for the purpose of producing and pumping across all channels without any real strategy.
  • Different brands require different channels. For some, a very limited budget and social strategy works. For others, a bigger budget and more traditional channels are required.
  • Most brands are not built through TV advertising but need TV to scale.
  • Cinema is having a resurgence and can be a great platform for reaching captive audiences.
  • Although PR can be a great tool, especially for brand growth, the results are not guaranteed and a huge amount of orchestration is required.
  • There’s a great opportunity in the audio space because the experience is more intimate and the platforms are so personalised.

Targeting audiences & measuring performance

  • The test and learn method leads to success, some of the marketers’ most successful campaigns started as a test.
  • Using employees as a test audience can be extremely effective (and cost efficient).
  • Marketers should focus more on retention. CRM can dumb down your retention piece when it comes to marketing; brands need to be doing more than sending out an email every now and then.
  • With the controversy around data, consumers have lost trust in technology. Attitudes towards technology also vary across the globe. For example, in Italy, Amazon is far less prevalent as human interaction is preferred over digital.
  • Google’s decision to cut 3rd party cookies will seriously affect marketers. Customer databases will need to be properly structured and brands will need to take a more creative approach to gathering data. Social platforms will become even more powerful as they’ll be the new data hubs.

We hope you enjoyed the roundup of our event! If you’d like to discuss any of these topics or challenges in further, please feel free to get in touch. Equally, our new guide ‘Trends 2020: Marketing Trends with a Global Reach’ should help prepare you for the year ahead in global marketing and is available to download here.

The future of gaming marketing as told by experts

For the latest GMC event, we invited top marketers to join us at the top of the Gherkin for a roundtable on Gaming Marketing Trends. As the morning sun stretched across the city, we enjoyed warm pastries, fresh coffee and enlightening conversation. Our view from the sky was fitting, since our discussion delved deep into the topics of cloud gaming, the rising height of esports and the stormy situation when it comes to gender representation in gaming.

So, to help shed some light on the state of gaming marketing in 2020, we’ve put together our key takeaways from the day…

Cloud gaming

Unreal expectations, digital exclusion and binge-gaming … it seems that cloud gaming is presenting lots of challenges to overcome. Here’s what the marketers had to say:

  • Our expectations of the cloud are skewed. The cloud matched with gaming may seem like the perfect combination but there’s a long way to go until the experience is of a high standard.
  • The gaming industry assumes that people want cloud gaming for fast download speeds etc. However, pausing a game is far more complex than pausing a movie on Netflix. With so much data being sent to the cloud and back throughout a game, the cloud might not be suitable for competitive gamers.
  • Digital exclusion is a real issue when it comes to cloud gaming. There are so many parts of the world where cloud gaming simply won’t work because they are not being served with strong internet connectivity.
  • There’s a strong desire for cloud gaming on mobile.
  • There are concerns surrounding cloud gaming’s business model. 5 years ago, the focus was on making a good game that people would play for a short amount of time. Now, the aim is more about making games that people will play for hours, in a Netflix style binge-gaming session.
  • In a world where attention spans are decreasing, how do we keep players playing for even longer?
  • Companies don’t want to create offline experiences anymore, they want multiplayer online experiences.

New platforms & services

Subscription models, cloud platforms, consoles on monthly contracts – the way people game is changing. But what gaming models do audiences really want?

  • If cloud gaming comes out with the latest must-play title, then people may make the move. Sometimes, all you need is the right title to shift an audience. For example, Fortnite caused a huge shift when it attracted the Minecraft audience.
  • The gaming community know and respect their tech – they expect a high quality experience on every game, whatever platform they’re playing on.
  • Console gaming isn’t going anywhere. The console models may simply change to keep up with the times by offering affordable subscription services to help ensure adoption and retention.
  • Gen Z audiences are more subscription based in their thinking. Consequently, they’re ready for gaming subscription services and are more willing to adopt them.
  • Gamers are vast and varied, so it’s no surprise that they’re split when it comes to subscription models. Some are ready for it, and some just aren’t.
  • Subscription doesn’t mark the end of physical products. Bringing out a physical game can actually boost digital sales.
  • Subscription services reduce the barrier to entry for gaming while add-ons can really personalise an experience to the user.
  • Most gamers are not looking to play cheap or old games but, on subscription, people might be more tempted to play the cheaper games.
  • With so many platforms and new services, how will gaming brands choose the platform? The platforms that succeed will be the ones that secure the best exclusive content.
  • To maintain their brand equity in a crowded market, marketers shouldn’t lose sight of their branding. Branding should be high quality and should communicate the emotional benefits of a game.

Download our latest guide, ‘Gaming Marketing 2020: Trends to Stay Ahead of the Game’, for more on the new services and technology shaking up the gaming sector!

Virtual & Augmented Reality

A social VR revolution, VR in education and the need for an AR game that doesn’t just fizzle away … (where did Pokémon GO go exactly?) It seems there’s a lot to think about when it comes to VR and AR in gaming:

  • Research demonstrates that VR is similar to the Wii – it’s something that people are using to show off to their friends but are not playing everyday. 
  • New big game titles will change the perception of virtual reality, helping to build an audience.
  • The VR mobile gaming market is just not there yet. But there is a trend of game VR being used for education on mobile.
  • The VR audience today is far too small, meaning companies can’t break even on VR games.
  • With Facebook building their Oculus VR platform, it’s likely that social will lead the VR revolution. Social will drive the adoption of VR kits, which will then feed into the gaming sector.
  • From a marketing perspective, VR is a great tool because it’s so immersive. But there’s a long way to go before brands can take this to their audiences.
  • The power and popularity of Pokémon GO lay in its simplicity. While it relied on AR, the game itself was easily accessible and easily playable. VR, on the other hand, is not casual enough yet. 
  • Of course, Pokémon GO seemed to be fad that didn’t really last. The trick to great AR and VR games will be prioritising longevity over novelty. To do this, games will need to be incredibly innovative.

Esports

Hugely popular with viewers, hugely rewarding for competitors and hugely important for gaming communities, esports really is huge. Take a look at our notes from the roundtable:

  • With the League of Legends World Cup rivalling the Super Bowl and triple digit growth over the last 3 years, esports is beyond exploding. 
  • Competitive gamers are the core audience for competitive gaming, causing marketers to ask: how do we keep them engaged? 
  • Esports appeals to two human traits – our competitive spirit and our need to feel rewarded. 
  • Esports is fairly democratic and easily accessible. You don’t have to be from a top university or have trained for a lifetime to get a sense of achievement. It’s open to all. 
  • With esports, the sense of community and belonging is incredibly strong, creating lots of opportunities for brands.
  • Esports will rise at a much faster rate than other sports. In 20 years it will be bigger than football, and will potentially be the biggest sport in the world.

For more on the marketing opportunities presented by esports, make sure to download our latest Gaming Marketing 2020 guide here. 

Connecting with gamers

Love them or hate them, influencers seem to be the perfect marketing tool when it comes to gaming…

  • The influence of influencers in the gaming market is massive, especially when compared to other markets. Influencers have the power to make gamers switch platforms.
  • With the rise of new platforms, it will be interesting to see how influencers affect audiences and platform adoption. 
  • Gaming influencers are often more authentic than influencers outside of gaming because they are truly passionate about the games they play.
  • There has to be a natural affinity between the brand and the influencer. In other words, brands should align themselves with the influencers who actually play their content.
  • Both the influencer and the brand must have shared values, and create a constant stream of quality content.

Women in gaming

The gaming industry needs a shake up from the way games are made, to the way gamers are perceived, as our discussion proved:

  • Data software is predominantly built by men and therefore games become skewed to a masculine view point. Equally, programming scripts are not gender neutral.
  • Companies need to take it back to start and change their infrastructure, removing the male proposition from the start.
  • There are lots of women working in gaming marketing and advertising but women need to be present in the creative conception of games. 
  • Many gaming brands lack an understanding of women, pitching games that are built on stereotypes. 
  • The harmful stereotype of the “gamer” as an anti-social teenage boy cooped up in his room needs to change, it simply doesn’t capture what it means to be a gamer in 2020. 
  • Brands need to shift their audience targeting towards interest types as opposed to age, gender, nationality, etc.
  • Mobile gaming as a platform is more balanced when it comes to gender.
  • Personalised characters in games may help to bring diversity.

We hope you found these insights from the latest Global Marketers’ Club event useful! For updates about the latest GMC events and industry news, please feel free to join the club. And, if you’d like even more insights on gaming trends shaping 2020, make sure to download our latest report, ‘Gaming Marketing 2020: Trends to Stay Ahead of the Game’.