5 reasons why your global marketing operation is obsolete

Archaic thinking. Extinct ideas. Obsolete methods. The truth is, many of today’s global marketing practices can’t keep up with the ever-changing global landscape. As our world becomes more socially aware and digitally connected, brands can’t afford to get things wrong. We’re entering a new era of global marketing built on fast, flexible and digital-first thinking.

But how can you prepare your marketing for the new era? First you have to recognise what’s going wrong. So, we’ve put together 5 reasons why your global marketing operation is obsolete…

1. You’re losing the global vs local battle

All too often, global and local marketing teams don’t collaborate seamlessly within corporations. But finding a global-local model that works for your brand is fundamental to campaign success. With the right global marketing operation, you can achieve increased ROI, shorter lead times and greater market engagement. So how should global and local teams approach working together?

When it comes to global vs local, it’s all too easy to think that global should rule the roost, dictating everything from creative ideation to campaign roll-out. But it goes without saying that dictatorships rarely work. Especially when multiple markets, each with their own unique audiences, are involved. Brands should avoid letting their marketing process become too global-centric at the risk of alienating its customers at a local level.

On the flip side, if you use a de-centralised process where local is free to do its own thing, chaos ensues. Firstly, when local teams start to stray from the global picture, the brand becomes diluted as local and global initiatives run simultaneously, clouding the overall brand identity. Secondly, political tensions can arise as there’s no clear leader to set a firm strategy or resolve issues. For a global local model to work, control and consistency is key.

So, it’s best not to see global vs local as a battle at all. Think of it as a balancing act. In an ideal world, global and local teams will take a collaborative approach. Global can lead on creative and strategic decisions but local should be thoroughly involved in the entire process, since they can offer vital insight into their respective markets. Local teams can also have autonomy when it comes to local tactical initiatives. In this collaborative setup, it’s all about giving responsibility to those in the know. Local knows local. Global knows global. Together, all areas are covered.

2. You’re stuck on the big creative idea

The Mad Men days are over. And that means campaigns can’t just begin and end with the big creative idea. We’re now living in a digital first era, with 59% of the world’s population actively online as of July 2020 – a figure that’s set to increase significantly. (Source: Statista).

So, global campaigns need to be born from a digital-first perspective. Your first priority should be considering how your campaigns can create multi-moments, connecting with audiences across multi-channels and multi-markets. By taking a digital first approach to campaigns, you’ll be primed to jump on any relevant trends. For example, in September 2020 – for the first time ever – the hours people spent streaming overtook linear TV in Europe. In line with this, ad-supported VOD viewing went up 30% (source: Samsung). A big creative idea built with one platform in mind would struggle to jump on this trend with real impact. So you need to create campaigns catered to multiple channels.

The challenge of tackling multi-moment marketing is ensuring that each activation is highly sophisticated. The solution lies with finding a global agency partner who can help your brand think digital-first and craft global campaigns accordingly. Global partners can easily provide insight into specific digital formats, like TikTok or WeChat, but can also add the local, human element by applying the expertise of their in-market copywriters and translators. The result? Digital-first campaigns that provide local users with an engaging and relevant experience.

When it comes to digital-first campaign creation, it’s also about upping the ante with your data sources. Innovative global brands don’t just rely on the old favourites like social media/web analytics, business stats, or keyword trends. They’re now turning to more and more advanced analytics to truly understand their customer base in target markets. It’s time to follow in their footsteps.

3. You’re not using test and learn

Amazon, Facebook, Google… Today’s tech giants got to where they are through a culture of experimentation. Yet, too many marketers looking to grow their brand internationally still resist the test and learn approach. Instead, they opt to make decisions based mostly on assumptions and outdated notions, a truly obsolete approach to marketing. Here’s what will happen if you refuse to progress towards a test and learn model:

  • You’ll invest a lot of money into big ideas that aren’t based on data and proven results. If the gamble pays off, that’s great. If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted time, effort and money. That’s not the sort of result you want to take to stakeholders.
  • You’ll end up overhauling ideas when they don’t work, which is much more costly and time consuming than simply integrating small changes as you test and learn along the way.
  • You’ll lag behind in the new global marketing era where consumer habits, marketing trends and media channels change almost overnight.
  • You’ll lack relevance in your local markets. Without testing to see what works and what doesn’t in certain markets. you’ll be forced to follow a local strategy that lacks real insight. As a result, you’ll damage your brand’s global status.

And as if that wasn’t enough to convince you, we spoke to Jess Weimer, Vice President of Global Revenue Marketing at Confluent, about the importance of learning as you go. She revealed that, without a constant reassessment of your marketing plan, “everything will just feel and behave like random acts of marketing, random acts of doing, and will bring you further away from achieving your goals”. If you want to avoid ‘random acts of doing’, test and learn will bring purpose to your marketing and help you achieve your global potential.

4. Your global marketing operation is too rigid

While calling the future “uncertain” has become a cliché, it’s now a global truth. People’s everyday realities are likely to keep changing at this rapid speed for some time. So, you need to let go of your rigid processes. Of course, you can’t throw structure out of the window, but it’s about building a marketing process that has room to adapt as new opportunities and challenges arise (and they will).

To be fully flexible throughout your global campaign process, you need to create a fixed plan where room to tweak and adapt is built into every step. While that might sound daunting, the trick is to see agility as lots of small manoeuvres as opposed to huge changes in direction. Of course, there might be times when you have to pivot your local strategy entirely. But a plan that allows for lots of tweaks can support this pivot when necessary.

For sudden changes to be implemented seamlessly, you have to be able to scale up and down your resources as required. This means looking at what you can achieve in-house, and what back-up external resources you might need from partner agencies. If you think you need external support, look to smaller, independent agencies built on flexible ways of working.

Finally, to achieve true flexibility in your global marketing processes, you must find that balance between global and local we spoke about earlier. To be truly agile, global and local teams must be able to collaborate efficiently, making firm decisions at speed.

5. Your global marketing operation does not respond to real time

And, carrying on from flexible processes, our last point is about reacting to real-time changes. That means responding to what’s happening in the world by taking an always-on approach geared for speed. But what does it take to react quickly?

For real-time, responsive global marketing, you need to have access to a large scale global network that you can tap into as and when needed. That way you’ll have the resources you need to optimise your campaign as you go. Using a global marketing partner agency will provide you with a network of in-market experts poised for action, helping you to continually improve your local customer experience and personalising your marketing to their changing contexts.

When it comes to your creative idea, you’ll have to think much more strategically about assessing your local content. The ever-changing global landscape means it’s impossible to land on one creative idea that captures how local consumers are feeling. Make sure you have several different creative options and get all of them checked by local experts. That way you have a few ideas to choose from and you won’t waste time returning to the drawing board. Equally, ensure that you carry out pre-clearance on all creative so that you aren’t delayed later down the line by any local clearance regulations.

Responding to real time changes requires the right resources. Think about whether you need a global partner who can help speed up your always on creative execution, clearance and content localisation. If you choose to partner with a global agency, make sure they’re armed with a flexible workforce, the latest CAT technology and an efficient working model. Of course, speedy delivery should not mean low quality output. The ability to adapt and produce global content fast should come from years of expertise. Something to bear in mind when you’re looking for your global agency partner.

We hope our 5 reasons why your global marketing operation is obsolete has provided some food for thought.

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you implement test and learn for data-driven results; find the perfect global local model; or build flexibility into your campaign process, get in touch.