Going “glocal” means far more than McDonald’s not selling beef in India, Arabian Barbie wearing a headdress, or seaweed Pringles in Japan. Becoming both global and local at the same time means supporting your teams in the field by arming them with the technology, information, and collateral that empower them to customize materials and messages to suit their market.
In a B-to-B context, “local marketing enablement” in your global marketing strategy is essential, per a recent Gartner report by Kimberly Collins. This relates to the challenge of aligning corporate initiatives with a distributed set of offices that act in communities with their own particular cultures, politics, and business environments. Combining the concepts of globalization and localization, a truly “glocal” company manages a network of offices or stores from a corporate level while enabling the various locations to perform at a high level. Campaign management and lead management are also core to ensuring the sustained ability to intelligently act glocally.
Acting as a Valuable Resource for Field Marketing
Marketers are challenged today to deliver messages to customers relevant to their specific location at a point in time. Global localization tailors products and services to users and consumers in local markets. Maintaining relevancy to buying habits presents another requirement to this kind of direct messaging. For example, how can marketers determine the best way to send notifications about special offers or the opening of new stores to users in certain parts of the country? The answer — rely on your internal stakeholders and provide them with the ability to make decisions appropriate for the populations that they serve.
Here are three tips to integrate local entities in your strategy of turning your marketing “glocal.”
- Provide local marketers campaign kits on a regular basis. In the absence of updated brand guidelines or approved collateral, homegrown campaigns executed at the local level can result in an inconsistent brand image. To unify communications and align with corporate strategies, maintain a flow of quality campaign kits to your contacts in the field.
- Don’t invest in a new software tool until your global marketing initiatives are aligned with those at your local offices, outlets, and stores. By gathering requirements and understanding process details, you can make better decisions about what solutions best suit your business needs. Campaign execution will vary widely depending on locale.
- Streamline the operational marketing experience and provide users with easy-to-use tools that save them time and add value to repeated daily tasks. Your local representatives may not be full-time marketers, and traditional advertising activities may not be their core competency or focus. Provide them with analytics and best practices so that they can improve on future initiatives.
Understanding and Respecting Culture Variations
If you do business in many places, you are likely interacting with individuals embedded in different cultures. Understanding this and embracing these cultural differences can avoid problems that multinational corporations have encountered in the past. Cultural frameworks, value systems, and language specificities may significantly impact or alter your product deployments and marketing communications. The distribution of symbols, styles, and norms changes on a regional basis and fluctuates widely from one country to the next.
Listen to your marketers to find out more about the contexts they work in and the types of personalization that they find to be effective for their own customer base. Empower them to modify corporate directives so that they are better suited for their own communities’ needs. Your foreign coworkers and customers will have their own preferences, and you should be able to satisfy both of them by delivering a solution that speaks to each person’s wants and comfort areas.
Making your Field Marketers Accountable
Whether it’s creating content, sharing resources, or adhering to required processes, maintain a diligent eye on how your distributed marketing teams are acting on a day to day basis. Have they made recommendations or written original content that can be effectively leveraged? Are they making basic reports available to you as well as their own employees? Make sure to both provide your disparate offices with advanced marketing software as well as request feedback on usage.
If budgetary concerns make the purchase of large software packages difficult, determine the appropriate funds to use by considering the value-based implications of installing or not installing a solution. Splitting the cost or doing pilot runs of new tools should help alleviate the financial and operational pressures of changing to a new platform.
Trusting Your Local Representatives
Managers of large marketing divisions in B-to-B companies can still use takeaways from some of the world’s most successful B-to-C businesses. A March 2013 Harvard Business Review article cites how Johnnie Walker and Coca-Cola have successfully grown revenues in other countries by tailoring messages. Coca-Cola cites the freedom that they give global marketers as the reason behind much of their success. You can use this approach in any situation where you have multiple distributed partners who need to be treated in a uniform fashion at the individual level:
“Coca-Cola’s marketing philosophy requires that the designers of global advertising strategy carry a creative concept most of the way to execution while regional marketers tailor the work to make it locally relevant and aligned to the different category and brand situations in different places. Importantly, the framework respects and encourages local decision-making while at the same time supporting a unified brand identity.”
What examples of effective glocal marketing have you experienced?