Professional Marketers will understand the critical importance of understanding your market and ensuring your message is honed for that market. Those with experience will know how that aspect can dictate the impact of marketing campaigns.
We should all know and understand that markets are different, that little differences can have a huge impact and that we need to keep this in mind to maximise success.
Yet so many organisations fall for the age old trap of believing they can operate in one way in all markets. Using the same marketing program in different markets can have very negative effects on your success levels in different regions, quite possibly regions with huge potential.
Costs of ignoring this issue often fall under the radar. It’s too easy to blame ‘poor sales performances’, ‘regional disinterest’ or ‘a bad year (or even a bad decade)’. Vast opportunities can be squandered. All the while regional competition grows, using marketing strategies properly adapted for their own regions. That competition that may not make the same mistake when entering your home markets.
As an example a project I was engaged in to bring a new US B2B technology product into Europe for a major US Corporation was struggling, globally, to gain traction. After nine months of little progress, with pressure rising, a little autonomy was granted with regard to how marketing budgets were allocated and sales approaches modified. The impact was transformational and rapid. In my own region I was able to target a sector of the market previously ignored, yet one I knew contained a rich seam of demand for the product we were promoting. I could also tailor the messaging to engage that particular market. It worked. It worked because my region operated somewhat differently from the US Market.
Over the years I have watched as many global campaigns have struggled in different regions. The feeling of frustration is strong, watching obvious opportunities being missed and messaging failing to impact knowing that small changes would bring far better results.
I have also seen the transformational effect on global campaigns, of giving regions enough autonomy to make a difference. It feels like a racing dog must feel after being let off the leash. The differences to the success of a project can be startling.
Different regions often demand different go-to-market strategies. Some of those regions have the potential to represent substantial revenue streams and it’s always worth the effort of allowing a little freedom in order to ensure your marketing efforts are effective.
While the desire to retain full control is strong and understandable, I am not advocating any kind of wholesale abdication of responsibility. But technology and modern management techniques have long enabled and understood that organisations should allow some local autonomy to release the potential value of giving trusted colleagues and partners a proper role.
Recognise the value of in-depth knowledge and experience in the international market you are planning to infiltrate. Avoid making expensive assumptions about needs, end goals and pain points in regions you are not familiar with. In short, just as you would in your home markets or those with which you have experience, talk to the right people, those who really know and understand the places you are going into,in order to validate your market approach.
Opinion Piece: Richard Roy, Director, SeZing Ltd