Global Marketing Starts With Local Information

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Think globally, act locally. That is what is required of businesses to stay competitive and grow. As a result, businesses have grown more dependent on marketing professionals to navigate the cultural typology and the competitive environment in order to capture customer market share, mind share and wallet share.


Marketers are being thrust into the dimensions of global expansion and the complexity of conducting business across varying boundaries, cultures, languages, economies and political forces.


Global marketing relies on the ability to gather and apply information competently to determine things such as the value of a specific market and customer segments. With greater information about the market and customers, companies can drive business forward, up to 50 percent faster.


Global data collection: the ultimate challenge. Managing the growth of a global business requires marketers to have local market insight to identify areas of opportunity. Such a need demands mastery of local data collection efforts on a global scale.


Consider an example of a U.S. manufacturer of office equipment with multichannel distribution strategies in the United States and northern Europe. It has the challenge of managing customer information in several languages and keeping accurate records on the results of each market it operates in, as well as reporting on those markets individually and across markets. For such a business to make decisions with confidence, global data collection must yield information that is accurate, complete, timely and consistent across borders.


Another example involves companies that manage a vast portfolio of products. They may find themselves in the quagmire of different product codes for the same products sold in different countries, which complicates visibility of sales and revenue by product, channel and customer. The customer information is the tie that binds. Without a complete understanding of the customer/channel, a marketer knows much about nothing.


Business-to-business marketers have the added challenge of managing relationships on a local scale with multinational corporations that want to be viewed as global players. This requires some data collection to be organized around specific business customers in the markets they operate, while ensuring the system can accommodate the use and view of information on a local market basis.


The super seven. When collecting information on businesses on a global scale, transaction data and relationship information recorded in CRM systems are pre-eminent. Yet there are descriptive attributes of a business that, if not also collected, may render transaction data useless.


Seven critical elements help describe a business and often are more important than transaction data. Without them, transaction data has no real connection to any entity and is diminished in value to an aggregate view of demand or need. These critical data elements for BTB marketing are:


· Business name.


· Address.


· Telephone number.


· Industry classification.


· Number of employees.


· Annual sales.


· Owner name.


Without these elements, companies lack a clear picture of their business customers and struggle to engage, even in remedial forms, because they have an incomplete mosaic. The challenge is getting this information from the customer.


One option is to rely on business customers to self-report information about their operations, but in many instances the employees of these businesses will report inaccurately. On average, 13 percent of data self-entered in customer service systems is erroneous. In other circumstances, customers may be reserved in providing information about their business and give an automatic response that is superficial at best. Or they simply may not know the information. In this situation, the marketer is forced to determine how best to separate the good from the bad.


Developing a quality process. Experienced marketers know that there are critical drivers for managing a global information quality process. The first is having a global data collection process in place. After that, a company still needs to bring information together through an entity matching process to sift the redundant information and compile a meaningful business profile. Things such as address standardization in local language become critical.


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