It's a small world after all: marketing without borders

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The world is becoming increasingly small. Drivers such as the Internet, airplanes and television are making it nearly impossible for successful companies operating in the modern world to remain confined to their own countries.

We buy Italian leather, South American coffee and diamonds from Africa. But it isn't that simple. With an increasing amount of international business comes confusion. Why isn't the whole world one big open global marketplace? Because different languages, customs, currencies and traditions do not erase with the touch of a computer key. While the Internet age has opened global doors, it also has shown us that international marketing has a distinct set of challenges.

How do you market internationally when there are:

  • Language barriers? Even among English speaking countries, language often gives marketers the greatest challenge. For example, in the United States when someone uses the phrase "table that proposal," they mean abandon the proposal. In the United Kingdom and Australia, the phrase "table that proposal" translates to put forth the proposal. And there are thousands of other examples just like this.
  • Different target audiences? International marketing means marketing to different target audiences and accommodating a new set of customer data.
  • Multiple currencies? Outside of the European Union, there is no common currency between any of the countries in the world. There is talk of a single global currency, but until then, marketers will launch campaigns all over the world using different currencies to pay vendors.
  • Cultural differences? Some cultures might be more apt to buy products that are health-beneficial, while others will lean toward items that are fun or perceived as fun. For example, Americans have the reputation of indulging themselves with the latest and greatest in everything - food, electronics, clothes, etc - while Asian countries are considered very high tech.
  • Laws and regulations? For example, specific products have different rules attached to them. In the UnitedStates, these rules and regulations can even vary from state to state, such as alcohol, agriculture, etc. Additionally, there are sometimes parameters around how products are marketed in different countries.
Reducing complexity in international marketing

Currently, most large companies have physically separate marketing departments in different parts of the world, leading to no clear succinct global company "voice" - or unified marketing effort to relay that voice. With segmented marketing departments, companies can expect a lack of unified messaging, time and resource waste due to unnecessary repetition of marketing campaigns, financial issues and inaccurate or incomplete customer data.

It's time for marketing departments across the world to join hands. The easiest way for companies to do this successfully? Create a more centralized, global marketing department through Enterprise Marketing Management software. Providing centralized marketing departments with access to EMM software will:

  • Centralize segmentation across various regions. By providing one central place where all marketing collateral and campaign details are housed and giving all marketing departments across the world access to that information, marketing efforts will no longer be duplicated. The central marketing department will initiate all work, and departments across the world will take the lead from them, resulting in one singular key message to drive marketing efforts.
  • Attack language barriers. A central marketing department doesn't mean marketing campaigns and plans are forced upon the regions in one language; rather EMM software is about providing the capabilities to localize each region. This allows regional marketing centers to operate in their native, and comfortable, language. But that's only half the battle. EMM then creates a unified marketing strategy by consolidating the various regions' plans into one central repository.
  • Solve bulk rate issues. Large companies produce a large amount of marketing materials. Historically, most companies have not invested the time and resources to figure out the best way to ship and track marketing materials. EMM software helps companies eliminate the piecemeal approach, thereby saving a lot of money that would be spent on postage and shipping.
  • Provide multi-country personalization. Having a central repository does not mean that individual marketing departments will not customize each campaign to enhance local appeal. With this approach, the campaigns can be launched simultaneously, with key points tailored for maximum impact at the local level.
  • Consolidate digital assets. Managing physical and digital assets is a major challenge in today's multichannel and interactive world. Research has shown the searching for digital assets is a major source of lost productivity in global corporations. EMM helps companies solve this challenge and give them a competitive advantage in a world where brands are global and must be delivered across an increasing number of channels.
  • Track financials. EMM software accommodates multiple currencies and tracks spend across regions. This provides the central marketing department and key executives a view into marketing spend around the world from one central place.

As the world continues to get smaller, companies must prepare for the futures of their marketing efforts. By migrating from segmented departments to one central marketing department that utilizes Enterprise Marketing Management, companies will see a better return on their dollar…or rupee…or peso.

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