The ubiquity of fast high-speed access, coupled with the prominence of machine-translation software that enables gist translations of every Web page, blog post, and tweet, have made every company—and every marketing department—global by default. The moment you created that social account, blog, website, or app for your company, you started communicating with a global audience. And that audience just keeps expanding.
In recent years, marketing departments have been buffeted on all sides by the convergence of several major trends. Brands strive to accommodate buyers who are increasingly facile with digital tools, who seek highly personalized interactions, and for whom frictionless transactions and great customer experiences have become synonymous. After years of resistance, there are virtually no companies left that aren’t working through a digital transformation.
That digital transformation has yielded default globality. Brands are reaching buyers in every language, every culture, and every country with an Internet connection—consciously or otherwise.
So what are the implications of intrinsic globalism for the CMO? How can you meet your overarching organizational goals while communicating effectively with current and prospective buyers worldwide? And how can you meet the demands of your diverse global audience on their terms?
Here are three ideas for today’s CMO to bear in mind:
1. Redesign Your Strategy And Process Around Internationalization
As a marketer, one of the worst things you can be is reactive. Yet every day I talk to marketers scrambling to translate and localize their content so it resonates in a different market. They’re struggling to fit a square peg into a round hole. You’ll overspend on time and resources because retrofitting a single market approach for international consumption never yields optimal outcomes. And you’ll miss an important opportunity—and the associated revenue—to reach global hearts and minds worldwide.
It’s time to think about your global marketing with a fresh perspective. Rather than catch up and underperform with after-the-fact translations or transcreations, rethink your planning process to enable you to connect early and often with more people, in more languages, in more places. Global SEO, multilingual sentiment, multicultural persona development, and multimarket messaging should be the target outcome from the beginning of your content or campaign-planning process.
2. Less Is More—Personalize And Localize As Little As Required
Global customers are inundated with an exponential increase of content. Indeed, approximately 90% of all the data on the Internet has been created since 2016. Companies—and consumers—are churning out more and more content, drowning customers in words, images, videos, and memes in the hope of catching, even for a moment, their quick-turning attention.
So many marketing departments are hyper-personalizing, hyper-targeting, and hyper-organizing their audiences into dozens upon dozens of unique personas. This misses a salient point about humans: We share a handful of common problems and painpoints, and hardworking content can help solve these problems on a global scale.
Like just about everything in life, more is usually not better. The way to resonate globally is not about exponentially more content creation or localization—it’s about finding the universal attitudes and behaviors of your global customer base. The most successful marketing teams do the hard work of finding the essential pieces that are geared toward all of their audiences.
This counterintuitive approach sets your foundational goal to find as much commonality among your buyers as possible. Why? Your teams need the time and budget to focus their best energy on the most essential differences among the cultures, needs, attitudes, or behaviors of your key target consumers. Strategically identify the smallest number of pieces that are truly unique to a specific buyer, region, or language—and spend a disproportionate share of your team’s energy focused on those long tail differences
3. Re-Engineer With Change As The Default
Forward-thinking CMOs recognize that these converging forces, combined with the global dynamic, necessitate the creation of a flexible and agile marketing organization. Every process within your department should be engineered with change in mind. Globality is the latest step function accelerant of the pace of change we face as marketing leaders. Think of your organization’s strategic goals as the destination address you input in your GPS. The end state is fixed, but the route you take to get there may be different each time.
And be ready to respond to shifting conditions in near real time. Understanding how “rerouting” your marketing messages and programs to find that slightly faster path to realizing your organizational and marketing goals will be the key to driving better competitive outcomes.
If you’ve been pondering going global, congratulations: You’ve probably already done it. Digitization has opened a world of opportunity to CMOs and their departments. If you’re wondering how you can possibly accommodate the various needs of a global audience, shift left, embrace the commonalities that connect you to customers around the world, and pivot your approaches frequently to reach your destination faster.
Learn more about optimizing the multilingual marketing experience.