Editor’s Note: This post is part one of a three part series covering global marketing expansion.
As a company grows, most marketing teams expand from a centralized corporate office to placing marketers in different countries or continents to support growing sales organizations. The timing, goals, and implementation of this program is critical for success. In this series, we’ll examine the pressures on marketing leadership to “go global,” the key tipping points to make the shift, and some ideas on how to be successful with this move.
Global Marketing from a Central Location
The reality is that for most high velocity, inbound sales models, marketing teams are already going global from day one. While search engine marketing, advertising and email open rates can show some differences based on time zones, a highly functioning marketing team can make significant progress in global marketing from a central location. English reach is pervasive especially with information technology users. Most advertising networks are global in nature and simply require turning on or off particular countries. Webinar programs can be easily adapted for different time zones. Email marketing sends can be time sliced to maximize open rates for particular time zones. For trade shows, unless your team is doing a massive number of shows, most geographies are within an 8 – 10 hour plane ride of North America or Europe depending on your base of operations. The ROI of hiring people in country vs. flying people in for an event will almost always favor flying people in on a limited basis. Plus, who doesn’t like a trip to a great location for a trade show?
In addition, running a centralized team is significantly more efficient that splitting a team over multiple geographies. Access to centralized services like the web team, creative team and corporate marketing is much easier to accomplish when they are a cube away and not 8 time zones away. Finally, many inbound sales models expand by continents, not by countries. A North American based sales organization might decide to cover all of Europe from one specific country. This might not solve language translation problems if the European headquarters is located in a regional city without a strong multinational presence. It could actually be easier to find a multi-lingual qualified marketer in the home country, depending on the metropolitan area, than the continental headquarters. For example, it is probably easier to find a top notch Spanish speaking inbound marketer in New York, than in Cork, Ireland (no offense to any Spanish speaking inbound marketers living in Cork – this is just an example).
An Argument Against In-Country (At First)
The net of it, to run an inbound model, at least at the beginning, you don’t have to be in country, in a time zone, with local language speakers. Don’t believe it? Look at your site statistics by country and see if the % of traffic you are getting by country roughly matches the market potential for your product in that country. For countries that are underrepresented, consider why you aren’t getting the traction required and take steps to correct it. For an inbound model, buyers don’t know or really care if the company’s marketing team is in their country or halfway around the world. They do care if emails arrive at the right time, in a language they can read, promoting webinars at the right time with products that are localized so they can use them. All these goals can be accomplished from a centralized marketing team almost anywhere in the world.
In part two of this series, we will talk about the tipping point for global marketing.