So your company has decided to market globally?
In the Middle East some countries’ weekends start on Friday and end on Saturday; Sunday is the first day of the working week. In Saudi Arabia, the weekend is Thursday and Friday. In some North African countries, weekends are Saturday and Sunday, and in the remainder of East, West, and South Africa, the weekend is on Saturday and Sunday.
In the Central Eastern Europe and Latin America , Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) regions, India, and China, weekends are the same as in Europe and America. This is an important consideration when executing campaigns because you might get a low response rate if you email someone on a weekend or organize an event on a week- end!
If respondents use mobile email devices, you do not want to send them an email in the middle of the night, because they may use their mobile devices as alarm clocks. If you wake them with the sound of a message, you might have an adverse impact on your brand. Working with different time zones and weekends can affect your workweek, so you might want to work with local agencies and partners, although campaign management tools enable you to “schedule” campaigns to go out automatically. Therefore, you can set up a campaign to go out on your weekend or while you are asleep.
As you can see, there are a number of considerations when managing localized campaigns in global markets. There are general considerations you should make each time you launch a campaign, although of course you will learn each time.
Here’s a checklist for global marketing. You might keep this list in mind as your check list before considering, planning, or executing local campaigns and communications in global markets:
You must consider your drop date (e.g., the time and date an email arrives in a contact’s inbox or direct mail lands on their desks). Dates for Christmas or other festive seasons, local new years, or bank and national holidays need to be known because they differ in different regions and the target may or may not be at work on those days. For example, the Chinese New Year, a major holiday, differs from the western calendar New Year, as does the lunar Islamic calendar year, although the latter isn’t typically recognized with a long holiday.
Strap lines or taglines
Strap lines or taglines for your business or brand are difficult to translate and can lose or change meaning in local cultures if literally translated.
Images need to have a local look and feel. So that you don’t offend local cultures, avoid images of people if you lack local insight. This includes all images used online and offline.
Colour has different meaning in different cultures. Red, orange, and gold are positive in Saudi Arabia. Red is also a popular colour in China. In India, yellow and green are considered lucky. Make sure colours present well on desktop and mobile browsers/screens.
Symbols, images, and icons can be reused in multiple campaigns. Start to build a “marketing library” in-house bank of images. This is cost-, resource-, and time-effective and helps to build consistency throughout messaging as recipients will begin to recognize consistently used images, but be careful not to overuse an image. You still want to use innovative imagery.
Currency exchange rates can be expensive, and leads don’t want to research conversion rates. Therefore, don’t sell in dollars, pounds, or euros on a local website.
Incentives or offers are welcome but must be tested for responsiveness. For example, a free USB key in developed economies might not generate a high response rate in emerging or other global markets. Offers don’t need to be merchandise. They can be events, physical or virtual. Make sure the response isn’t just for “free stuff.” Your overall message is key.
The overall proposition
A proposition is the overall products/service/solution that a company markets to the contacts to meet a problem they have. You should tailor your proposition for the market need and take into account the unique needs of the companies in the industry. Understanding local market needs should help you to create strong and relevant propositions. This is key to your overall campaign.
To find out more about B2b marketing in global markets, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing a New York FT Press Publication.