Global Marketing

Africa, one continent many worlds


It’s been a while since my last post, apologies, testing times in Egypt plus I was focusing on my fast during Ramadan, more recently, I was in South Africa! I usually reside in Egypt and went to discover South Africa’s magic.

Africa is not one big poverty-ridden continent, contrary to some perceptions and images portrayed by some media outlets, the image of the starving child and disease is not representative of all countries, yes, there are poor countries, however, many are abundant in natural resources like gold, gas, petroleum and minerals.  As well natural resources, these countries benefit from tourism and have a host of developing diverse industries e.g. agriculture, manufacturing, banking and telecommunications. The World Cup was hosted in South Africa in 2010, boosting its profile as a tourist destination, the government also invested in local infrastructure to accommodate, impacting the local economy and jobs, for example construction.

Countries also benefit from access to global capital markets and receive foreign direct investment which aids growth. The BRIC is forming strong economic ties with Africa, particularly China.

Many countries in Africa have large populations, e.g. Egypt has a population of approximately 85 to 90 million, which forms a large domestic market, this includes a large pool of well-educated youth and rising middle classes as a result of economic success.

Africa consists of 54 independent countries and understanding the continent or individual countries is not a simple task, it requires research, exposure and business experience. North Africa and South Africa, albeit on the same continent, are worlds apart. They’re different in terms of ethnicities, culture, traditions, languages, religion, history, politics and business opportunities. I cannot stress how important it is that businesses and marketers recognise each country in Africa as unique and as individual markets.

Various countries in Africa are up and coming, as a result of political stability, reform, privatization, openness to trade and investment. Some countris in North Africa have recently become unstable post the “Arab Spring” however, these countries are eager to regain stability, attract tourism and continue to grow economically, political stability, however, is a prerequisite, hopefully this is a short-lived transitional stage. Countries in North Africa must also be regarded as unique markets and what’s currently occurring in Egypt does not represent what’s happening in neighbouring markets. Also, the global mass media can exaggerate the situation on the ground, after all bad news sells.

Businesses, in developed markets, are looking for growth from countries in Africa, in the face of tough competition in home markets; African markets can offer good return or investment, new customers and clients.


It’s key that any international marketing strategy treats each stand-alone market with a unique approach, this begins  with marketing segmentation. The countries in Africa cannot be clumped into one region or market. There are less developed countries in the region as well as more advanced countries in terms of: living standards, consumer demands, business maturity, expertise and levels of sophistication in Internet marketing, for example.

In my book, I discuss the market attractiveness model, which helps business strategists and decisions markers to segment regions, to classify countries, markets and industries according to business attractiveness vs. a businesses’ own capabilities in doing business in these market.

When I worked for Cisco 2012, we classed South Africa as an “A” market, it was a key market for  business growth  in the region, Nigeria and Egypt were classed as “B” markets, at the time. These were considered attractive for various reasons, e.g. wealth, natural resources, ease of doing business, growth rates  in GDP, stability and various other positive business and economic factors.

This segmentation determined marketing investment, budget allocation and resources in terms of teams and dedication. Other markets in the region were classed as C markets, or tertiary and treated accordingly.

Each business experience will be different as well as the ROI, sales and growth.

Targeting and business models:

Once the individual markets/ countries have been segmented, the next decision is to decide which countries to operate in i.e. the target markets, and how to do business with these markets i.e. export, partnering or e-commerce.  This is where the investment commences and implementation takes part.


This is perhaps my favourite topic, perhaps because I’m a bit of a traveller and different cultures inspire me. Marketing strategy and communications need to be tailored to local markets, products and solutions need to meet local pain points and marketing needs.

Ethnicities, cultures and needs are starkly different from north to south and this should be reflected in marketing campaigns, creative and communications. The look and feel of communications and languages will differ completely. In the continent, major business languages include French, Arabic, English and Portuguese, of course using the wrong business language in marketing communications has huge implications for business results.

Egypt is predominantly a Muslim country which also has an impact on marketing and sensitivity,  the main religion in South Africa is Christianity, in Islam alcohol is prohibited, although it’s available in Egypt and accessible, this for example may be a consideration when doing business with the market, i.e. it may not be acceptable to serve alcohol at an event.

The wonderful Internet:

Social media is booming in the region, again each individual market has its own popular network/s, in Egypt and South Africa alike, Facebook and Twitter are popular. In general, growth in Internet penetration in the region and certain markets has accelerated in recent years due to investment in infrastructure and wireless. This is a new means to reach new markets and to test tailored, localised campaigns easily in comparison to offline. Social media has been instrumental in the communication during social uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, having a well-defined and planned social media strategy can help to establish brand awareness; build a contact database and to establish sales or generate leads.

Using the internet to reach markets in Africa is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, including the well-known benefits of digital, which I need not write about here, one major benefit is that it’s more reliable than traditional direct marketing, for example, the postal infrastructure in Egypt is less developed in relation to western markets and therefore you can count on an email arriving over a piece of direct mail.

The benefits are also that you can test messages and localised campaigns and track responses and receptiveness from local individual markets at low-cost.

The Internet is a strong marketing tool, however, it’s important to combine it with other media channels which to an extent depends on the demographic or fimographic.

Doing business in international and emerging markets is not easy, there’s a lot to be learnt, each market is unique and requires dedicated investment in terms of resources, there is a high level of risk, however, rewards can be high. As I mention in all my articles, learning is key and partnering with knowledgeable local businesses is invaluable.

Thoughts and prayers for Egypt as it currently goes through its political growing pains and here’s to a prosperous future.

Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Retail and consumer brands global yet local in fast growth markets

Are you looking to grow your business in international markets? The large brands / companies are doing it to grow the top line. They’re chosing to target emerging and frontier markets as they’re facing tough trading conditions in “developed” mature markets.

See below images for some of the consumer brands I’m referring to, the middle image is Virgin!

Emerging Markets

The images were snapped up by me In Qatar, Doha and UAE, Dubai. Both markets were recently upgraded from frontier, riskier markets than emerging, to emerging markets.

“Both are seeing capital flows coming into their countries in the form of tourism, trade and financial services. These are safe havens of the Middle East. In addition, there continues to be a substantial development spending,” according to CNN.

These markets  amongst others, such as the BRIC , offer profitable growth for companies in terms of consumers.

Emerging markets continue to lead growth though political and economic changes. Sadly and inevitably, Greece became the first  “developed market” to be downgraded to an emerging market. The world is all change most notably since the Financial Crisis.

Brand strategy and logos

As you can see these major brands have localized by translating their brand names, albeit keeping their successful global identities, so they are local, yet global, glocal brands!

Monsoon uses  its brands name in English and in local language, Arabic.

These brands are playing on the strength of their brand identities and loyalty and other factors that give them brand strength, yet being locally sensitive by using, at the simplest level of localization, local language.

We live in a global village, that’s nothing new, the internet and travel means that people are used to seeing familiar brands and logos  wherever they travel and through online advertising and social media sharing sites, they want the global experience but the local feel.

Some brands benefit from the “country of origin” effect, i.e. people in local markets are more willing to purchase them, sometimes for a premium price, as the brands are perceived      to be exclusive, and luxurious relative to local brands.

With the below example brands, there’s a fine balancing act between maintaining a global identity and being local, glocal! Whilst keeping a consistent look with the international brand, they respect the local language and therefore can build a connection with the local audience.

Whilst benefiting from the brand equity they are also being flexible.

Strap lines

I’ve also seen straplines localised, i.e. the message is created for the local market. This does not mean that straplines are simply translated; translation does not always work and straplines can lose meaning in local markets. Straplines are created with the local culture in mind although they do share the same positioning and messaging as their original straplines.


Further localization occurs within the marketing mix, or the 7 Ps.  FMCG brands do this really well.

I’ve noticed that a lot of global fashion retailers will localise their products and that I can purchase clothes in some countries localised to the local taste, products that aren’t available in their stores in American or European markets for example.

In the Middle East in some Gulf countries, the clothes are a little more “flamboyant,” inline with local taste, in comparison to some European markets like the UK, London, my home town.

Relatively recently, friends in Cairo, expressed their lack of enthusiasm for Marks and Spencer’s extremely formal range. I can’t advise how they are performing with regards to sales, however, when any brand enters a new markets it’s important that they spend time researching the local taste, tailoring and localizing some of the merchandise for  local markets and their target audience. See their Facebook page for Egypt, also not very localised, I wonder if it’s managed by a local community manager. They may be exploiting the country of origin effect, and many middle class citizens in Egypt will speak fluent English.

See McDonald’s Facebook page Egypt, in comparison, it is localized to an extent, however, the target audience here “fans” is a mass audience and McDonald’s also targets the lower-income demographic who may not speak fluent English.

It’s a small world after all

It’s becoming easier to grow sales in new markets as the world becomes a smaller place or a “global village”, some people argue that this is a bad things, others may perceive it to be a good thing depending on which country or market is benefiting most economically.

Also, with the internet and advancement in communications and travel, companies don’t necessarily need to be have a large brand  or company to be able to enter new markets today, however, research is a must and partnering with local marketing agencies and local businesses can reduce risk when physically entering new markets. Alternatively you may choose to export to partners or sell via e-commerce  websites or generate leads for B2b marketing via online marketing campaigns. China makes the world takes, it’s not just “developed” markets exporting.

Website localization:

Businesses may communicate to new markets with their websites by using multilingual sites, or by offering local sites which users can locate on a main website typically ending .com. Typically  the main website will have a “global gateway,” a  drop down menu which shows local websites for each country, see

Ikea has local stores in local markets, but a local store is not  prerequisite for trade for all retailer, businesses may be able to sell via online commerce, a consideration here and critical success factor is delivery, a leading example is Amazon.

Here’s a recent checklist I created for consideration when localizing aspects of marketing communications and the marketing mix.

Monsoon localisedVirgin localisedRed bull localised

Your thoughts? Have you come across any examples of localization during your business travels or holidays?

Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | Tags: , | Leave a comment

5 ways to learn more about customer needs in local markets

Marketing to emerging markets

5 tips for today’s global marketing leader

There’s really no better way of learning about marketing to a new international market, or emerging market than by living in one, or two! Or by visiting, however, the internet makes doing business in an international context far easier than ever before.

Having recently moved from Egypt, Cairo, to Qatar, Doha, previously having lived in the UK and working virtually with counties in Latin America, Russia, Central Eastern Europe and Asia, as part of a multinational marketing team, I have a few year’s experience doing marketing in “developed” and “emerging” markets.

Today, with digital marketing, marketers are international by nature. Web, social, email, video and mobile have no borders. Timezones and distance are no longer barriers to growing businesses globally in fast growth markets.

Businesses in developing markets, which are mature, and post recessionary are increasingly looking to emerging markets as an option for revenue growth or are doing business with them to increase revenue.

Below are a few universal tips:

1) Listening

The best way to have a conversation in social media is to listen to existing conversations. The same is true for doing business in new markets.

Many multinational or large companies have withdrawn from new international markets because they haven’t taken the time to understand them.

Making assumptions about markets, generalising, or just not doing your research can be detrimental to your brand and company profits.

Qatar and Egypt are both in the Middle East, Islam is the predominant religion in both markets, they share some cultural similarities, however, both markets are inherently different. The different markets have differing cultural dress, foods, traditions and ways of doing business.

Egypt is more sophisticated and mature in terms of marketing than Qatar, however, Qatar is more resource and cash rich. In Cairo you’re bombarded with outdoor advertising, whereas in Doha there is very little.

Listen by working with local agencies, sales teams, partners or research firms, learn from marketing efforts. Fail fast in digital. Test localised integrated campaigns for results on a small sample of your target audience and learn from real-time or speedy results.

Listen and monitor conversations about your industry, product and market via social media, have your own social media channels and make listening a priority, as well as acting upon it.

2) Understand the unspoken rules, be sensitive and aware

If you’re serious about doing business in an international market, take time to understand the culture. Understand the norms, what’s expected, ways of doing business and what may potentially offend. This is very important. Once I attended a conference in Dubai where a (non-local) speaker decided to show a video of a man getting naked and jumping into a pool! The audience were mainly from North Africa and Gulf states, this was and still is considered offensive, the nudity was not considered humorous.

The only person who may have found the video amusing was the speaker, he then went on to present for 45 minutes after showing the video and offending his audience, not a very admirable position to be in, the room was silent! Hopefully, not a common mistake, but it happens.

3) Getting Involved

Don’t be afraid to get involved with local initiatives. Enjoy new ways of working, new cultures and grow!

Let go of preconceived perceptions and enjoy new experiences whether working virtually or in the local market.

4) Localise

“In China, the color red symbolizes luck. In India, the same color symbolizes purity. In many Western countries, however, red symbolizes danger. In some countries, green is either a symbol of prosperity or of nature. Nothing with regard to brand acceptance is simply black and white.” Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing.

Localise your campaigns. I’ve seen strap lines for brands literally translated into other languages which have lost their meaning, literally messages have been lost in translation.

Understand the local culture, customer pain points, cultural sensitivities  the sense of humour and produce content that resonates with your local audience. The imagery, colours and copy in local language are the tip of the iceberg, before that comes the proposition, the messaging and the meaning.

Red symbolises luck in China, that’s true but that’s also very traditional, the Chinese site, a leading online global market place for small businesses, uses orange as part of its branding.

Digital creative from agencies based in Brazil tends to be vibrant, colourful and bold. 

Leading social networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow marketers to use local languages, for international marketing, hire a social media manager who’s fluent int the local language, if it’s the business language, to manage your social media communities. In Egypt and Qatar  the business languages are English and Arabic.

5) Superiority

Qatar as a country and emerging market is transforming,  diversifying from a natural resource – based economy into various industries such as real estate, banking, information technology, services and tourism.

Businesses are seeking to hire marketers from developed economies and to import skills, so import your skills but do not import an attitude of superiority, this should go without saying, but you’d be surprised.

To find out more about doing business in emerging markets and digital marketing in a global context, you can read Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication. Get introduced to ebocube model, don’t struggle with trial and error approaches to global digital marketing.

Hard copy:

Kindle Version:


Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Localisation | 3 Comments

How Brands like Apple Could Be driving Higher ROMI

I recently wrote an article about using call to actions to measure and track the effectiveness of marketing and to report return on marketing investment (ROMI.)

The article mentioned how marketers often omit or poorly market call to actions in their advertising,  this is particularly true in above the line marketing (ATL), such as billboards.

Recently, exiting London’s Trains Station Paddington, I noticed that Apple are running a  campaign to promote their new iPad. In actual fact, I am considering purchasing the new iPad and so this advertising was relevant to me.  They are advertising using billboards, and I have also noticed they’re running TV adverts. Not low cost.

Their advertising covers several billboards beginning from the train station exit to the main road. The imagery is great, however, I noticed they haven’t included clear call to actions on their advertising, if any at all.

“Considering the latest iPad?”

The two disadvantages here are that, firstly, they’ve lost the opportunity to capture my data as a potential customer. They could have promoted an information campaign landing page, with a unique tracking friendly url, which I could have visited as a prospect to find out more. The page could have requested my contact data and wouldn’t it be great if they could have followed up with an email to move me along the buying cycle, enticing my consideration?

They could have promoted their Facebook fan page for the UK market, had I have seen the Facebook page url I could have joined it and they could have kept me engaged and their brand/ products relevant to me with regular updates in my newsfeed.

Secondly, Apple now have no idea that I saw their advertising. Perhaps the security cameras caught me snapping up these billboard adverts with my iPhone, see below! At best I could see the words “Connect from iTunes”.

I do adore Apple’s marketing, after all, what other company can entice consumers to queue for a product? Of course they are doing extremely well as a company and perhaps they have no shortage of marketing budget. I do believe many large organisations could track and measure the results of marketing effectively by using simple call to actions, particularly consumer brands. This would also enable them to build their customer databases and improve customer relationship management (CRM).

It really is as easy as ABC to track the effectiveness of marketing. Using call to actions is a great start!




Categories: Advertising, Budgeting, Global Marketing, ROMI | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Emerging Markets + the Internet = ebocube model


Emerging Markets + the Internet = ebocube model

Emerging markets refer to countries experiencing relatively recent industrial, political and technological change resulting in rapid economic growth. Emerging markets cover more than the BRICs, however; these countries are amongst the buoyant emerging giants.

Large populations generally characterize these markets, as is obvious with China and India. They tend to be dominated by young populations and rising middle classes.

As revenues plateau in saturated, developed markets, expansion into emerging markets is a popular means for reaching new growth targets. They were hit by the global recession, however; many remain in a robust growth position, but the endeavor involves uncertainty and risk.

Bringing the Next Billion People Online

Developed countries have long defined the Internet, however, at least 500 million new users of the Internet are expected to come from emerging markets from 2012 to 2015, according to Google. And the cyber-landscape is set to drastically change.

The Internet and social media were instrumental in facilitating the Arab Spring and have brought a new wave of Internet businesses and active users to the region.

China’s current online retail market size is second only to the United States and is predicted to explode over the next five years. (A.T. Kearney Retail e-Commerce Index of Emerging Markets)

Global Digital Era Transforming the marketing agenda

Senior executives in developed economies, working in organizations, small and large, are asking the following questions:

  • How can we get ahead of competitors in emerging markets?
  • How can our business mitigate risks when we enter risky, high-growth emerging markets?
  • How can we measure marketing activities and sales-related results in these markets?

 ebocube B2b digital marketing model

Foreseeing this need, international B2b Digital Marketing Manager Lara Fawzy developed the first tested end-to-end b2b Internet marketing model laid out in her book, Emerging Business Online: Global Markets and the Power of B2B Internet Marketing (FT Press, ISBN 13: 9780137064410, 291).

This robust framework is based on tested processes and results from Cisco, and other multinational experience.

It’s designed to provide B2b electronic customer relationship management (CRM) for global professionals.

It shows marketers how to plan, execute, track, measure and learn from global digital marketing. It demonstrates key marketing metrics in relation to the sales cycle; for the purpose of B2b lead generation, and how to measure them.

The model is called ‘ebocube’, which stands for emerging business online, with cube referring to the visual framework of the three-phase model.

The structure is low-cost, and has helped organisations to make significant cost savings and high return on marketing investment (ROMI); it’s a sustainable business-to-business global model, underpinned by the Internet.

ebocube model can be implemented with the following three phases:

Phase One: The Dashboard and the Datacube.

This phase focuses on reporting on marketing, sales, and company or contact data for the businesses being targeted in emerging markets. It measures what’s working (or not working) and which market is generating the highest return on marketing investment (ROMI). The datacube also represents the quality of contact data to leverage an eCRM strategy. These reports mean business decisions are not based on instinct or assumption, but on numbers and business intelligence.

Phase Two: Campaign and Data planning.

Using the ebocube commercial cycle (contact buying cycle/decision-making process and data life cycle), phase two discusses the proposition, messaging, the incentive, localization, budgeting, and integrating the media mix (online and offline) to achieve ebocube commercial cycle goals.

Phase Three: Marketing Operations or mops.

Phase three covers budgeting, planning, executing, tracking, and measuring campaigns to feed the dashboard with meaningful metrics. It also demonstrates how  to feed your company database, with contact and company data, which can be represented in the datacube. Phase three closes the loop on marketing, data, and sales in global markets.

ebocube model demystifies sales and marketing practices as relationships crisscross digital, business, and national borders.

Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing is concluded with this powerful quote:

“The previous generation of marketers used to say: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half ” (according to John Wanamaker). Today, in this innovative, global-information century and with ebocube business model, that excuse is obsolete. Because of marketing operations and the ebocube dashboard, it’s clear which part of our budget is being wasted. “

The time is now.

Categories: B2b, Emerging Markets, Global Marketing, Lead Generation | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Business growth from “Emerging Markets” and Internet Marketing

Emerging markets describe countries of the world with relatively recent industrial and technological change and now experiencing rapid economic growth.

Goldman Sachs popularized the acronym BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) to identify countries that many economists believe to be economically powerful in terms of current and future growth. These are the well-known, high potential emerging markets, but the term extends to countries in Africa, the Gulf, other countries in South America like Mexico and Europe too.

Each emerging market is unique, of course, and businesses need to approach them individually addressing their unique economic, market, business and consumer characteristics.

Large populations generally characterize emerging markets, as is obvious with China and India. They also tend to be dominated by young populations.

Whereas some of these markets remain politically and economically unstable, many other nations have through reform successfully stabilized their economies and normalized their trade practices.

Emerging markets  (130 countries and counting) comprise more than two-thirds of the global land mass. Most are rich in natural resources (in large part because their slow industrial and economic development has left their resources untapped) and host diverse industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, agriculture and tourism.

Outsourcing from developed markets

As corporations re-engineered their operations through global outsourcing and new market development, they also imported into “client” emerging market countries advanced expertise in finance and business processes, for example banks have outsourced operations, companies have outsourced call centers and manufacturing.

Global intermediaries such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) became more sophisticated in advising these nations on economic management.


Some emerging market nations have the potential to leapfrog developed markets because they are not slowed by legacy technologies. Japan (a “developed market”) became an advanced economy post World War II by leapfrogging technology developed by countries like the UK after the Industrial Revolution, amongst other factors. India has leapfrogged land- line telephony to become a mobile, wireless economy.

Emerging on emerging:

Many emerging markets are trading or partnering with other emerging markets, for example, China is penetrating markets and collaborating with specific industries in Africa.

Why they’re significant

These markets are even more significant now because of the economic slowdown in developed markets and general market saturation.

Even though developing markets are experiencing recessionary effects from the global financial crisis, many emerging market countries remain in a robust growth position. Growth will continue to come from emerging markets for the next 10 to 15 years at least, not only during this current recessionary period (in developed markets).

Economists have forecasted that China is soon to be the next superpower, by becoming the world’s largest economy, measured by gross domestic product (GDP).

With fast economic growth and transition, there’s a rise of middle classes in emerging markets, significant parts of the economy are rising up from poverty and are keen to purchase imported consumer products.

These consumers make good markets for companies struggling with declining sales in in developed markets.

The role of the Internet

The Internet has removed travel and time boundaries by allowing trade among markets in real time. The global reach of the Internet may be the most significant transformative development since the industrial age. As infrastructure and telephony bring Internet penetration to billions more of the world’s people over the next few years, the emerging markets phenomenon will be exponential. The Internet will become the major platform that allows the free flow of business activity, leveraged by applications and tools such as websites, video applications, social media, collaborative tools and mobile.

Companies in sluggish developed markets now have the potential to penetrate these markets with Internet marketing with lower risk and higher accuracy.

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.

Hard copy:

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Categories: Emerging Markets, Global Marketing | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

B2b Marketers rekindle the flame of your CFO this Valentine’s Day #ShowMeTheROMI


It stands for return on marketing investment. Quite simply if you want to rekindle the flame with the finance people this Valentine’s you ought to be discussing financial metrics with them; their language. Your number of retweets may be great for spreading a message, creating brand awareness, getting traffic to your e-commerce site even, but Retweets is not a figure the  Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can add to the profit and loss sheet. Retweets, shares, click-through rates, open rates, impressions,  bounce rates are not metrics that will save the board of directors’ jobs at a share holder’s meetings.

Investment vs expense:

Rather than complaining about marketing budgets being cut again, or that CMOs are still the first to go in a “restructure”, how about working to reposition marketing from being a cost to an investment? That’s what marketing should be today, with all of the metrics available to us with the power of digital, marketers should be able to identify what’s driving sales, leads, high response rates, traffic and conversions.


B2b sales/marketing cycle:

As B2b marketers we need to take buyers though the sales cycle, we need to target them with relevant content for each stage of the buying cycle. We do this with database marketing and looking at responses to previous campaigns.

Yes, it can take one or two quarters for sales to be closed, if not longer, however, that’s what we should be aiming to do with marketing eventually and we should be tracking this carefully. If deals are not closing, then perhaps we need to look at targeting our loyal segment  more often for further revenue, with highly targeted bespoke content. We need to take two different approaches when targeting loyal customers vs prospects with marketing campaigns.

Eventually we should be looking at B2b leads generated and opportunities closed, there are sophisticated tools, like Sales SFDC which can help to track this. Sales, leads, closed deals, revenue generated and profits are metrics that can help marketers to rekindle a flame with the finance people, we need to talk in terms of finance, revenue, to demonstrate return on marketing investment (ROMI) and to continue to receive investment in terms of budget.

The metrics which are represented in the higher end of the funnel above are informative to us as marketers and help us to generate the latter results, providing we are capturing contact data throughout the cycle with marketing communications we should be able to get the final end results of sales, leads and closed deals. I’m not saying that finance have no interest at all in these results, they can help to tell a story, however, their key performance indicators KPIs are based on financial metrics and they’re responsible for budget allocation.


You should place your metrics on the diagram above to determine their relevancy or value, you should also be capturing contact data for follow up at each stage or using your database to take contacts on the sales cycle journey. Learn to love metrics as a B2b marketer, but make sure they’re relevant, don’t swim in  a sea of metrics.

Marketing ans sales alignment 

In order to get some of these financial metrics we will rely on sales, there’s still a gulf between sales and marketing teams in many firms and marketing and sales teams need to work closer together to report ROMI.

It’s not easy

It’s not easy to demonstrate ROMI, it involves using campaign tools, regular reporting, campaign management tools.

There are several ways to align with sales:

  • keep sales well informed in advance before launching campaigns
  • Meet with sales after a campaign/event for a de-brief, feedback
  • Use incentives to encourage sales to report and follow-up on leads if all else fails
  • Regularly meet with sales teams and senior members
  • Communicate to sales and the organisation with regular e-newsletters


It’s not always easy to report ROMI, it takes time, however, every marketer should aspire to report it, with digital marketing this has been made significantly easier. It also involves working closely with other teams such as marketing I.T., sales, data marketers in large organisations, however, off-the shelf campaign management tools can help smaller companies to do this well too. Using good call to actions can help to generate ROMI.

To learn more about reporting on ROMI for B2b digital campaigns in a global context you can read:

Emerging Business Online, Global Markets and the Power of B2b Internet Marketing an New York FT Press Publication.

Hard copy:

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Categories: B2b, Budgeting, Global Marketing, Lead Generation, ROMI | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Your simple Localisation checklist for #GlobalMarketing

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.

Campaign Considerations

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:

Drop date:

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.

Exchange rate

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.

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5 Ways to grow your B2b #EmailList for #GlobalMarketing purposes

Email marketing

Email marketing alone is a powerful medium, combined with other communication channels, as part of an integrated campaign; it’s even more effective.

With all of the benefits of email, such as measurability, low costs, low risks, interactivity and being environmentally friendly, it’s also accepted and well received in various global markets as a marketing channel. If highly targeted, relevant and localised, it can generate high response rates and return on investment.

So even though your marketing budgets are being scrutinized and cut you can still grow your business. First, you’ll need to grow and store a high quality list of companies and contacts with email addresses for your new markets. This is pivotal to your email marketing strategy; there are two ways you can do this, organically or through acquisition.

Growing your email list organically

Localised sites

Email addresses and data can be organically acquired and captured via online channels such as localised websites, landing pages, banner advertisements on localised third party sites and popular local social media sites. Your sites or landing pages should request email addresses and opt-in permission on forms.

You can run campaigns on all of the above sites offering incentives for people to follow your call to actions, which should lead visitors to completing data captures forms. As a starting point forms should be brief, so as not to lose the contact, capturing the most basic information like: company name, contact name, email address, email marketing opt in permission and mobile number. Incentives such as localised free whitepapers or cool gadgets, like iPads, can be used to persuade contacts to provide their data for follow-up. Emerging markets have huge young populations and so cool gadgets, as incentives, work well; however, you want to ensure you’re capturing relevant, quality data too for further B2B marketing, not just contacts who want to win a prize.

You can test different offers by measuring the number and quality of responses captured in comparison to others used for different campaigns. Quality can be measured by tracking the number of leads generated from responses with call centre follow up, by reviewing the companies captured, and measuring responses to follow up campaigns.

As the data captured is self reported you’ll want to ensure the validity of data, you can do this by asking contacts to enter their emails twice, using automated format checks, or by sending confirmation links to the emails entered, checking to see if emails are valid.

Local tradeshows, sponsorships and conferences

Although online marketing works well in many global markets, traditional marketing is still very popular and together they complement each other and helping to create ROMI.

Whether you’re hosting, exhibiting or sponsoring a local event, they offer excellent opportunities, which shouldn’t be missed, for you to grow your database in global markets. With physical, live events, you’re already interacting with an audience who are interested in what you have to say; perhaps they’ve liaised with your sales team. Data captured at events therefore, is of high quality relative to other forms of data capture.

You can also accept business cards. Pre-event data can be captured by using localised registration sites when marketing your events. Alternatively, if you’re sponsoring the event, the organiser may be able to provide you with the data.

Virtual events also work well, you can capture data via registration pages for webcasts, which are great for offering contacts in global markets a chance to attend your events virtually; they’re also lower risk for you in comparison to physical events.

Above the line and print media

Advertising in localised magazines, brochures or on billboards are also a tool, you should ensure that call to actions drive contacts to online localised landing pages with data capture forms requesting email and opt in permissions, or to call centres, short phone codes can work well depending on the market, again use incentives to drive this behaviour.

Sales teams

Sales teams working with local markets will capture data for accounts perhaps via popular account management tools like Sales (SFDC), provided their contacts have given their email opt in permissions; they can be targeted with marketing messages.

Acquiring lists

Data brokers

Just 10 years ago it was difficult if not impossible to buy business marketing lists for emerging markets with email addresses; email lists are more common today for emerging markets and can be purchased through international data brokers or brokers based in local markets.


Quality sometimes needs to be validated for purchased lists. If you’ve purchased a list which has delivered a high bounce rate, you should probably not purchase from the same data broker in the future or request a refund. You may be able to request sample data and test it before purchasing an entire list for emerging markets.

Cleaning lists

Acquired lists for global markets can be “cleaned” by call centres in local markets, or by using call centres who hire agents, that can speak local languages, to improve and ensure accuracy.

Call centre agents can call contacts:

  • Checking for inaccurate, undeliverable email addresses and duplicate records
  • Checking for typos or spelling errors
  • Checking for obsolete records or data
  • Removing/flagging competitor contacts

All of the above depends on the brief to the call centre; the primary objective with this exercise is to increase reliability, relevancy and quality of the database. This will save you costs of wasted marketing efforts and time by reducing inaccurate data.
Emailing a contact in a new market on a newly acquired list, perhaps as an unrecognised company, may seem out of the blue for them, even if they’ve subscribed for “third-party email,” so you need to bear this in mind with your initial messages. If you’ve grown your database organically, contacts are likely to be more receptive to your messaging and familiar with your company.

You might get a quicker return on investment if you purchase a permission-based contact list for a new market instead of creating an integrated campaign to acquire home-grown or organic data which is typically built over a longer time-frame. If you have the budget you can do both.

Storing data for global markets

You’ll need to develop and maintain a database for new markets. In some markets you’ll collect data for contacts and companies in local languages, with local language characters i.e. non-Latin; your data warehouse should be capable of storing local language characters if that’s the case.

This consideration needs to be made at the planning stage of your business strategy; you’ll also need to involve IT to support this request or work with an outsourced international data management vendor to do this for you.

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 an New York FT Press Publication.

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So you think your company’s ready for #b2b #GlobalMarketing?

Going global with your B2b marketing and sales can be a great way to grow your company’s bottom line, however, there are many considerations before doing so.

An open mind:

Each new market is unique, with business practices that differ from companies in your own market. For example, time zones will impact working hours.

Is your company open to new ideas? How bureaucratic is your company? To implement marketing in a new market may require change management, organisational restructures, recruitment, and training. Senior managers should have international experience and knowledge (perhaps having worked or lived in an international market or worked directly with one). This is a core skill for future leadership in today’s global economy.

Cultural sensitivity:

Cultural sensitivity and awareness is also critical to successful global business prosperity; lack of sensitivity and understanding can be hugely damaging to relationships and therefore the bottom line.

Think Globally, Act Glocally

Being a global firm involves adapting to local country trends— glocalizing. Localization is the process of adapting or creating a marketing campaign for a specific country or region. A successfully localized campaign will appear to have been developed within the local culture or with the local market in mind. Remember, localization is not translation! The aim is not to deliver a literal interpretation of your message in the community, but to communicate it within the cultural awareness of the country and culture.

When launching any marketing campaigns in a new country, you have to spend time on localization so your campaign will be understood by local customers and won’t offend local culture. You must not only focus on what you want to communicate but also how it will be received in the marketplace. You will be required to invest part of your budget and time in localization because misunderstanding of local cultures can cause reputation damage and poor return on marketing investment (ROMI). Your local sales force, partners, or local marketing agencies should review any written copy or artwork to ensure that it will be understood and that it won’t offend the target audience. If your business does not have local partners, you might want to invest time in researching reputable marketing agencies with a target region that will have considerable understanding and knowledge of the local market. You might involve them when conceptualizing the proposition, incentive, and campaign. While translation technology now exists, it provides only literal conversion and does not take into consideration audience or culture sensibilities.

Business-to-business (B2B) case studies show that it’s not necessary to change your business brand name (e.g., Cisco, Microsoft, IBM, HSBC, Boeing) to succeed in new markets. However, you might localize sub-brands, service names, products, and definitely marketing campaigns and communications. Various consumer marketers have  localised exceptionally well over the years, and we advise you to learn from them and follow and adopt best practices. In some cases, global brands carry more prestige with new markets because some local markets consider imports to be better than locally produced products/services, and they benefit from the “country of origin” effect. Failure to research local cultures can prove costly and may force a company to withdraw from a region.


Before entering any new market, you need to consider whether you go it alone or work with or though partners or channels; the latter may be a way to lower investment and risk.


Public relations is an important tool  when entering global markets. It can help  to introduce your firm and build a reputation. It’s important to understand how the media works and to build relationships with the media or with media buyers. If your company can also afford media sponsorship (i.e., to sponsor a program), this can also be an effective way to establish your brand.


Consider co-branding. This can be done with online or offline campaigns. A local partner may already be recognized and established, and joint marketing can be an effective way to quickly raise awareness of your brand and build trust at a low-cost. If the partner’s brand is new or unrecognized, but is designed with local cultural understanding and insight, it may also benefit your brand, making it stronger and more trusted by local businesses. It’s important to ensure the co-branding will strengthen your brand values and what your company stands for. Be careful which partners you choose and associate your brand with to ensure that they adhere to your brand guidelines. It’s an extremely good idea to approve any collateral that they may create and provide them with brand guidelines. Ensure they have a trusted brand, or are a trusted company, so that you don’t damage your own company’s reputation.

Going global can be extremely rewarding, however, considering the above points before doing so could improve your success rate and lower your risk/costs. 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 an New York FT Press Publication.

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