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European Marketing – Adapting to Local Trends

May 03, 2016 | By Isabel Montesdeoca

  • Global marketers have difficulty gaining access to actionable intelligence that can help them understand how to localize their campaigns for Europe
  • See three best-in- class examples of how marketers in Europe are adapting their approach to match local trends
  • Organizations should encourage marketers to capture and share information on local trends with global peers

In the first blog post of this series, I examined four categories of geographic variations – market, procedural, demand creation and cultural – that together shape the job of a European marketer. Although we refer to Europe as a region, it’s clear each country has its own local trends. It can be difficult, however, for marketers based outside Europe to convert knowledge of local trends into actionable intelligence that can be used to localize global campaigns for maximum regional impact. In the final post of this series, I’ll present three examples of how best-in-class marketers in Europe are localizing their messaging and approach to fit in with local trends.

Euros

  • United Kingdom (U.K.). In the U.K., organizations are shedding management layers and becoming flatter, with more autonomy delegated to regional teams and managers. Flatter structures can result in overlapping responsibilities between business units, making targeting the right decisionmakers harder for marketers. Furthermore, instead of adhering strictly to formal job titles, organizations are merging or coining new job titles when creating a new role. Best-in-class marketers in the U.K. have adapted to this reality by ensuring their contact profiling activities go beyond capturing job title and department to include questions on reporting lines, scope of authority and initiatives. Some marketers are going one step farther by tagging U.K. industries undergoing a high rate of organizational change. This level of intel provides marketers with the opportunity to tailor their message specifically for managers leading the change.
  • France. In France, organizations have a traditional vertical hierarchy. Although functional leaders hold decisionmaking authority, they regularly solicit input and opinions from employees at all levels and seek to understand prospective vendor before engaging in a business conversation. Best-in-class teleprospectors in France have adapted to this reality by adopting a bottom-up approach to lead nurture. They invest time in developing relationships with key influencers at multiple levels of the organization, with the intent of gathering intel and raising awareness. Once they’ve established these relationships, they make an appointment to speak with the functional leader. This approach allows teleprospectors to speak knowledgeably about the organization’s issues, as well as demonstrate familiarity with the individuals to whom the leader regularly turns for input.
  • Germany. In Germany, organizations regularly engage internal and external subject matter experts (SMEs) to act as advisors during a buying cycle. Their expertise and thorough knowledge of their particular area of work is respected, and involving them early on is seen as a way to reduce the inherent risk involved in a buying decision. Best-in-class marketers in Germany have adapted to this reality by partnering with local professional associations that provide access to these valued SMEs. By becoming active in these associations, marketers are able to raise the awareness of their offerings within these influential communities and give SMEs exclusive access to tailored resource libraries through which they can learn more.

Capturing the Knowledge

Best-in-class organizations are encouraging local marketers to document regional trends and share them with their global peers. This practice enables everyone on the marketing team to support localization efforts. Existing persona profiles can provide an excellent place to capture these variations. While creating a comprehensive localization strategy will take time and investment, you can start by focusing on just a few trends per market. Even a small investment here can yield substantial improvements in marketing response rates.

If you have a great example of a regional trend and how you adapted your approach to match it, we’d love to hear from you. Post a comment below to share with us what you did and how successful it was!

Want to learn more? Join us at Summit Europe in London this September.

Isabel Montesdeoca

Isabel Montesdeoca is the Director of EMEA Research at SiriusDecisions. Isabel is an experienced European sales and marketing leader with an insatiable curiosity about how businesses can improve their b-to-b demand creation efforts. With more than 25 years of experience at companies both large and small in roles ranging from marketing and sales to product leadership, Isabel brings a unique perspective to the need for marketing, sales and product strategic alignment as an essential catalyst for business growth. Follow Isabel on Twitter @mimdeoca.