Every marketing team in every organisation is having to deal with a furious pace of change in all areas of business.

Customer behaviour, technology, media, data analysis, the way we connect and interact with one another and companies… All these trends are evolving exponentially, but not necessarily at the same speed or in the same way in every territory.

This creates many challenges for marketers with a global remit.

We explore this issue in our latest survey, The Global Conversation: How international brands manage customer engagement produced in association with Lionbridge.

The survey of more than 325 international marketing organizations, focuses on the key differences between organizations leading the way, and those that follow. 

Let’s take a look at some of the key insight and guidance from the report, paying particular attention to trends in global engagement.

Please note, in this report we are seeking to learn from organisations that are most successful at managing global marketing campaigns. Therefore we have segmented out the leaders, the 22% of the sample that most consistently hits financial targets and timelines for international marketing. 

Trends in global engagement

To gauge their respective impact we asked our respondents: “Which marketing trends are changing the way you engage with global customers?”

We then asked whether the effects of those trends were positive or negative…

The most significant variations here reveal how leaders have invested differently from the rest of the industry. 

The rest of the industry (or the mainstream) are much more likely to cite ‘increasingly mobile audiences’ and the ‘rising demand for personalisation’ as paying the price for not investing in tools and capabilities that address these areas.

Although most organisations are feeling the effects of digital trends, those effects are varied.

Marketing leaders very likely see those trends as having a benefit to their global customer engagement, while the rest of the industry has mixed feelings.

Leading companies are more agile than the rest of the industry. In every case, they see trends as more positive than negative. While the mainstream struggles on a number of fronts, leaders are generally able to take advantage of emerging trends.

Content marketing

One exception is the rise of competition in content marketing. 

Even for leading organisations this presents a particular challenge, because content has until recently been the hidden secret of digital marketing success. When done well, content marketing can transcend borders and sometimes language, playing a powerful role in international marketing campaigns.

Not surprisingly, companies with strong digital marketing practices have led the way in the use of content but now find themselves with increasing competition as the rest of their sectors get involved. 

The issue is even more acute for the rest of the sample, 60% of whom are feeling the effects of content competition.

Personalisation

Consumer expectations have been driving marketing innovation for some time. One area is personalisation, a strength for leaders but clearly a challenge for the rest of the industry. 

It can be argued that personalisation is especially vital in the context of global marketing. Personalisation techniques can help serve and direct respondents wherever they’re from, optimising not only language and dialect, but also a host of other important variables including content, media, channel and demographic factors.

Used properly, personalisation can be a strategic capability that helps marketing organisations overcome some of the challenges presented by global marketing.

For more in-depth analysis of the survey, download the full report: The Global Conversation: How international brands manage customer engagement.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 8 June, 2015 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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