Global marketing is always evolving. The borders are disappearing between business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) market distinctions. We are all brands and even as consumers, we’re all in business.
With the growth of the Internet and digital business, the landscape has changed significantly on how we connect with our customers and communities and how far we can reach prospects and gain new customers. To reach international audiences, we have to continue to create new content and ways to connect and keep the thread of localization close to the heart of the marketing plan. Reaching global customers means adapting marketing messages and methods to be local, everywhere and anywhere.
Top 10 trends for B2B global marketing in 2015
TREND #1: STORYTELLING. Telling a good story is a great way to establish your brand and persuade someone to ultimately buy your product or service. We’re saturated with online information so you won’t be heard unless you tell a good tale. Create sticky stories and memories and attach humor, intrigue and emotion to your brand stories as well as facts and figures.
TREND #2: CONTENT SHARING. Creating marketing content and collateral is not enough. You have to make that content searchable and “click-worthy”. If you have created a great value-driven marketing script that is a must read, then make sure it gets placed in all the right channels with all the right components that is worth sharing. In today’s social online world, we want to share the best stories and messages.
TREND #3: FLEXIBILITY. As marketers, we have to be more flexible and open to new ways of communication. When social media emerged, many marketers thought this was form of communication was primarily for the B2C markets; however, these channels are emerging as key ways to reach and listen to B2B customers all over the world. Marketers have to keep evolving, developing and learning new skills to get the message out.
TREND #4: MASTERING MOBILE. Delivering marketing content and product information to customers on the go via smartphones and tablets is crucial to marketing success. A United Nations report, published in 2013, stated that six of the world’s seven billion people have mobile phones. Marketers have to develop multi-device and platform strategies. We have to consider the format and layout of content, if people are accessing it via a mobile platform. When developing source content for mobile, we must also consider how translation will impact the content. Using mobile platforms to distribute content is certainly key for the future of global marketing.
TREND #5: MARKETING AUTOMATION TOOLS. The ultimate goal of global marketing is increased sales and revenue. Measuring and monitoring global marketing campaigns can be tricky – science doesn’t always want to sit in the same car as creativity. Good marketing automation tools can really help track and measure the success of global marketing campaigns and provide a solid bridge between sales and marketing. Marketing automation tools allow you to manage and nurture leads from campaigns, measuring impact and ROI.
TREND #6: INTERRELATED DIGITAL STRATEGIES. Global content campaigns now have to be represented and supported by a large, growing family of tools and publishing channels: social media, websites, landing pages, video, email, events and featured content like white papers and case studies. Digital B2B content has to be unified, consistent and appropriate to all targeted audiences and geographies. Marketing campaigns can be costly therefore you want maximum impact and ROI. It is crucial that the messaging appears consistent across all online channels. That also means the right messaging in the right language.
TREND #7: HUMANIZING CONTENT. B2B campaigns have to target humans not organizations. Heavy duty corporate-speak messages and campaigns are on the way out. Even B2B decision makers want to be entertained. It is OK for B2B campaigns to have an element of fun as long as key facts and information still remain. Thanks to digital and the Internet, we consume information in a different way now. We have lower attention spans. We demand smaller, bite sized pieces of content, published more regularly. Brand stories and marketing messages must reflect that. For localization, this means a more agile, close relationship to the global marketing department.
TREND #8: EXTENDING BOUNDARIES. Use digital media channels to reach new customers and global markets. We don’t have to buy expensive real estate every time we set up shop in a new country or market. We can use the power of the Internet to reach new customers with targeted global marketing content and campaigns. Global marketers need to know who their customers are and adapt brand and marketing messages to suit the language and culture.
TREND #9: BRAND AMBASSADORS. Everyone can publish content, upload photos and videos. Words and images are currency in today’s digital world. Even Barack Obama and the Queen of England are on Twitter. Harness the power of your organization to all become great content marketers. If well-managed, every employee is a potential brand ambassador, even if it’s a quick tweet from the CMO on the latest company blog or new infographic.
TREND #10: SOCIALIZING. No marketing run down is complete without a special mention to social media – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Instagram, Flickr and the thousands of other media outlets. We could not have predicted the meteoric rise of social media and the impact it has had on consumers, marketing and the world. It’s hard to say exactly where it will go next. With B2B and B2C marketing becoming closer, social media will continue to be a key communication platform for global marketers. Whatever shape or form, social media is here to stay, especially as we enter the Internet of Things. From a localization perspective, the challenge is the sheer volume of social media content that people can read all over the world.
Share with me what you think are the top trends to watch in 2015?
Louise Law is Global Communications Manager at Welocalize