In my last post, I described some of the findings of a recent survey by Econsultancy (in association with Lionbridge) regarding the attributes and behaviors that separate top-performing global marketers from other organizations. In this research, Econsultancy defined top performers (“leaders”) as the 22% of survey respondents who described their organization as “highly proficient at global campaigns – consistently hitting targets and schedules.”
Among other things, Econsultancy found that leaders were better than non-leaders at understanding their customers and that leaders used more marketing channels effectively than non-leaders. The Econsultancy study also found that top-performing enterprises use a different approach to managing global marketing operations.
Academics and practitioners have debated the pros and cons of centralized vs. decentralized marketing for years. Each approach to marketing management has both advantages and disadvantages. Centralized marketing can provide greater control of brand messaging and more efficient marketing processes, but it often lacks the flexibility to reflect local market differences or the agility to react quickly to changing market conditions. A decentralized approach to marketing management can provide greater effectiveness and agility at the local level, but these benefits often come at the cost of brand consistency and operational efficiency.
The Econsultancy research found that top-performing global marketers blend elements of centralized and decentralized marketing in ways that maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of both models.
For example, Econsultancy found that top-performing global marketers prefer to create content locally. Forty-four percent of survey respondents from leaders said that all of their content is created locally, compared to only 10% of respondents from non-leaders. Econsultancy also found, however, that leaders were much more likely than non-leaders to require corporate approval of locally-developed content (72% vs. 32%)
The Econsultancy study also revealed that technology plays an important role in enabling top performers to blend the best aspects of centralized and decentralized marketing. Seventy-one percent of survey respondents from high-performing enterprises said that all marketing stakeholders in their organization use unified processes and technologies. Only 4% of respondents from non-leaders described their technologies as fully consistent for all stakeholders.
One clear benefit of consistent, enterprise-wide technology systems is speed. Almost 60% of leader respondents said that the cycle time from concept to delivery of their global marketing programs isdecreasing. Only 22% of respondents from non-leaders reported decreasing cycle time, and 35% of such respondents said that cycle time is increasing.
Having and using enterprise-wide marketing technologies is not the only thing that enterprises need for successful global marketing, but it’s clear that the right technology systems are critical for managing global marketing operations effectively and efficiently.