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Central control, local motivation Marketing in Europe Ten lessons on integrated business-to-business
Central control,
local motivation
Marketing in Europe
Ten lessons on integrated business-to-business

Europe is not a single market, but offers huge rewards to marketers who can get to grips with its complexities. Adopting a model of central control, whilst allowing local customisation through marketing automation, allows European marketers to design and implement successful multilingual and multi-channel business-to-business marketing campaigns.

A white paper by

Ledger Bennett

Published October 2011

and multi-channel business-to-business marketing campaigns. A white paper by Ledger Bennett Published October 2011
and multi-channel business-to-business marketing campaigns. A white paper by Ledger Bennett Published October 2011
1.0 European marketing Europe is unique. The linguistic, cultural and legislative diversity of its 50

1.0 European marketing

Europe is unique. The linguistic, cultural and legislative diversity of its 50 sovereign states is
Europe is unique. The linguistic, cultural and legislative diversity
of its 50 sovereign states is rich and varied.

The European Union (EU) has made great strides towards harmonising markets in its 27 member states. However, for the business-to-business marketer, the glory of Europe’s diversity can be a major headache. Marketing to multiple stakeholders typical in national BUSINESS-TO-BUSINESS supply chains is complicated enough. But working across European markets adds complexities of differing languages, customs, cultures and legislation. But, by understanding the challenges and creating campaigns centrally, whilst using local knowledge and marketing automation, marketers can use the following lessons to implement effective pan-Europe marketing strategies that exceed expectations.

marketers can use the following lessons to implement effective pan-Europe marketing strategies that exceed expectations.
marketers can use the following lessons to implement effective pan-Europe marketing strategies that exceed expectations.
marketers can use the following lessons to implement effective pan-Europe marketing strategies that exceed expectations.
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe 1 Europe is the world’s largest single market,

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe 1 Europe is the world’s largest single market, but
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe 1 Europe is the world’s largest single market, but

1 Europe is the world’s largest single market, but marketers can’t treat it as such

Despite its progress harmonising many standards and regulations to create a single European market, the European Union has not been able to harmonise language, national cultures and all marketing-related legislation. This means that, for the purposes of integrated business-to-business marketing strategies and campaigns, there are still several dozen markets to segment and target with different messaging, in multiple languages, via numerous channels and media.

EU members account for 27 of Europe’s 50 sovereign states. And running campaigns in just a dozen of those countries potentially requires a dozen different languages and channels. This has cost and control challenges that can only be overcome by integrated marketing. Business-to-business supply chains are often complex, with multiple influencers, specifiers and decision makers who have preferred communications channels and media. When the supply chain spans several countries, where prospects respond uniquely to variations of the marketing mix, campaign planning and implementation becomes hugely complex. To meet the challenges, marketers must take an integrated approach and use tools such as marketing automation.

complex. To meet the challenges, marketers must take an integrated approach and use tools such as
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 2 Balance central control and consistency with

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued

2 Balance central control and consistency with local customisation and knowledge

Planning and implementing integrated business-to-business marketing and communication campaigns across multiple territories have traditionally been beset by the central control verses local customisation conundrum. Clearly, having 50 different marketing operations to service each European state is neither cost effective nor accurately measurable. But a single central marketing

programme won’t be able to cater to the needs and expectations of local markets. What’s needed is a hybrid that delivers the best aspects of both models. So the solution to the conundrum is central control with local motivation.

In practice, that means marketers should manage and deliver campaigns centrally, whilst allowing local marketing teams a degree of customisation to suit the needs and expectations of their local markets. Those processes that benefit from central control and economies of scale, such as print buying or creative development, can be completed centrally. Those processes that will benefit from local knowledge, such as messaging or channel/media selection, can be customised at a local level.

3 Develop and deliver the creative element centrally, but seek local input

Having different creative teams working independently in different territories across Europe is not only costly, but also runs the risk of inconsistent branding and messaging. But not including ‘in-country’ marketing teams in the creative process can result in less effective campaigns, poor motivation and low acceptance of creative approaches. It can engender a feeling among local marketers that the central marketing function is forcing creative concepts on their markets. And some concepts deemed suitable for the host country of the central marketing function may be inappropriate, offensive or even illegal elsewhere.

Engaging local teams in the creative development process can empower and motivate local marketing, ensuring messaging remains consistent, campaigns stay focused, and brands are not diluted. Input from all marketing offices into creative development reduces the risk of pulling a campaign because it is not appropriate for a specific country. It also improves the implementation phase, and ultimately the result, because local marketers will have a deserved sense of ownership.

the implementation phase, and ultimately the result, because local marketers will have a deserved sense of

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued

4 Understand your business-to-business targets in Europe

Compared to consumer markets, business-to-business audiences are smaller, often with complex supply chains that contain many influencers, specifiers and decision makers. Major business-to-business product and service providers typically have operations across multiple territories and draw on a supply chain that could be located in yet more European states. So a business-to-business campaign may be required to target multiple stakeholders with specific messages, across many territories, in different languages, with variable cultural norms, and while using a wide variety of marketing tactics, channels and media. A profound understanding of the target market is essential.

The relative maturity of a typical business-to-business market adds a further level of complexity. Commonplace and accepted terminology and channels in one country with a mature supply chain may not be appropriate for a younger, still developing market in another territory. An integrated European marketing campaign might have to account for the differing roles in the decision-making process, messages, locations, languages, cultures, marketing tactics and maturity of market. That’s seven variables for a start.

messages, locations, languages, cultures, marketing tactics and maturity of market. That’s seven variables for a start.
messages, locations, languages, cultures, marketing tactics and maturity of market. That’s seven variables for a start.
messages, locations, languages, cultures, marketing tactics and maturity of market. That’s seven variables for a start.
messages, locations, languages, cultures, marketing tactics and maturity of market. That’s seven variables for a start.

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued

5 Marketing to a foreign country? Get the basics right

Many campaigns have failed because they failed to take into account the basics; things like: location, language, culture, customs, local legislation and the local business context. Choosing to run a marketing event on a public holiday unique to a target country, or failing to take into account local telemarketing laws, dooms a campaign to failure from the outset. And trying to cut corners by using low cost-

translators or a cheap mailing house can instantly ‘switch off’ the sophisticated business-to-business buyers, specifiers and influencers being targeted.

European marketers can also come unstuck if they choose to ignore variations in marketing laws. Although the EU is working hard to harmonise legislation across member states, there remains significant variation when it comes to marketing and privacy. Plus, many target-rich European markets are not part of the European Union, and take a variety of legislative approaches. So, whilst most marketers would consider knowledge of laws on cookies, direct mail, telemarketing and privacy to be fundamental, these are so varied across Europe as to need local input to ensure ‘the basics’ are correct from the outset.

6 Central buying and design for central production with local customisation is cost effective

One of the major advantages of centralising design and procurement is the potential cost savings through economies of scale. But adopting a ‘one size fits all’ marketing approach for a dozen European nations won’t deliver the required results, because what works extremely well in one country may turn off prospects in another. But it is possible to cost effectively design and buy centrally, while still allowing local teams to customise marketing collateral according to each markets’ needs and expectations.

IT-based marketing automation tools can help create websites with consistent structures and messaging across multiple languages. Careful design planning can result in substantial catalogues where the layout and imagery is common, with well-translated copy dropped into the design. Templates can be created so that brand, creative and core messaging is consistent across every market, yet local marketing teams may customise them to include local messaging. The ‘local’ versions can then be ordered via the central marketing function’s online procurement tools. This allows every part of the marketing campaign to take advantage of preferred suppliers with preferential rates.

tools. This allows every part of the marketing campaign to take advantage of preferred suppliers with
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 7 Tailor central support according to local

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued

7 Tailor central support according to local need

The competence and resourcing of local marketing functions can be highly variable. For example, a business-to-business marketing operation may include large and experienced teams serving the UK and Germany, but a single part-time resource based in Budapest might be responsible for all of Eastern Europe and the Balkans. These local marketing teams will have very different needs and the level of control and support from the centre should be tailored accordingly.

The UK and Germany may only require the creation of templates from the central marketing function to be customised and delivered consistently and cost effectively in each country by the local teams. The part-time marketing resource in Budapest won’t have the resources or expertise for local delivery across a dozen Eastern European and Balkan states. So it will look to the central marketing resource not only for brand, creative and messaging direction, but also for local implementation throughout the territories for which it is responsible.

8 Use marketing automation to control and implement cost-effective campaigns

European integrated business-to-business marketing campaigns are highly complex. A typical campaign may be targeting multiple stakeholders across several countries using a number of marketing tactics. The level of local resourcing and competence can vary widely, and local implementation from the centre is likely to be required. Marketers can cost effectively address these challenges using marketing automation. In fact, for some campaigns, using marketing automation may be the only cost-effective route to achieving the campaign objectives.

Marketing automation typically offers marketers a number of sophisticated online tools. These can be used to create and deliver campaigns with consistent creative, branding and messaging that can be tailored according to channel, media and language. It allows the centre to retain control, yet potentially allows delivery to be managed locally with the advantages of ‘in-country’ market knowledge. Equally, in territories with no or low marketing resource, the centre can implement locally and marketing automation can allow for variations in language, legislation, culture, customs, tactics and messaging.

and marketing automation can allow for variations in language, legislation, culture, customs, tactics and messaging.
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 9 Measure from the centre, share with

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 9 Measure from the centre, share with the

9 Measure from the centre, share with the network, adjust campaigns accordingly

It is notoriously difficult to accurately measure business-to-business marketing campaigns being run independently across multiple territories. Of course it is possible to track and measure simple metrics like sales, but deeper insights about the effectiveness of each campaign are lost. By measuring the effectiveness of campaigns from the centre, it is possible to track much more. For example, results may show that business-to-business buyers in Germany are responding better to telephone calls than emails. Or marketers might find that UK specifiers don’t respond well to tailored URLs, whereas Spanish influencers do.

Such market insights can be incredibly powerful. They can significantly increase the effectiveness of integrated business-to-business campaigns across European states. But without central control and measurement, crucial insights can be lost. Equally, the centre must share these insights with local marketing teams and networks, and apply the lessons when creating and evolving integrated European marketing strategies and campaign plans. Marketing automation enables marketers to run campaigns with consistent messaging that can be communicated using multiple tactics, channels and media tailored to each target segment’s specific needs.

that can be communicated using multiple tactics, channels and media tailored to each target segment’s specific
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 10 Use marketing automation to control and
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 10 Use marketing automation to control and
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 10 Use marketing automation to control and
2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued 10 Use marketing automation to control and

2.0 Ten lessons on marketing in Europe continued

10 Use marketing automation to control and implement cost-effective campaigns

Table 1 shows a simplified business-to-business supply chain for the purchase and

installation of air conditioning into a US corporation’s facility based in France. This simple example, which is typical of a European business-to-business integrated marketing campaign, demonstrates the potential complexity of marketing a relatively simple product

to

this supply chain. Each stakeholder has different information requirements and wants

this information in their preferred media, language and channel.

The marketer working on behalf of the air conditioning manufacturer must create five different messages that still retain brand consistency. The messages must be translated into French and German and edited in UK and American English. A micro-campaign must be created and implemented to deliver that message to each stakeholder group. The UK-based architect wants data on codes sent by email. The French installer wants the hard-copy installation guide mailed, and expects a French postmark. The US client

wants an iPad app that will provide corporate responsibility data, including a tool that will calculate emissions and performance data. The local marketing teams will play

a role in implementation. Without rigorous planning and tools such as marketing

automation, running a campaign like this cost effectively would simply not be possible.

Table 1: Buying air conditioning for a European facility of a US corporation

 

Architect

Contractor

Installer

Facilities manager

Client

         

Corporate

Wants to know

Compliance

Quality

Instruction

Cost

responsibility and

sustainability

Preferred media

Desktop PC

Smartphone

Hardcopy

Laptop PC

Tablet

Role in decision- making process

Specifier

Buyer

Influencer

Specifier/influencer

Influencer

Location

UK

Germany

France

France

USA

Language

UK English

German

French

French

American English

Tactic/channel

Email

Telemarketing

Brochure and

PDF and

iPad App

Manual

Interactive tool

English Tactic/channel Email Telemarketing Brochure and PDF and iPad App Manual Interactive tool
4.0 Conclusion Integrated business-to-business marketing across Europe is a complex undertaking. Extended
4.0 Conclusion
Integrated business-to-business marketing across Europe is a
complex undertaking. Extended business-to-business supply
chains typically have multiple stakeholders, each having different
needs and expectations. Marketing to them effectively can be
costly. Adding variations of language, culture, custom and
legislation in turn adds further levels of complexity and cost.
However, by adopting central control via online marketing automation tools,
and incorporating local influence and input, hugely complex campaigns become
cost effective, achievable and measureable. The European business-to-business
market presents a huge opportunity to marketers able to cost effectively market
and sell to business buyers. The challenges are steep but, by taking on board
these ten lessons, even the most complex pan-European integrated marketing
campaigns can be implemented with outstanding results.

Ledger Bennett

 

Ledger Bennett is a leading integrated business-to-business (B2B) marketing agency.

Formed in April 1985, it is centrally located near Milton Keynes in the United Kingdom and employs thirty specialists. Together, they offer focused B2B marketing solutions for the promotion of products, services and companies across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

As a full service EMEA marketing agency, Ledger Bennett provides clients with marketing, creative, media and public relations consultancy, together with the skills involved in the execution and monitoring of complex, co-ordinated campaigns.

 

To find out more about creating and implementing effective integrated B2B marketing strategies and campaign plans, please contact us.

Call:

+44 (0) 845 8383883

Email:

info@ledger-bennett.co.uk

Web:

www.ledger-bennett.co.uk

Visit us:

Ledger Bennett plc Tungsten House Warren Road Little Horwood Milton Keynes MK17 0NR United Kingdom

 
 

First published in October 2011 by Ledger Bennett plc.

©2011 Ledger Bennett plc. All Rights Reserved.

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