Posts Tagged ‘Western Europe’

Global versus local: how do you get the messages right?

September 16, 2009

Some people melt over images of dogs; others recoil.  But, there is apparently a wide range of reactions in between.  And, one of HSBCs airport ads expresses it well.  Not only are there different emotional reactions to images: images also evoke different meanings for people.  An HSBC ad in Heathrow Airport in London shows a simple image of a pug (those small dogs with the wrinkled up faces) with three words: alarm clock, companion, accessory.    Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture.  I only wrote down the words.  Fortunately, I did that.  As I was describing it to someone without looking at my notes, I included “nuisance” among the words — guess that’s says something about what the picture meant to me.

SaaSreasons

(Click for a full-sized version)

The point of all of this is that marketing messages and images speak differently to different audiences.  Crafting messages that resonate best with a specific target audience requires localization.  For B2B audiences, it helps to know what the business drivers are for the audience: what are the goals of the company, what are the objectives set for specific organization, what are the things that keep the boss up at night.  For example, IT decision-makers across different regions adopt software as a service (versus purchasing licenses of a product) for a variety of reasons.  Understanding those reasons helps to determine the messaging that would resonate best with those decision-makers.  The data suggest cost-efficiency and ROI messages for some regions — North America and Western Europe— and time-to-market and competitive advantages in others — Asia Pacific and Middle East, Africa and Russia.

Global marketing also requires a degree of consistency.   How do you strike that balance?  My new report — Get the B2B Messages Right: Balance Global Consistency And Local Relevancy — discusses the challenge of getting the global messages right for local audiences, and provides some recommendations for how to do it.

Where are tech buyers getting their information?

September 3, 2009

Just wanted to call attention to a couple of new Forrester reports.   I’ve started drilling into the Four Ps — mostly on the promotion front.  Here are a few highlights:

“Vive La Difference” looks at how buyers across North America and Europe inform their purchasing decisions — looking at both how they interact with and leverage social media and which information sources they prefer.  News flash: business buyers do use social media to inform their business decisions.  The results show that tech buyers are more socially active than the overall adult population, and they are using social media tools for work purposes.  But, that use is not consistent across countries.  More technology buyers in France and Germany spend time creating content — likely reflecting language differences and the need for local language content. More respondents in France and Germany also review, rate, or comment on social content.  North American respondents use more social media for work purposes; of all, French respondents were the least likely to use social media for work purposes.

Looking at both traditional and social information sources, there were commonalities and differences.  All respondents rely first and foremost on their peers and colleagues for information.  Beyond that, though, information sources differ across countries.  Some of the most striking differences are between our French and German respondents: The second most significant source of information for German respondents is industry events, trade shows, and conferences; for the French respondents, their direct sales person was their No. 2 source. For tech marketers, the message is clear: Participate in German trade shows and invest in French sales competence and collateral in France.

Following that first regional look at information sources — or marketing vehicles — we took a broader look beyond just mature markets to include emerging markets as well.  The landscape in emerging markets is even more complex. Unlike mature markets, there is no clear No. 1 information source common across emerging market countries. Social media sources rank much higher in emerging markets than in mature markets — but not always the same tools. Overall rankings show that in aggregate across emerging markets the highest ranked sources are only used by a little more than half of respondents (52%) — unlike their peers in North America and Western Europe, where there was a resoundingly common No. 1 source. However, in most emerging markets, social media sources fall into the top 10 — with some as high as No. 3 in Vietnam, No. 4 in China, and No. 5 in Chile. Tech marketers take note: The common thread across emerging markets is not a specific source but rather a greater reliance on new social media to inform IT purchasing decisions.