The Tough Decisions Of The Global Marketer

If you think planning and launching a digital campaign in the U.S. marketplace is complex and even bewildering sometimes, what it takes to do global digital advertising will make your head spin. Just like here, there is fragmentation -- of devices and content, of agency and technology vendor capabilities, of opportunities for reaching the right audience at the right time in the right place.  But then there are also language, dialects, cultural sensitivities, and local digital media offerings. Yes -- a global CMO might now be able to communicate like never before with any connected individual in the world, but only after selecting from an infinite number of labyrinthine approaches. No one can see the plethora of possible options at once or easily discern a single clear way forward. 

The promise of the Web is that everything is inherently global. But for CMOs, navigating strategically with purpose and a budget is significantly more difficult. Wading through the “world-wide Web” of advertising technologies, consumer preferences and screens and achieving simplicity may be the greatest global marketing challenge of today.



I have heard these issues from executives who oversee global brands and from those who run digital media business at disparate corners of the globe. I have also marveled at the success stories -- how some brands have cherry-picked the perfect ways to bring big ideas to life on a global scale. We can all learn from them.

Most recently, these issues came to the fore at the IAB Global Summit, where 80 digital leaders from 27 countries met to strategize global digital media growth. Mark Renshaw, chief innovation officer of Leo Burnett, said when brands are looking to cross borders with digital media, doing one thing and doing it well is preferable to doing anything and everything everywhere. B. Bonin Bough, VP of global media and consumer engagement of Mondelez International, advocated a definitive mobile-first approach, as he shared his company's intent to dedicate 10 percent of its budget to mobile.

Two recent global success stories highlight the value of reduction, selectivity, and simplicity. The innovative Small World Machines” campaign by The Coca-Cola Company, which won Best in Show at the IAB MIXX Awards, is a particularly fine example of excellence through precision. The company placed two vending machines equipped with 3D touchscreens and streaming video capability in two major malls -- one in Pakistan and one in India. Although they were separated by hundreds of miles and decades of political strife, consumers from both countries could stand face to face and interact through shared gestures such as drawing a peace sign together on the touchscreen or toasting with a pair of Cokes, or moving with abandon in their different traditional dance forms. Selectivity defined the effort: two countries, one execution, a very basic user experience, and the universally understood brand message that happiness brings people together. In the end, the impact of the campaign was felt around the world. While just about 700 connections were made across the border during the live 3-day event, in the first week of the campaign, it resulted in more than 58 million earned media impressions and increased worldwide mentions of Coke or Coca-Cola within Tweets by 25 percent.

Another example is the Burberry Kisses campaign, in which users from around the globe could send loved ones letters sealed with image of their real kiss through a Burberry branded experience. The case study explains that the campaign explores the universal theme of love through the kiss -- "one of the most iconic and personal symbols of human emotion." Kisses traveled more than 100 million miles in the first week. Click here to see a map of all the affection sent around the world.

Whether it's defining standards, selecting the right interactive experience, or globalizing brand messaging, the challenge is to make the artful but tough decisions. Marketers must identify the specific tools, platforms, and messages that will deliver exactly what consumers want in the simplest way possible -- chiseling away at all of the opportunity and noise, like a sculptor, to allow the right final creation to emerge. The hardest thing to be is simple.

1 comment about "The Tough Decisions Of The Global Marketer".
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  1. Steve Schildwachter from BrightStar Care, December 6, 2013 at 10:50 a.m.

    Great article, David. Two thoughts:

    1- Go back upstream to what the brand stands for and make sure there is a clear, simple idea.

    2- Let consumers do the some of work via social media.


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