CMOs need to create 'glocal' brands to win customers

Paige Murphy
By Paige Murphy | 14 August 2019

International brands need to go "glocal" and present better localised marketing efforts to win customers, according to a study by the international CMO Council and Worldwide Partners. 

The survey of more than 350 global CMOs revealed 63% of marketers are dissatisfied with their current localisation efforts, admitting they struggle to deliver contextual experiences to reflect local language, behaviour and cultural preferences.

Most (80%) senior marketers believe they are not prepared to fulfil the needs of customers who value accountability, security, always-on service and culturally aligned brand experiences.

The report, Reshaping Global Engagement Structures, shows CMOs are suffering from "FOMO" – fear of missed opportunities – as customers seek more localised and personalised experiences that are relevant to their own cultural context.

The report shows only 10% of brand leaders are feeling very confident they will be able to reach their customer engagement and revenue goals.

John Harris, CEO Worldwide Partners, says solving the localisation gap is a matter of structure, not intent.

“Marketers want customer-centric solutions on a global scale, but they cannot get there with a centralised strategy and top-down approach that prioritises standardisation over localisation," Harris says.

"They need to structure for market-inspired experiences in order to deliver personalised, contextualised and culturally relevant experiences effectively and efficiently. Otherwise they’ll miss opportunities, undermine brand perception and compromise business results."

The report, which looks into global operational structures, reveals that marketing operational structures may actually be keeping the customer and brand apart .

It investigated three specific operational structures: fully centralised (27%), fully decentralised (30%) and hybrid structures (30%) with local teams executing on strategies from a centralised leadership group.

The hybrid model appeared to be the most beneficial to creating a localised approach with those working within the structure citing the top three benefits as a heightened understanding of the local customer, a crystal-clear understanding of strategy and goals, as well as heightened efficiency that optimises impact of spend.

In the study, marketers admitted that they are missing the localisation mark before campaign deployment by engaging in the dark.

82% of marketers say local market intellegence is just "OK" with 10% admitting their local intelligence is actually highly deficient.

More than half (57%) of marketers believe the lack of localised intelligence has had a negative impact on their ability to drive more profitable relationships and execute more successful campaigns.

Liz Miller, SVP of marketing with the CMO Council, says chief marketers embarked on organisational transformation in the name of efficiencies.

“Modern CMOs must now refine that transformation in the name of the customer,” Miller says.

“We fought hard to bring rigour and accountability to operations. Now we are asking old processes and operational structures to align with a customer that doesn’t see silos or functions. They just understand their own context and reality, steeped in culture and spoken in their own language.”

The 62-page report is based on a pulse of over 350 senior global marketing leaders conducted via interviews and an online survey in the first and second quarter of 2019.

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