I just got back from a three-month assignment in Asia for Intel. The key objectives of my trip were to guide the regional marketing teams to create their own business marketing strategy and to understand regional and country needs.
It turned out that their approach to business marketing has been very much aligned with that of headquarters; the only thing I had to do was to help them create a deck to present their ideas and strategies better. I ended up spending a lot time understanding their markets, challenges and plans. Here are three key takeaways:
- Create global go-to-market plan - Regional and country teams want strategic direction from headquarters. They want to know who is the target audience, how much money and resources will they receive, when is the major product launch, what is the creative concept, and why their customers should be interested. They want to know about corporate priorities, so leadership from headquarters is absolutely essential.
- Give geos freedom - Delivering global go-to-market plans doesn't mean telling regions what to do and how to do it. Once the plan is communicated, headquarters needs to trust geos and give them the freedom to execute. Geos may not follow headquarters' strategy and creative 100%, but corporate needs to understand why they are choosing a different strategy and what unique local conditions they are factoring into their decision. On this trip I learned to see their marketing plans through “local” lenses and to acknowledge that sometimes what plays in Boise just doesn't work in Taipei.
- 3. Provide messaging and content - In addition to resource, funding and strategic guidance, the elements most needed are messaging and content. Geos would like headquarters to provide raw messaging and positioning of products to serve as a starting point for localization and translation. By talking to them, I also realized that different geos prefer their content delivered in different formats. To address this, I recommend that corporate provide a standard set of content such as videos, solutions briefs and case studies, while allowing the geos to localize and tune the content to their specific regional tastes and needs.
I also noticed that each country's marketing execution is different. One country may work with solution providers to reach the target audience, while another country may choose to dial up on advertising to talk to the target audience directly. The challenge for me is to understand the common threads among countries to provide sensible strategic guidance and create relevant content for them.