Marie Stanikowski, Consultant
Getting lost in translation is very entertaining when it happens on film. Less so when it happens in European B2B communications.
Being a European B2B PR consultant in London, I speak to journalists and business contacts from across the continent on a daily basis, and I always notice that it’s those seemingly small national differences in ways of communicating that can have a big impact on business. So when the Marketo Marketing Nation Roadshow stopped in London last week, I was keen to hear about the latest Dos and Don’ts when reaching out to our Dutch, French, Italian, Spanish and German audiences. Because one thing is certain: Whilst we live in a small world today where people on the other side of the planet are a mere mouse click away, the pitfalls of getting your tactics, messaging and tone wrong when approaching an international audience are growing.
Research carried out by Sirius found that the majority of companies across Western Europe spent their marketing budget on the same five tactics (online banners, email, tradeshows, live events and direct mailing), even though they had a multitude of possible tactics at their fingertips.
When taking a closer look, contradictions became apparent: For example, most Dutch companies don’t think online banners are particularly effective, however still spend a big chunk of their Euros there!
Lesson 1: Don’t spend your money on tactics that don’t work for you! Carry out an in-depth analysis of what tactics have brought about the desired results in the past.
Lesson 2: Don’t be afraid to push the envelope! Try new tactics in European regions. Perceptions such as ‘webinars don’t work in Spain’ are outdated.
Seems obvious, but still gets ignored: If you don’t keep track of where you get your leads from and how you manage to convert them, you will not be able to work out that winning formula.
Lesson 3: Keep track of where you get your leads from and how you convert them!
What is true for marketing in general is all the more true for international marketing: Reach the customer at the right time, in the right place, with the right message, through the right channel that works in your specific market.
Lesson 4: A PR team that has strong relationships with the journalists, bloggers and influencers in your sector and, what’s more, speaks their language, will get your message across and have your audience take note – wherever they are.
So you’ve just had a long chat with a potential customer at your sector’s biggest trade show. What do you do? Pass the contact straight on to your sales team to follow up? Or do you ‘nurture’ the lead a little longer to make sure it’s a ‘hot’ lead with high potential for conversion?
Lesson 5: Make sure the marketing and sales teams agree on what an ‘opportunity’, a ‘lead’ or a ‘hot lead’ is and at which stage a lead is ready to be handed over to the sales team.