by Katharina Rath
A quick search on LinkedIn returns around 5 million results for general Marketing Managers, with a quarter categorised as European Marketing Manager and over 300,000 as EMEA Marketing Managers. Most international companies consider Europe and the EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) region one geography: as they expand, they put a manager in charge of the marketing for the whole region. Additionally, B2B marketers typically have lower budgets available than their B2C counterparts. This poses a challenge for the B2B marketers in charge: how can they do justice to this heterogeneous market? The three most important points are outlined below.
Understand your markets and set priorities
There are 23 officially recognised languages across the European Union and this must be taken into consideration. It is essential to know which countries you would like to run your campaign in. What is your ultimate goal? People within the Nordic regions and the Netherlands are usually fluent in English, and so it is possible to use English for marketing collateral and social media. Prioritise your marketing campaigns on countries with the highest business prospective.
Remember, different countries have varied markets - The UK and Switzerland have strong financial markets, France and Italy are fashion and lifestyle hubs and Germany has a leading manufacturing sector. Make your marketing material relevant for the industry verticals with the biggest commercial potential in the country.
You might also want to choose a different marketing mix for different countries as the popularity of media channels vary between countries. For example, Brazilians are twice as likely to use social media to consume news in comparison to the British.
Translation is not enough
There are cultural differences that go beyond language which have to be reflected in every piece of marketing collateral. Just consider the differences between the UK and US: despite both using English, American audiences favour an overtly persuasive tone, whilst British audiences prefer a more subtle approach. Also, small differences in the spelling and choice of words are crucial to localise brands.
All languages have phrases that can’t be translated into any other language. You also need to know about sensitivities and be able to address local differences. For example, in Germany data protection is a very sensitive topic, the corporate culture is generally more formal and people are known to be risk averse.
Localisation of the brand
Companies which are perceived to have a large local presence will experience higher trust and more traction within the local market. There are several steps you can take to localise your brand. A website in the local language is the first step. Learn about the issues in the local market and position the company as a thought leader that offers the fitting solution for the pain of local businesses. Find local clients for a case study and consider a spokesperson that speaks the native language. Your PR agency can also help you find key dates and pegs to align your media campaigns with the news agenda of the country.