Based on strong interest from my previous blogs on choosing the right marketing vehicles, I figured I'd continue the discussion with another angle that's often vexing for tech marketers - how do marketing vehicles vary by geography?
Cultural preferences factor significantly into how technology decision-makers consume information as they go through the purchase process. In analyzing more than 20,000 interviews across the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific, we see that vehicle selection varies by region by up to 40%. For tech marketers, this means that straightforward localization of global programs won’t work. Instead, you must understand how cultural preferences shape vehicle preferences and build programs that map to the specific vehicles appropriate for each market. Let’s look at a detailed example and then some broad guidelines.
We get a lot of questions about vehicle preferences for the C-suite, so I’ll pick CFOs as our example. Across the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific, the CFO is a critical player at the beginning and end of the purchase process for investments in collaboration and virtualization technology. When we take a look at vehicle preference for CFOs across these regions, we find that CFOs in the US prefer a balanced mix approach (vendor site, search, in-person sales discussion, and online business print such as Forbes and The Wall Street Journal). CFOs in Europe prefer web vehicles (online business print, online tech print, and online tech info sites) and CFOs in Asia Pacific favor events and sales over web vehicles. In all regions, the CFO is involved and tech-savvy. However, a marketer needs a unique regional mix to reach and influence the CFO.
Several of my recent client engagements have been about the social media skills/resources that will be required in field marketing in the next years. While this is something I am already working on with an empirical survey, that will take more time to complete, so watch this space for those details. Here are my initial thoughts, tested with several tech marketing practitioners already.
Firstly, my stake in the ground — I think Field Marketing’s focus will morph from customer acquisition to relationship management, from demand generation to demand management; it will be all about lead nurturing.
We’ll need to reduce our base of pure marketing professionals (events/marcom people), by automating and semi-centralizing (from country to regional level) marketing campaign management. And we’ll need to increase local resources to engage with local bloggers, communities, prospects, and customers. This will include a mix of hiring expert people (strong consultative sales reps looking for an easier time, experienced support people, current product champion field marketers) and leveraging local journalistic resources. More importantly, we will also need to re-engineer our collateral to a marketing asset library of shorter and more direct, but less hard-selling, pieces that we can leverage into the lead-nurturing programs.