These words reflect a sentiment that too often occurs during global deployment of marketing work management solutions. Marketers working in overseas offices of U.S. companies frequently aren’t vested in the project, don’t see the value, and/or don’t feel adequately supported.
Zee Jay Digital consultants have heard comments like this first hand. Whether embarking on a design and implementation initiative, or picking up the pieces of another organization’s effort, we keep our ears open. Why? We know this attitude in the field can derail a significant investment.
We’re committed to doing what it takes up front to make sure “this doesn’t apply to us” isn’t uttered on our watch.
So what makes an in-house agency account manager in Germany, a creative in Brazil, or a marketing manager in Singapore feel like this technology undertaking isn’t right for them?
We’ve identified 4 root causes. Let’s talk about each one:
Are representatives from overseas offices part of the planning process or project team? They should be. Is the project champion visible to them? The senior exec in charge needs to be seen and heard. It takes in-person communications and training—as well as ongoing surveys and results measurement—to get everyone committed up front. (And to avoid having remote employees—and vendors—feeling like an afterthought.)
Case. We recently worked with an international fashion retailer to deploy a marketing resource management solution. The company is based in the U.S. with a large presence in the U.K. The client project owner pushed back on a design workshop early in the process in the interest of saving a few thousand dollars in travel fees—and opted for a video conference instead. The result was the need to back-pedal to get the overseas marketers on board—a process that took three weeks, delayed go-live and cost significantly more than it should have.
That’s probably true. When the workflow differs from location to location it’s difficult to deploy the same technology at each. Zee Jay Digital encourages clients to use an upcoming deployment as an opportunity to rework processes to make them consistent. For example, handling creative approvals the same not only simplifies implementation, but boosts productivity system-wide over time.
Case. When working with a Pan-European organization, we accommodated not only the fact that marketing teams were in different locations with different cultures, but that their customers act differently as well. Europeans tend to be more conservative with offer language (low price vs. buy now). And they don’t use the internet as much as Americans: Only 55% of European shoppers buy online using a smartphone. When developing workflows and schedules, we included translation time, as well as time to adapt marketing materials to each country’s uniqueness. One example? A marketing message around a “spring cleaning” event needed adjustment after a Spanish marketing counterpart said “We clean all year, not just in spring.” Including steps in the process to listen to marketing teams from different countries—and making adjustments—goes a long way in developing customer-facing content that resonates and drives sales.
Input on how marketers in each location work assures they receive the proper in-market support. Knowing the need for accommodations up-front saves a lot of time and expense later. Anticipating language and translation needs, supporting multiple currencies, providing help desk access and a communication platform, understanding which adjacent solutions (i.e. financial) need to be integrated, and calculating time zone implications are all considerations when implementing marketing work management solutions on a global scale.
Case. When deploying digital assets in Europe, Zee Jay Digital considers laws and cultural aspects about privacy. Additional steps to ensure compliance with local government and Pan European communication laws, for example, need to be accounted for as well. Budgets and expense reporting are also areas needing careful consideration, taking into account different currencies and where those budgets roll-up to. In the U.S., moving money across the enterprise (across states) is easily regulated. In Europe, care needs to be applied in developing reports to seamlessly move money across the enterprise because it extends across countries.
Culture plays a big role in the success (or failure) of implementing marketing work management solutions. There are nuances from region to region to acknowledge, and sensitivities across the board to address. Reducing friction caused by cultural differences requires accommodations. Some are easy, such as rotating the time conference calls are held so that offices take equal turns being inconvenienced. Others are more complex, like giving feedback in a way that’s constructive, not negative; communicating in a style that is mutually comfortable (was that silent moment awkward?); and striking the right balance between business and personal aspects of life.
Case. When working with a team that spans more than one country, Zee Jay Digital consultants have found that work hours and number of hours per week an employee works differs by country. Maternity leave and bank, religious and local holidays also differ. Coordination to assure coverage takes consideration of the cultural expectation of work hours, family time and time off at each overseas office—and plenty of planning prior to deployment of a marketing work management solution.
These are timeless principles that most of us have encountered. Keeping them top of mind is necessary for successful marketing transformation today. Contact us to learn more.