A high-level research study with global CMOs, conducted by the international CMO Council and Worldwide Partners, has revealed a staggering 63 per cent of marketers are dissatisfied with their current localisation efforts, admitting they struggle to deliver contextual experiences that reflect local language, behaviour and cultural preferences.
In addition, 80 per cent of senior marketers believe they are not prepared to fulfil the needs of customers who value accountability, security, always-on service and culturally aligned brand experiences.
The new report, entitled ‘Reshaping Global Engagement Structures’, shows CMOs are suffering from an intense case of FOMO – Fear of Missed Opportunities – as customers seek more localised and personalised experiences that are relevant to their own cultural context. In fact, the report shows only 10 per cnet of brand leaders are feeling very confident they will be able to reach their customer engagement and revenue goals.
The report, which dives into new thinking around global operational structures, reveals that marketing operational structures may actually be keeping the customer and brand apart. Marketers admit that:
- They are missing the localisation mark before campaign deployment by engaging in the dark
- 82 per cent say local market intelligence is just “OK”
- 10 per cent admit their local intelligence is actually highly deficient
- 57 per cent believe that the lack of localised intelligence has had a negative impact on their ability to drive more profitable relationships and execute more successful campaigns
The study reveals that organisational structures are partly to blame for these gaps. The study investigated three specific operational structures: fully centralised (27 per cent), fully decentralised (30 per cent) and hybrid structures (30 per cent) with local teams executing on strategies from a centralised leadership group. The key findings were that:
- 38 per cent of marketers operating in a fully centralised organisational structure believe that efficiency of spend and allocation is their top benefit. The downside to the model, according to 37 percent of respondents, is a lack of local market understanding and proximity to the customer.
- 35 per cent of marketers in a fully decentralised organisation say the top benefit is the elimination of corporate politics over execution and decision-making. 48 per cent admit the top drawback is not having a clear vision of the brand engagement strategy.
- According to marketers in hybrid operational structures, the top three benefits of their operations include a heightened understanding of the local customer, a crystal-clear understanding of strategy and goals, as well as heightened efficiency that optimises impact of spend. Drawbacks still pop up, but are largely centred around timeliness of decision-making across the organisation.
Worldwide Partners CEO John Harris said solving the localisation gap is a matter of structure, not intent. “Marketers want customer-centric solutions on a global scale, but they cannot get there with a centralised strategy and top-down approach that prioritises standardisation over localisation. They need to structure for market-inspired experiences in order to deliver personalised, contextualised and culturally relevant experiences effectively and efficiently. Otherwise they’ll miss opportunities, undermine brand perception and compromise business results,” said Harris.
CMO Council SVP of marketing Liz Miller said chief marketers embarked on organisational transformation in the name of efficiencies. “Modern CMOs must now refine that transformation in the name of the customer,” said Miller. “We fought hard to bring rigour and accountability to operations. Now we are asking old processes and operational structures to align with a customer that doesn’t see silos or functions. They just understand their own context and reality, steeped in culture and spoken in their own language.”
The 62-page report is based on a pulse of over 350 senior global marketing leaders conducted via interviews and an online survey in the first and second quarter of 2019.