‘Marketing must operate above geographical regions’

Marketers from international companies need to operate without geographical boundaries and improve idea sharing across regions or damage the efficiencies of their global marketing strategy, according to a global body made up of CMOs from some of the UK’s largest companies.

Global marketing strategies need closer working relationships between regions

To achieve this, regional business directors should relinquish some control over marketers to allow teams to work more closely with peers in other regions and build stronger internal networks.

The Corporate Executive Board (CEB), a research body that hosts a network of CMOs and global marketing bosses from the FTSE 100 and Fortune 500, has come up with a 27-point framework to help global businesses build the optimum globalised marketing function.

The top priority is having a clear rationale for which marketing activities to consult at a global, regional or local level.

The CEB’s research, however, found that while 92% of members believe that sharing information and best practice across regions is more important now than it was three years ago, only 24% believe their company is highly effective in this area.

Only 16% of members believe their organisation is highly effective at communicating and enacting a consistent global marketing strategy, despite 79% identifying it as more important than three years previous.

Pat Spenner, the body’s managing director, says global organisations often overlook the importance of strong “soft internal networks” between regions and don’t do enough to encourage the kind of cross-region relationships that are key to an efficient global approach to marketing.

He adds: “It’s about finding ways of connecting folks softly that cuts across traditional power boundaries. The smarter CMOs are building internal communities of practice around different areas such as social media or digital marketing so a digital marketer in Poland has a whole network of digital marketers in different countries to call on.”

“You have to get to the point where those teams feel like they can pick up the phone and call their compadre in another market. If you’re not at that point, you’re not where you need to be and you’re going to lose the battle against those embedded power structures,” he says.

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