3 Global Marketing Tips to Expand the Reach of Your Software

November 19, 2020
Contributor: Rupal Bhandari

Marketing to a global audience requires an intricate understanding of who your readers are and what appeals to them. Here are three ways to quickly capture those insights and create marketing strategies to reach and engage audiences in new countries.

Software is one of the easier products to make available to a global market. It doesn’t require shipping and it can be implemented and managed remotely rather effectively, without requiring an on-ground team in every country where it is sold. 

However, marketing software to global audiences presents its own challenges. A marketer must have clarity on who the audience is, what their value systems and challenges are, and how software can support their business.

Uncovering the who for global B2B marketing

To uncover the who, look into marketing and sales funnel data; look at the industries, business sizes, budgets and current profitability of businesses in the target market or country. Map indicators such as website traffic, number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and length of the lead-nurturing cycle against top countries where the software is already doing business. 

Those that don’t have any of this data should look at factors specific to the target industries and try to identify the size and spending capabilities of an average business in the target audience. 

Uncovering the what and how for global B2B marketing 

For the what and how, we bring you insights from the “Buyers Trends During COVID-19 (International)” survey conducted by Gartner Digital Markets in May 2020. This survey was conducted with 2,400+ respondents from Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom (U.K.), Netherlands and Australia. The respondents either owned the business or were at management, senior management or executive management positions. 

The survey insights will help marketing teams better understand the global software marketplace. Accompanying the insights are global marketing tips that will help build a marketing strategy to expand into the international market. 

1. Customize marketing materials according to factors affecting software purchase decisions

Ease of use and price and range of plans are two of the most common factors respondents in seven of the eight countries we surveyed say aid in their software purchase decision. Free trial, user reviews on third-party websites and language in which the software is available are also high-priority factors in some of these countries. 

Before designing the marketing material, identify critical decision aiding factors for your target audience. This can be done through market research, surveys or insights from your sales team. 

Then, design a global marketing campaign and the marketing materials to highlight these factors. For instance, in Germany, highlighting free trials or free versions could be a good strategy based on our survey results. However, in Spain, the survey shows that a marketing campaign highlighting the availability of your product in the local language might be effective.

2. Show how you can help end users learn the tool

More than half of the businesses surveyed in all eight countries rely on informal software training or there is no training at all due to a lack of budget or time. This creates an opportunity for software companies to highlight how they can help end users learn their products and ease the responsibility of end-user adoption at the business’s (buyer’s) end. 

To appeal to the audience in a new market, highlight or emphasize end-user adoption initiatives in marketing materials. Whether it is a knowledge center with articles and video tutorials or a personal liaison to guide end users for the first few weeks, put such information at prominent positions in the marketing materials. 

The information should be geared toward the decision makers in your target audience and make them feel at ease about possible end-user adoption or implementation challenges should they ultimately choose your product. 

3. Nurture the target audience, regardless of purchase

COVID-19 forced at least one-fifth of the surveyed businesses in all eight countries to accelerate their software purchase journeys by at least one to six months. For some businesses, the purchase journey was cut short by more than a year. 

This could mean that businesses bought products not because they were entirely convinced of the product’s utility or effectiveness, but because they urgently needed an infrastructure to support remote work. This opens up the possibility that businesses might revisit their software purchase decisions due to budget changes, changing or updated requirements for functionality or capabilities, or even a return to the office. 

Software providers looking to establish footing in a new market should nurture the target audience regardless of whether they already have a product (possibly from your competitor) or no product at all. Connect to them through personalized email drip campaigns, social media and advertising, and qualify leads toward direct emails and sales calls. 

Throughout the nurturing journey, provide them with educational and value-add content that address their specific business challenges and software needs. This will not only help build relationships with new buyers but also keep your product high in their consciousness when they revisit their purchase decisions.

Bottom line: Study the market and adjust quickly

Marketing strategies look and work differently in each country. While a marketing campaign designed around diverse pricing plans for different business sizes might work well in Italy, a campaign designed around third-party user reviews could work better in Brazil. 

For a software provider executing marketing strategies on a global scale, it is important to spend time and resources studying each market’s opportunity in detail. That requires teams to shift beyond secondary research, and might also involve running surveys and experimental campaigns to understand market distinctions. As the findings come in, be quick to adjust the marketing message, the positioning of products and the channels used in the campaign. 


*Buyers Trends During COVID-19 (International): Survey methodology

Gartner Digital Markets conducted an online survey in May 2020 between 2,904 respondents, which included employees and managers in small and midsize businesses (SMEs) from Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. Only responses from those who owned the business or were at management, senior management or executive management positions were considered for the findings of this article. 

Rupal Bhandari

Rupal Bhandari covers sales and account management markets. She received her master’s degree from the University of Delhi, India, and has created content for some of the world’s leading technology products and companies. Connect with Rupal on LinkedIn.

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