4 Keys to Scaling B2B Marketing Campaigns to New Global Markets

November 16, 2021
Contributor: Francesco Papagni

As you expand globally, adapt your marketing strategy to local needs and buyer behaviors to engage with new business landscapes.

Too often, marketing leaders face a tough choice between standardization and localization when businesses go global. Do you want to maximize market share as you enter a new territory, or are you interested in ensuring brand consistency across each market? There is no easy answer.

Standardizing your global marketing campaign can lead to uniform messaging and promotional activities. But if you don't align your message to local buyer preferences, it can prove fatal to your brand as you enter a new region.

An effective global marketing strategy should strike a balance between the two. As you capitalize on global branding, the key is to understand which aspects to differentiate to resonate with local business-to-business (B2B) buyers. 

Optimizing your marketing mix for global expansion can be daunting, but returns are worth the effort—there are thousands of potential clients who haven’t yet heard about your product. These four marketing tactics will help you adapt your global marketing strategy to varying buyer journeys and strengthen your expansion plans.

1. Understand your target markets and buyer profiles

New customer acquisition is a primary motivator to move into new markets, but software companies should first ask why they are expanding, and then identify reasons for each specific country. Many regions can look appealing due to large market sizes, but it’s important to see if you fit in there.

Kelsey Walsh, Manager of Client Success for Gartner Digital Markets, suggests asking a critical question as you begin: Do you already have customers in the markets you are considering? 

If you are making sales in a country, that should be your first target.

Existing clients mean existing data and a proof of concept. Prioritizing this region will help you better craft a B2B marketing program that meets the unique needs and pain points of local buyers beyond your home country.

There are two layers to understanding a new market. One is to get familiar with the business landscape (types of companies, market size, primary industries and spending capabilities). Another is to map local buyer profiles and evaluate how they differ from other countries.

When evaluating new target markets, global B2B marketers can avoid common pitfalls by asking these questions:

To better understand the target market:

  • Are you experiencing organic demand from the target country? If yes, why?
  • What is the average investment in your type of software for the target country?
  • What is the breakdown of companies by size, industry and technology budget? 

To build a map of buyer preferences:

  • What are the trigger points and challenges for buyers when planning an investment in software?
  • How do local buyer timelines and interests differ from other countries?
  • Are buyers open to new software providers or do they prefer familiar brands?

You can use global B2B buyer data to learn how businesses make technology purchase decisions and predict buyer journeys within specific countries with these Market Landscape Guides: 

 2. Use audience targeting to reach relevant consumers

After evaluating your target market and buyer preferences, decide on your audience targeting strategy. This goes beyond understanding buyers’ needs to take a more in-depth approach to reach your target audience with the right message at the right time.  

Audience segmentation for international markets helps determine if a segment of buyers is worth targeting, and the best way to approach them. It will help you formulate appropriate global marketing campaigns and position products according to local consumer behavior.

You can use local market intelligence to update your buyer personas in a way that accounts for nuances by country. As you segment your buyers, start by collecting data across four major groups:

Four areas to explore for B2B buyer segmentation:  

Firmographic

  • Industry
  • Type and size of company
  • Annual revenue
  • Primary business language
  • Location

Behavioral

  • Channels used to research software
  • Technology and devices used
  • Involvement in software purchases

Psychographic

  • Content they are interested in
  • Causes they care about
  • Interest level for software purchases
  • Challenges in purchasing software

Benefits

  • Factors triggering software investment

To better understand how purchase decisions are influenced in different countries, look at the graph below from a 2020 Gartner survey.

Popular factors that aid software purchase decisions

While free trials are dealmakers in Germany, price and ease of use remain highly influential factors across the board. B2B marketers must carefully examine which aspects of their solution are most attractive to buyers in different regions, whether it’s user training, product reviews, utility, price, integrations, or something else.

Once you design your marketing campaigns around different buyer segments, track them by region or country. What works for buyers in one part of the world may not be successful in others.

3. Localize your content for new target markets

When expanding into new markets, it’s important to follow through on content localization and search engine optimization (SEO) to ensure you remain relevant. Localizing content on your website, including product pages and videos, can increase your findability and lead to a better user experience.

Even when you move between two English-speaking countries, you should optimize your content and your website for SEO in that region. Search engines show results based on user location and language, so popular search terms can vary between the U.S., U.K. and Australia, for example.

To start with, buy a local domain name, such as “.fr” for France, or partner with companies that have existing localized sites. You can then contextualize marketing content on different distribution channels, such as email and social media, using local content preferences and vernacular.

Checklist for content localization:

  • Social media 
    • Feature content in the local language and use local events, regional partnerships and influencers.
  • Email 
    • Personalized email drip campaigns adapted by content format and language. 
    • Localized promotions and offers.
  • Website
    • Auto-redirect to the local country website and allow buyers to change sites manually.
    • Feature local, user-generated content and customer reviews on product pages. 
    • Show products in local currency.

Building relationships with regional partners can also enhance your content localization strategy. They can share buyers’ perspectives and channel expertise to give you a unique glimpse into the local audience. For example, you can leverage your listings on software reviews sites that have a localized web presence in other countries.

4. Bridge the language barrier with translation

According to Gartner’s 2021 survey of global software trends, buyers across 15 countries think it is important to translate core content and marketing collateral into the local language. The value of vendor communication in the buyer’s primary language rises more in countries such as Spain and Mexico, which assign the highest importance to translating training courses and materials to their native language.

Translating content can bring you several steps closer to local buyers. However, it can be challenging to decide which campaigns and content types should be translated first. To make these decisions, look at the content formats that regional buyers prefer to read in their primary language.

Importance of content in user's primary language

You can use free translation tools to convert your marketing collateral into the language of your prospects. But they often miss the linguistic nuances vital to make the same emotional impact as the original. Hiring or partnering with a small editorial team versed in the local language can save trouble in the long run. You can start small by investing in translation of important web pages, high-converting content, and global third-party listings.

What next?

New markets are synonymous with growth and opportunity for software providers. However, it can take time and experimentation to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Test different channels, content marketing ideas and outreach strategies to work out the best ways to reach your buyers. Use your findings to establish a global marketing plan that helps you scale for efficiency and customize for effectiveness.

For data on buyer personas in different regions of the world, download country-specific software market guides from our Insights hub.

Francesco Papagni

Francesco Papagni is an Associate Director of International Marketing at Gartner Digital Markets, where he helps companies grow faster and scale their operations efficiently. He has 12+ years of experience in international omnichannel marketing and expertise in multilingual digital strategy and execution. Connect with Francesco on LinkedIn.

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