Home > Marketing > The global vs. local debate for B2B marketing

The global vs. local debate for B2B marketing

global-networkMost of the debate around global marketing centers around consumer businesses. Companies like McDonald’s, Apple, Nike, and Volkswagen must figure out which marketing messages work for different audiences.

Mercedes, for example, uses different taglines in different markets. In North America, where Mercedes sells their C, E, and S class cars with big engines and leather upholstery, Mercedes is “engineered like no other car in the world.” In Germany, where cloth seats grace many of the cars, and the smaller A and B class cars are sold, the Mercedes star “points the way” (a very rough translation). But Volkswagen is “das Auto,” no matter the language of the target market.

What to do, then, for a smaller company that sells B2B software that goes global? The software buyer has different concerns in different markets, and reacts to different concerns. Between Germany and North America, for example, the NA buyer reacts much more positively to direct statements, while the European buyer reacts better to passive statements. Small companies often have marketing budgets that are smaller than weekly bagel runs for the big companies. How can a small company be competitive in different geographies with different product lines?

Often, a single global message will water down the effectiveness so much that it stops being useful. Does Volkswagen really think “das Auto” is a more effective marketing message than the U.S.-only “Drivers Wanted” it used several years ago? And in the B2B space, where the fight for budget dollars is even more pronounced, will a global message be the right balance between effectiveness and marketing cost?

I don’t know the answers yet, but I’m in the middle of this struggle right now. I’ll continue to share my experiences, and I hope you feel free to share your insights.

Image by Free-StockPhotos.com.

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Categories: Marketing
  1. March 16, 2009 at 9:25 am

    Some great information here and some intresting points, look forward to reading more

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