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Centralised B2B marketing is only good in theory

I’ve nothing against the idea of centralised B2B marketing; the theory sounds harmless enough – develop and manage messaging, strategy, design and content in the U.S. and then execute locally, respecting local languages, databases, data protection regulations and the communications mix.

But I almost never see it work.

Sure, when you are launching to the world, you can be high level, with a message that pretty much works for everyone.  Or if you are B2C, it’s all about volumes and breadth. But if you are B2B and want to start closing in on the actual decision maker, particularly if they are C-level and in specific verticals (as they are for all our clients), then a centralised approach does not work – particularly for the sales team, for whom this catch-all approach simply does not help generate leads.

Here’s why.

Lots of people, many of them your competitors, are already reaching or trying to reach your prospects. Those prospects are being inundated hourly with well-written, well-argued, well-designed and personally-pitched content, so getting your message across is tough.

And your competitors probably already know who they are, what they are interested in, how they like to be communicated with, what they respond to, what they bought last time and may be about to buy; plus they know the market – size, value, prime players, current dynamics, threats and so on.

Now, if you think you can copy or buy all that intelligence off the Internet, guess again. In fact, finding reliable data about your markets and prospects is getting harder than ever – partly because the people move around so much, there are more business titles than ever that are part of the decision process, but also because you need to know far more than is currently available if you expect to capture their interest.

Even if you had the market intelligence, which in my view companies coming into EMEA spend less and less time and money finding, imposing a ‘one size fits all’ approach across content, channels and communication is unlikely to put it to best advantage.

You’ll probably now gather where this is going. When you come into a new market, particularly one as crowded as this, then you need to work with partners who know the markets, know the retailers, know the competitors and know the people who influence them.


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