New CMO Council Report: CMOs Struggling to Meet Needs of Local Audiences

Meet Needs of Local AudiencesMarketing leaders and agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep pace with growing demands to localize and adapt their creative strategies when it comes to trying to meet needs of local audiences. Facing a widening range of digital and physical channels that each require rapid adaptation in order to remain relevant to individual geographic, cultural, and customer audiences, too many organizations are failing to take the necessary steps to improve their capacity and agility, according to a new study by the CMO Council.

The new study, entitled “Adaptability in Branded Content Delivery,” reveals that more than two-thirds of marketers rate their organizations and agencies below satisfactory in their capacity to translate and adapt brand marketing content across the markets and channels they serve. This has led to equally lack-luster marks in timeliness as only 30 percent of marketers rate their in-house and agency teams as either “advanced” or “doing well” in their timeliness and capacity to simultaneously support global and local execution.

Marketers admit these failures in addressing rapid adaptation is further challenged by mounting pressure by a variety of forces and factors, led by requirements for geographic localization, proliferation of new digital formats, the need for more visually enriched and engaging content, and operational cost pressures.

“At a time when the customer has higher expectations than ever for the relevance and personalization of content and brand interaction, marketing organizations will need to step up their game when it comes to brand content adaptation to address geographic, cultural, customer and other differences,” says Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “Past research has shown that adaptation of marketing strategy and content can be major enabler of sales and brand success. Yet most companies have a long way to go to get it right.”

The study, developed in partnership with HH Global, is based on an online survey of more than 150 senior marketing executives polled in the second quarter of 2017. Respondents hail from global industries that demand an omnichannel presence including retail, travel, hospitality, technology, consumer goods and telecommunications.

Among the key findings:

  • Only 32 percent of respondents say their companies are either advanced or doing well in adapting brand content to different markets, partners and geographies. Another 34 percent say they are at least improving.
  • Just 20 percent are satisfied with their creative delivery process and marketing supply chain effectiveness.
  • Respondents point to speed of execution as a major challenge; less than half say they are able to deploy localized content across both physical and digital touchpoints within weeks of a campaign launch.
  • Marketers believe their top five process challenge are shortening turnaround times, ensuring quality and uniformity with brand guidelines, end-to-end workflow management, delivering creative on time, and measurement of the creative appeal and impact of content.

Change Is Too Slow

The study also finds that many organizations are failing to take important steps to improve their capacity to adapt and modify branded content. Just 18 percent have completed a formal assessment of their creative delivery process and marketing supply chain effectiveness, although another 24 percent say they have begun one.

In addition, many companies are utilizing only basic project management and collaboration tools to manage these processes. Just 20 percent use online approval and proofing systems to accelerate modifications. Even more surprising, 49 percent of respondents say the spend less than five percent of their marketing budget for creative adaptation and cross-cultural localization.

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership, and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 12,500-plus members control more than $500 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. For more information, visit www.cmocouncil.org.

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