• This is the second blog post in a series that examines how variations make the job of European marketers different from that of their peers elsewhere
  • Internal procedural and structural variations can have a significant impact on how European marketers adapt global best practices
  • These variations can consist of market planning, budgeting considerations or approval processes, among other things

In the first blog post of this series, I examined four categories of variations – market, procedural, demand generation and cultural – that together make the job of European marketers different from that of their peers in other regions.

In this post, I’ll take a look at the internal procedural and structural variations:

  • Marketing planning
  • Budgeting considerations
  • Approval processes
  • Lead management variations
  • Technology usage
  • Role definitions

In the same way that strong winds can have a profound effect on the shape of trees, these variations can have a significant impact on how European marketers adapt global best practice to meet local needs.

Procedural Variations

Marketing planning. When a regional marketer enters a planning session with a local sales team, the first questions they are asked are “How much do we get?” and “Are the other markets getting more than us?” In an effort to avoid these difficult conversations, many marketers adopt a “peanut butter” approach to planning, spreading activities evenly across all the markets they own. However, experienced European marketing leaders adopt a tiering strategy to combat this pressure. Tiers are used to define the level of marketing support each market will receive, and are set within the context of the organization’s go-to-market strategy, the market’s historical performance and its growth potential. With tiering in place as a planning cornerstone, marketers can define and justify campaign activity variations by country. 

Budgeting considerations. Due to the multiple languages present in Europe, marketers must budget for a “lights on” cost per market. Activities such as PR, ad word purchases and teleprospecting have to be funded in each language. Adding those costs up across three or more countries can represent a large portion of the European marketing spend – even before any campaigns have been planned – reducing the range of tactics that can be funded.

Approval processes. Many more organizations choose to tighten or loosen their approval process in Europe than in North America. Two common examples of these adjustments are content approval and spend approval. Organizations that loosen approval requirements do so in an effort to cut back on what can turn into a very long and drawn-out process. For example, European marketers may be able to sign off on a higher level of purchase orders in support of a campaign or event. Organizations that tighten approval requirements do so in an effort to drive consistency. For example, European marketers may be required to go through multiple rounds of content approval for a single item, as it is being translated into multiple languages. One way experienced marketers streamline this process is by breaking content production up into smaller building blocks and driving approval of these blocks much earlier in the content creation process.

Lead management variations. As demand type and sales strategy can vary by country, European marketers often end up juggling multiple lead level and service-level agreements across their region. To make matters worse, the volume of leads driven from smaller countries can lead some to ask if it’s worth the effort. As Europeans know, the devil here is in the details. Many small countries, like The Netherlands and Switzerland, often punch above their weight in terms of revenue potential, and being able to deliver leads that match local requirements is a fundamental enabler to unlocking that revenue.

Technology usage. In Europe, the use of automation technology varies by market and is influenced by the data privacy regulations prevalent in that market. Even organizations with centralized marketing automation platform and sales force automation deployments often see deltas in how the tools are used by each region. For example, in one country, sales may record early-stage sales generated leads in the app, while the sales team in another country may only add these in at the opportunity stage. These variations lead to differences in how campaigns are deployed per country and can ultimately result in the need for European marketers to juggle a number of campaign plan variations.

Role definitions. The diverse nature of the European market creates a need for marketers to be market generalists and functional specialists. For example, a demand creation marketer responsible for Northern Europe may also be called upon as the resident expert on market climate, brand awareness, competitive landscape and product perception in the region. As a result, a significant proportion of a marketer’s time could be spent responding to functional requests for market insights in these areas.

Even with all these variations across Europe, implementing effective and scalable demand creation processes in any region requires a core set of foundational frameworks, such as the SiriusDecisions Demand Waterfall®. It’s the supporting processes around those global best practices that are adapted to create these variations.

In my next post, I’ll look at the external forces that shape how European marketers drive their demand creation programs. In the meantime, if you spot something I’ve missed, then please go to the comments section and share your own insights!