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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Commercial Edition   |   October 2013

Let Your Message Resonate Globally

Take the right approach to managing global marketing teams

Let Your Message Resonate Globally

Companies that run global operations know that they must have a solid, inclusive marketing strategy for their teams around the world. Mortgage brokerages are no exception. When involved in global operations, they also should work from a few simple principles to make sure their marketing teams operate efficiently and effectively.

Despite the availability of different matrixes and parameters to quantify results and success, there are simple indicators of how your marketing teams are performing. For example, check if all contributing members feel engaged, valued for their contributions and excited about their roles within the organization.

Here are seven other tips that can help shape a cohesive enterprise where marketing team members can contribute their best and learn from each other. These rules can facilitate the sharing of best practices across different regions and allow for compelling global marketing campaigns.

1. Create a community

To keep everyone involved, organize regular video or teleconference calls. These calls will allow group members to feel that they’re part of a larger team and that their contributions are recognized and valued. If your marketing staff is getting too large, try holding smaller functional meetings. For example, you might hold a meeting specifically for your public relations and communications staff to share updates, current initiatives, global programs, etc.

Regional marketing staff members often are more aligned to their regions than to the larger marketing function or corporate entity. By fostering a collaborative cross-regional marketing team, you can develop strong working  bonds with everyone as they become part of a shared effort. Further, when one region is successful with a certain initiative, make sure that it gets in the spotlight. This will allow its staff members to share their experience with colleagues from other regions, foster best-in-class sharing, and develop a bit of healthy competition. Use monthly, bimonthly or quarterly calls to share information and set priorities for the functions and the local vendors.

2. Get out there

In managing global mortgage brokerage companies, marketing leaders should plan on touring foreign offices at least once a year. When you meet with marketing colleagues in the field and at their local agencies, you most likely will be able to get a better understanding of their work environment, circumstances and challenges, which also may lead to uncovering untapped opportunities. 

In addition, focus on knowing and listening to local business executives, as well as learning about their expectations for marketing in their respective regions. Some of the roadblocks your teams are encountering may not be simply regional or cultural issues.

3. Get personal

If possible, try to host an annual meeting that allows all members of the global marketing teams to attend and meet face to face. Although this may be challenging with today’s tight budgets and demanding work schedules, the opportunity to interact on a more personal level is invaluable. In these settings, human dynamics typically take over and relationships are forged. There may be no substitute for colleagues meeting in person and relating to each other as individuals.

If travel isn’t an option, however, reach out through e-mails and phone calls not only for the work accomplishments, but also for major life events — like graduations, births and deaths — that define employees as individuals. Such simple gestures will help foster a bond, leading to improved collaboration across departments, functions and regions.

4. Recognize differences

Although consistent positioning drives brand awareness, gain input from all regions before launching a global marketing initiative such as a website, brochure or publication. The input that you receive from your regional marketing staff will help you understand that regional and cultural differences can have a significant impact on the end product. Factoring in these cultural distinctions helps produce stronger pieces with truly global applications.

5. Keep consistent

With cultural differences in mind, strive for consistency in your marketing programs. There should be no regional variations in terms of message and look. Often, regional operations will claim that their marketing approaches should be different or unique, a claim that has as much to do with control as it does with personal preferences. Through a unified global brand strategy, however, you can build better brand awareness — a stronger global identity with shared positioning and messaging. You also will ensure that your brand is consistent and recognized globally.

6. Let the best team win

When you’re hiring agencies to support your marketing and communications functions globally, there are two approaches:

  • Hire a global company and use it to coordinate efforts worldwide.
  • Find the best team for the region, regardless of the agency, and take on the coordination role in-house.

Although each of these approaches has its benefits, the focus on the second approach may be better. An agency is only as good as its team. One can find a company with a terrific team in New York, but a weak local team in London. With that in mind, don’t feel compelled to make it a universal selection. In addition, because the cost factors often can be managed, there is little difference between a full global agency relationship and multiple ones.

7. Admit knowledge gaps

Leading a global marketing team isn’t for a know-it-all personality. You still can be a strong leader even if you admit to not having all the answers. Seek help and ideas from your regional teams, and be open to input from all your team members.

Remember, your teams live and experience your business with different markets, competitors and clients. Their work and life experiences are invaluable to building a truly global initiative. In addition, by seeking their input, you are building a more functioning team where everyone can play a role and feel valued.

• • •

With these seven points in mind, maintaining a global marketing operation can be inclusive and adaptive to regional markets’ requirements. Both are a must for an established mortgage business to branch out and send a message that resonates with clients across its target regions.   


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