B2B Marketers: Have You Localised Your Content Plan?

B2B Marketers: Have You Localised Your Content Plan?
Stephanie Tilton - Thu Jan 13, 2011 @ 08:00AM
Comments: 10

[Note: I changed "Localized" to "Localised" in the title after Peter Johnston of Intelligent Technology in the UK pointed out that I used the American spelling. Hear, hear!]

If one thing has become clear, it’s that IT professionals search online for information to support their buying decisions. And TechTarget-Global-Media-Trends.jpgunderstanding their online preferences and habits is critical to connecting with these prospects. But it’s a mistake to think that these  patterns are transferable across geographies. Any marketer worth his or her salt understands the importance of localization in connecting with prospects and customers around the world.


That’s why marketers should be eating up this latest research from TechTarget. In it, the media company reveals global media consumption trends. Based on responses from over 2,400 IT professionals in companies of all sizes across India, China, Japan, Italy, France, Germany, South Africa, Australia-New Zealand, the UK, and the US, the report identifies universal online consumption trends and regional preferences.


In its press release, TechTarget’s senior vice president of client and corporate marketing, Marilou Barsam said, “…marketers around the world need to invest in building diverse content portfolios and placing this content in varied information sources that IT professionals frequent.”


Any marketer trying to reach IT buyers across the globe should pay close attention to the findings. Some highlights and their implications:


Finding: While the Internet is the primary source of research for most IT professionals, those in Japan and France prefer print and events.

Implication: Assign ample budget and resources to magazine publications and conferences in Japan and France.


Finding: IT buying teams tend to consist of 2 to 7 people with some countries having a larger concentration of teams with more than 10 members.

Implication: Do your homework to understand the information needs and preferences of these larger IT buying teams -- but focus on the ones that play a major role in the process.


Finding: As they are pressured to conduct research more and more efficiently, IT professionals seek content that showcases a vendor’s reliability (yet still aren’t that receptive to vendor phone calls).

Implication: Remember that your customer’s words trump all other forms of validation for most prospects; produce case studies in a variety of formats to convey your reliability. (And fight the urge to call every prospect that downloads your content; wait until they show signs of getting close to a decision.)


Finding: IT buyers attach much weight to the advice available from their peers online.

Implication: Spend time online where your prospects and customers hang out, join the conversation, and share relevant information.


Finding: Though white papers ranked highest for effective content in 7 of the 10 countries surveyed, product literature and trial downloads also made the top 3 list of most effective content type for most countries.

Implication: Be sure to round out your content assets with the information your prospects seek.


Finding: IT professionals in the US consume webcasts in large quantities but the same isn’t true for their counterparts in the other countries surveyed – in fact, podcasts, video, webcasts, and virtual events ranked fairly low in general.

Implication: Transfer your webcast content to print and in-person events in other countries.


Finding: Most countries indicated that eBooks, webcasts, email newsletters, videos, and podcasts are predominantly effective in early stages of the cycle. In general, IT buyers seek editorial/educational material during the early stage of the buying cycle; streaming media during the consideration stage; and vendor comparisons and downloads during the end stage.

Implication: Map your content plans to the buying cycle to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to connect.

Any marketer selling on a global basis should read the entire report, which is chock-full of detail about IT research nuances in the countries surveyed, along with sage recommendations based on the findings.

About the Author: Stephanie Tilton is a content marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that nurtures leads and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.

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Comments: 10


1. Bill Gadless  |  my website   |   Fri Jan 14, 2011 @ 07:46AM

Stephanie, great summary and such important research for global IT marketers. My company (eMagine) focuses on web design and online marketing for the Tech sector and we're seeing increased interest in localized websites. (though still far too few clients have taken this step) It's very easy for a U.S.-based marketer to believe that whatever they do in the states will just "work" everywhere else. From localized websites, to unique content strategies for their various markets ... a myopic approach just won't cut it, especially when competing with tech giants with deep marketing pockets.

2. Tracy Chatman  |  my website   |   Fri Jan 14, 2011 @ 07:59AM

Its good to know the competition out here. This is very helpful information that I can take in consideration when it come's to how and where to promote my business. I never knew this took place behinds the scene with global marketers.

3. Stephanie Tilton  |  my website   |   Fri Jan 14, 2011 @ 09:27AM

Bill - Thanks for sharing your insights! It's helpful to see that your clients' experiences mirror those seen by TechTarget.

Tracy - Glad you found the post valuable.

4. Mark McClure  |  my website   |   Mon Jan 17, 2011 @ 10:55PM

@Bill - the costs of localizing content (online and print) can be a shock to Western companies entering Asian markets. While it might be OK to use English-language materials in some countries (e.g. Singapore), in others (e.g. Japan and China) it severely hampers how a company is perceived by not only prospects buts by potential partners, resellers etc.

There are also cultural and business differences at work. A good example is how FaceBook are attempting to enter the Japanese market and finding it tough going because many Japanese prefer to be anonymous online. This will be a tough nut for them to crack.

In contrast, Twitter has been wildly popular!

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