Turning insight into global opportunity

If you are trading in one country and have access to first party data and third-party data to infill the gaps, then you should have a good understanding of your customer behaviour and have complex marketing strategies planned out across one (or more likely) a plethora of marketing channels.

For anyone with global or regional market expansion aspirations, you will know that access to the right combination of data is crucial for insight and market awareness to power strategic decision making and many other functions such as marketing and location planning.

This article helps to deconstruct the complex activities needed for global expansion into a few top tips to help you on your way.

Ensure you have a robust view of your ideal customer profile

Are you sure you are confident about understanding your target audience? How should you decide where to invest? Which country, region, city or town is right for you? How does each market compare to the locations you are familiar with – and how big is the opportunity overall?

Giving yourself the best chances of success means answering critical questions, including those above. It is often necessary to redefine your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) for each country where you’re activating your campaigns. But getting hold of answers that you trust can be challenging – especially if you’re exploring unfamiliar markets using different languages.

Part of the challenge when thinking about multi territory planning is that the type of data sources available from region to region differ based on regulation, digital maturity, and cultural norms. Yet it is still necessary to use data driven insights to create your ICP.

One of the easiest ways to overcome this challenge is to build your ICP on a region where you have more granular data available which can be used to inform your wider strategy. You can then use this information to link to external data sources to gain a view of your ideal customer profile in terms of demographics, purchasing power, lifestyle and channel preferences. Using your ICP mapped against a global consistent segmentation, the data insights can be extrapolated across all your customers where you may have less data gathered to create a global ICP based on your best data.

Don’t waste investment: study your new customers

Who are you selling to? You might be confident about your target market in one geography. It is fair to say that certain insight from your success in another location may well be portable to new geographies, but you can’t assume this is the case.

One way to ensure you understand your ICP is by sourcing as much local insight as possible. Using reliable global datasets coupled with analysis tools, you can gain better insight into your prospective customers in unfamiliar geographies. Using the right mix of data at a granular level (such as profiles of age, purchasing power and other location-based demographics) means you can model out and assess your market potential before you commit to entering a market.

If you do this thoroughly enough, you can reduce the risk of your new business activities: for example, ensuring you open new premises in locations with a high density of your ICPs or activate audiences on the right ad platform in the right locations. This avoids wasted marketing efforts and protects your brand reputation.

Find a consistent data strategy which can be used to plan across all relevant territories

Armed with your ICP based on analysis (or as a fallback, an alignment with key demographics), your next step is to assess how best to map these consistently across wider regions.

Data that is available consistently across a wide span of geographies is, by definition, going to be at a higher level than data available in specific regions. Many organisations have regionally based insight and teams focussed on understanding their local consumers. However, each team’s insights are as different as their native languages, making it extremely difficult for organisations to translate into an overarching organisation-wide strategy.

When evaluating your choice of a common data strategy, a few things to consider are:

  • The number of countries which are covered consistently
  • The depth of insight available in your core regions
  • How robust is the data collection which underpins the insight
  • Although free, open-source data across countries tends to be too summarised to be able to locate your target market effectively

Start using insight to make strategic decisions in your cross-territory planning

Now you have better data-driven insights as to where your target audience is located, it opens up a ton of optimisation potential that spans beyond just marketing. Sharing this insight wider within your organisation is likely to uncover related areas which could benefits from similar insights.

Such insight allows you to tackle planning challenges, such as:

  • Marketing budget allocation by target audience by country
  • Location based activity highlighting key cities (or lower resolution) in which to run focus activity based on high penetration of potential audiences
  • Identification of expansion opportunities
  • Identification of countries well suited for testing new product launches
  • Partner or retail strategies based on sales footprint
  • Sales representative planning
  • Distribution centre locations
  • Transaction and risk analysis

Activate your insights consistently across media campaigns

Creating and executing multinational campaigns to promote products and services to consumers can be complex and is likely to involve a considerable marketing budget. How can you ensure you are spending wisely?

Activating the insight you have developed around your key audiences enables your marketing spend to be focussed on those most interested or likely to be high value for your brand. This minimises the wastage of your budget – no one wants to spend to reach consumers that are not going to be interested in your product. This applies across all channels from direct activity, Out of Home (or Digital Out of Home), connected TV through to digital channels such as paid social and programmatic display activity.

One way to ensure that your campaigns are reaching relevant consumers is to use geo-location data sets. Known as “geo-marketing“, these location-based data sets enable non-personal data to be used for planning, analytics and marketing activity with a broad level of accuracy. The lowest level of geo-marketing data you can get gives you the most accurate view of potential new customers based on where they live, shop and work.

When choosing a geo-location data partner to support your activity, ensure that they not only have a broad reach of consistent insight over territories but also have a wide network of distribution partners or channels where you can buy media against audiences to deliver maximum impact.

Evaluate your strategy over time

Developing a test and learn approach to your marketing strategy allows you to refine your thinking over time according to data-backed analysis of your programmes. Consumers adapt over time, so we need our approach to do the same.

Don’t just rely on high level channel performance metrics, ensure that your insights keep on evolving by evaluating your key growth segments across geographies and marketing tactics through that consistent lens. Review your ICP on a regular basis to assess any shifts and understand where your strategy may need to evolve.

How can we help?

Using a combination of in-region insight alongside higher-level, consistent segmentation provides the framework for being able to be confident in your decision-making processes across all your geographies.

Having one view of your customers that can be easily nuanced with second and third party datasets allows decision makers to have an unprecedented understanding of their customers, wherever they may be.

Combined with a platform that scales globally and consistent data that covers over 90 countries where 6.3 billion people live (80% of world population), Experian makes it possible to run data driven global planning and marketing campaigns.

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