When someone asks me what I do, I often say, “marketing,” just to keep things simple. The typical response is, “Wow! That’s so fun!” And I always chuckle and agree, although what I’m usually wryly thinking is, “You have no idea.” The prevailing idea of marketing tends to focus on colors, spin and fluff, with no nod given to the thought or strategy involved. When in fact, marketing is an extremely fast-paced, demanding and strategic career.
For me, the best part of the job is working collaboratively with a global network of clients and partners, while being based in a small city that I love. I’m constantly learning new things, not least of which is how to work seamlessly across borders and time zones.
Think global, act local
We have to work hard today to make sure we’re thinking things through—whether that’s assembling the right team, forming and fostering the right relationships or even investing in the right technology. Most of all, we have to think as if we’re in the local market.
Do you remember when, not so long ago, everyone watched the evening news? There were only a few sources of information—perhaps three main TV networks in the United States. Although this has changed, there are still many countries that limit the earned media channels available for news. They’re even more stringent about the dissemination of paid media, like pharma ads.
Whether it’s BfArM in Germany, or the MHRA in the UK, the acronyms can be daunting!
That’s just one of the reasons we’ve found that it works best to actually enlist the aid of a few staff members in the local market to validate assumptions as the project proceeds. The value of having a regulatory counterpart on the ground can’t be overstated—they can help gain consensus among local colleagues, navigate the legal workings and identify potential obstacles to success before they actually crop up.
Work your plan
Creating a global action plan is a critical first step toward success. Identifying a global lead or manager ensures that one person is responsible for keeping all parts of the work moving together.
Document how you’ll all work together and when you’ll work separately. That means accounting for differing regulatory tracks and laws, as well as how you’ll handle time zones, translation, reviews and revisions. Review your plan frequently and hold all teammates accountable for sticking to it. Communicate, and then over-communicate.
Keep up with innovation
It’s easy to think about the United States as the center of the universe when we live and work here. When we look at other regions of the world or other specific countries, we find that technological innovation happens both faster and slower than we might expect. So we need to keep pace with what’s happening in the local market. Small cell phones and SMS were ubiquitous in much of Europe long before the United States caught up, for example.
Localizing marketing plans is one step toward a smooth launch. Combining those plans with innovative technology really lets them take flight. The tools available today make it even simpler to effectively communicate a brand’s value across borders. And that makes my job more fun every day.
Sharon Trzaskos is a member of the Account Service team and has extensive experience with product launches in both the United States and Europe.