Marketing Strategy

Global Marketing Trends: How IBM Escaped Email Hell

By March 9, 2016 No Comments

It’s no secret that, thanks to the Internet, brands have more opportunity to reach audiences around the world than ever before. But while being recognized worldwide is certainly exciting, getting the right attention in global markets comes with its own list of massive marketing challenges.

“Cross-regional team collaboration is a key element in successful global marketing orchestration.”—Forbes

For example: Think about how you would feel (or have felt, as many of us have done this before) after sending an email to 100,000 contacts in your database only to find out that your subject line contained an egregious typo, causing open rates to flop. Not a good feeling.

Now think about how you would feel if you were the global brand manager responsible for localizing KFC in China, and you completely missed the fact that “finger-licking good” translates to “eat your fingers off” in Chinese. Yikes.

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Your subscribers will likely forgive you for using “their” when it should have been “there,” but it’s going to be a lot tougher to explain why the Chinese market perceives KFC as synonymous with cannibalism—not to mention the millions of dollars it’s going to take to repair the misconception.

The good news is that mistakes like this can absolutely be avoided. But the solution resides—dare I say it—in a revamp of internal processes.

Now before you run away scared and angry that I suggested the impossible, listen up.

According to Forbes, one of the greatest challenges facing global marketing leaders today is cross-team collaboration:

“Cross-regional team collaboration is a key element in successful global marketing orchestration…yet nearly half (47%) of low-performing marketing organizations’ leaders cited collaboration across different teams and stakeholders as a capability weakness. Being able to take an activation that’s successful in one market and then tailor and re-deploy it to other strategic markets like Brazil or India has increasingly become a critical capability for global brands.”—”Five New Challenges for Tomorrow’s Global Marketing Leaders,” Forbes CMO Network

Digital channels have created a borderless customer experience for B2B buyers. Top-performing global marketing organizations need to know how to effectively restructure their teams and processes to ensure consistency across the customer experience, regardless of channel or physical location.

Here’s how IBM did it.

How IBM Escaped Email Hell with Kapost

As a global B2B brand with a big reputation and a lot at stake, IBM knew they needed an efficient process for content development to ensure consistency and accuracy at every touchpoint along the customer journey.

From production and translation to approvals and distribution, IBM’s internal teams needed to be aligned and able to collaborate and communicate easily.

But—as Tara Dunn, Social Business Manager at IBM, quickly realized—finding an efficient process for managing content for seven sectors with teams around the globe is a big ask.

“Everything was in email so there were lots of crossed wires,” Tara said. “We kept it together, but it was definitely labor-intensive.”

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The need to collaborate on content and initiatives with her core team, executives, and stakeholders around the world in real time was unavoidable. Tara needed a process that could work dynamically to coordinate cross-functionally and give her teams the visibility they needed into the content life cycle.

Enter Kapost.

To get the visibility she needed to orchestrate her marketing initiatives across teams, Tara turned to the Kapost Content Planner. With the help of a centralized master calendar that can update in real time and be embedded into internal wikis for easy sharing, Tara could finally say goodbye to her spreadsheets and escape email hell once and for all.

Saying Goodbye to Spreadsheets

Before Kapost, Tara used spreadsheets to manually manage her publishing cycle. The process was laborious and long, at times requiring her to update cells for hours at a time. And regardless of the time she spent updating, her teams still weren’t getting the most up-to-date and accurate information.

“[The global teams] didn’t know the context,” Tara said. “Who is this for? Who is our audience? That’s completely changed. Now when they go into our Kapost content calendar, they can open it up and get all of this information in one glance.”

With Kapost, Tara can now share custom views of her editorial calendar with hundreds of IBM employees, giving them visibility into campaign plans and deadlines.

Escaping Email Hell

Email was not designed to be a workflow tool.

Using email to keep track of timelines, edits, and approvals is messy at best. To escape never-ending email hell, Tara needed a streamlined workflow that existed outside of email and allowed her to keep track of important tasks, deadlines, and comments in once place.

“Kapost has become a verb: ‘to Kapost’ something,” Tara said. “‘We’re going to Kapost this; have you Kapost-ed that?’

“[Kapost] contains our activity and streamlines our conversations in a way that allows for content to be produced with a lot more accountability,” she continued. “There’s a lot of transparency around who’s taking ownership and where to go to for a piece of content.”

Moving conversations out of email and into Kapost has not only dramatically sped up the production process with visible content deadlines, but it has also kept everyone within the organization on the same page.

“Kapost has become so useful to the point that I don’t even have to work hands-on in it,” Tara said. “I can act as a consultant and an auditor and make sure I’m there for high-level problems and issues. But the day-to-day can actually be handled by the sector leads themselves.”

Don’t let bad habits get in the way of your global marketing. Get the visibility you need to work cross-functionally in order to deliver a consistent customer experience to the world.

Erica Lindberg

About Erica Lindberg

Erica is a former Content Marketing Manager @ Kapost. Equal parts creative and strategic, Erica loves to the push the envelope of what's possible on the new marketing frontier. Most of her ah-ha! moments come while hiking in the backcountry or while riding her bike around the Colorado Front Range. Get in touch @EricaLindberg_