These days, ‘going global’ can be as simple as having an international web presence. But when companies have different teams scattered all over the world, localised websites are often built in a way that drains resources and lacks consistency
Companies with global ambitions need to take more of a unified approach to their web strategy by pooling funds, assets and time to build a centralised platform that can deliver localised digital content.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And yet too many businesses still haven’t cracked it.
Businesses expanding into new regions often take the approach that a team with local knowledge is required to achieve penetration. And they are, of course, right. Local expertise can be a priceless and fundamental factor in successfully rolling out a business in a new region. Unfortunately, though, this common-sense approach often gets corrupted and clouded when applied to digital media strategy.
Yes, you need to build websites and campaigns that are localised in terms of language and content for the new region. But this doesn’t mean that everything needs to be built from scratch in every market. From website hosting to content management systems, marketing and CRM systems, existing technology can be leveraged across individual markets to get a head start.
In my experience, many major global organisations have got this wrong. They have expanded globally and built regional marketing teams that work in silos with little communication and a blinkered approach to the use of technical solutions. This ultimately means they are paying IT services companies multiple times to build the same system.
Most organisations will appoint a global marketing director to oversee their digital strategy at an international level. They will define a clear vision for their web presence, which will be enthusiastically disseminated to local marketing teams.
At this point, the unified vision becomes a divided solution as local teams inadvertently contribute to the proliferation of unconnected technical implementations. So a business with a presence in 100 different regions will make 100 different websites, in a 100 different ways, for 100 times the cost.
Instead, what’s needed is a single content management system that supports multiple sites, languages and currencies; one that can be centrally managed and is hosted on one set of infrastructure. This way, regional marketing teams can pool their budgets to build a business-wide, single, feature-rich web solution that is capable of powering existing local campaigns at low cost.
Over the years, I’ve seen first-hand an increasing need for this type of centralised digital approach. Most recently, I worked on an e-commerce platform for a company called Vitec Videocom. The business had grown rapidly through acquisitions and identified a key need to add consistency to the way in which their newly acquired sub-brands use web technologies to market and sell a wide portfolio of products.
With an approach of collating new sub-brands under a corporate umbrella – each with different identities, web systems, and hosting solutions – the business inherited the same problem that many companies create for themselves when they expand globally. So the solution lay in developing an overarching and centralised e-commerce platform that enabled new sub-brand websites to launch rapidly, at minimal cost, whilst allowing each to maintain its unique identity.
Organisations adopting a similar approach will see their software licensing, hosting, development and ongoing maintenance costs fall dramatically. And all without compromising their digital marketing strategy. After all, if we use web technologies to ease the global business landscape, it’s only befitting that those same technologies are kept as simple, unified and cost-effective as possible.
Abhay Kumar is a technology consultant at Priocept.