In our first interview of 2022, Kyler Canastra sits down with two former guests: Mário Costa, marketing and communications director at MANZ, Portugal’s leading fitness chain, and Allan Formigoni, content and email marketing manager at WeTravel, a payment and booking platform for group and multi-day travel companies. 

Tune in to hear their personal insights on how to launch successful global marketing campaigns based on real experience in the field. Their conversation touches on the importance of understanding your audience’s nuanced language, connecting with locals and finding the right channels to reach them. They also discuss how to adapt your content campaigns to local markets—whether you’re a startup on a tight budget or a global brand with plenty of resources.

You can watch the full conversation in the video above or on YouTube, listen to the podcast on Apple or Spotify, and read a recap of the conversation below!

What are the most common mistakes companies make with global marketing?

One of the most common mistakes companies make with global marketing is clumping together language markets.

For example, just because you’ve launched a successful campaign in Portugal doesn’t mean you can use the same content to reach people in Brazil, even though they technically speak the same language. The same goes for Spain and Latin America—you need to know the right channels and lingo to reach people in each unique market. 

See also: Localization strategy: Your guide to engaging a global audience

Why are global marketing strategies so essential when connecting with international audiences?

Your brand’s values and perceptions should be the same across all markets. But each market is different, so you do need to adapt your campaign for each one, while staying true to your brand’s core values and identity. 

That’s why it’s so important to create a strong global marketing strategy in your home market first, and then adapt it to different realities. If you skip this step, you’ll lose your brand identity and experience abroad. Your employees and customers in other markets may also lose a sense of belonging to your brand. 

What are the biggest challenges when implementing a global marketing strategy?

1. Capturing the nuances of each language, especially humor 

While you don’t have to craft your global marketing campaigns in English, this is often the case. And the English language happens to have a lot of flexibility and particularities that make it difficult to translate. 

According to Mário, one of the trickiest experiences he’s had was adapting a global marketing campaign to 26 different markets when working for the German company, Metro: 

“Our marketing agency started coming up with creative ideas in English, including informal language or slang. But how do you translate that to 26 markets? The English language is very particular and it’s easy to create puns and funny sentences. But when you try to apply the same humor to Polish, German or Portuguese, it’s quite challenging to transfer the funny idea without losing the core focus of the campaign.” 

See also: Too funny for words: How to translate humor in multilingual content

2. Being relevant for each market, from buying habits to holidays

Making sure the localized campaign is true to your brand’s voice and global strategy while staying relevant to your audience can be tricky, as there are holidays, habits and cultural factors to take into account for each individual market. 

“Some campaigns don’t work in different markets because those products don’t exist, or they don’t share the same habits. There are many moments in the year, like Valentine’s Day, Christmas and Easter, that don’t necessarily work across all the markets your brand operates in. So you need to pay attention to everybody and make adjustments for each market—which isn’t easy,” says Mário.

See also: 12 multilingual social media tips that really work

3. Channel and distribution—not everybody uses social media the same way

Unless you know someone, or unless you have experience working in a new market, it might take longer than expected to develop the right content strategy. You need to find out where your target audience is hanging out!

According to Allan, distribution is both the most important and challenging elements of creating a global content strategy:

For example, at WeTravel, we used LinkedIn to promote a lot of our campaigns and content for the US audience. But then, when we started working with companies in Latin America, we realized they weren’t using LinkedIn as much, but actually engaging and communicating with their peers on Facebook groups. That’s why we changed our strategy to produce content that resonates with those groups.” 

Mário agrees: 

“The habits of people in the North, in the South, in Asia and in Europe are completely different. You need to pay attention to which channels you’re going to use to talk to people. For me, two things are essential: contacting local people to really understand if the campaign makes sense and if it works; and then which channels you use to reach out to those target customers or people.

Kyler also mentioned how in a recent client project, he discovered that the Nordics were more engaged on YouTube than any other social media channel. And the rates for content creation are significantly higher in Nordic countries than in many other markets, which brings us to our next point.

4. Rates for content production differ from market to market 

Your budget might vary a lot depending on the market you’re working in. 

According to Allan: 

“Producing content in English costs way more than producing content in Spanish or Portuguese, for example. Keep in mind that depending on the market you’re targeting, the language and the type of content you want to produce, you might need to change your budget, or you might not have the resources, especially if you’re a startup.” 

Pro localization tips when you’re on a budget: If you don’t have the resources to hire a local agency or people on the ground in different countries to work full time for your brand, there are affordable ways to localize your campaigns. For example, you can hire someone in each market to provide you with a monthly report. You can also tap into your network of customers, friends and colleagues in each market to ask if something makes sense, or to see if you’re using the right lingo. 

5. Connecting with locals in every market

As a marketer, you might not have friends or colleagues in every country you’re targeting—so you’ll need to grow your network. Find people who fully understand your target audience and who you can trust to make sure your campaigns are locally relevant while still staying on brand—whether they’re freelancers, employees or even an agency. 

“If you’re a startup, like me, just try to reach out to your own community and see whatever information might help you,” says Allan. 

Mário also emphasizes the need to connect with locals:

“You need to really connect with the locals in the market you’re trying to reach—whether they’re your colleagues, customers or people in your network—to make sure that the strategy you’re creating applies to their reality. Otherwise, what you’re doing is not useful at all and won’t work.” 

See also: How to build successful relationships with local community managers

What are the best localization tools?

Allan provides a list of tools he uses, and stresses that each one offers a free version if you’re on a budget: 

  • Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Google Trends. “The good thing about these tools is that they are free and you can use the localization features to target whatever countries or whatever language you are using in your campaigns. You can use those tools to compile really specific data.” 
  • SEMrush. “I use SEMrush a lot for SEO. It’s a paid tool but you can get a free version with limited resources—though, you can still get some things out of it.”
  • Buzzsumo. “I use Buzzsumo to get training topics or content ideas, especially related to social sharing.” 
  • Spark Auto. “This is a great tool, especially when working with a niche audience. It helps you better understand where your audience is hanging out, which channels they’re using, which trending topics and hashtags they use and the people they follow.” 

See also: Top 7 localization tools to optimize all your digital content

What’s the most successful content campaign you’ve launched in the past two years? ​​

Both Mário and Allan work in industries that have been highly impacted by the pandemic—travel and fitness. As sectors that focus on providing in-person experiences, their most successful content campaigns involved switching to an online format while providing high-quality virtual experiences, as well as producing industry-specific content. 

For Allan, at WeTravel, they started launching webinars in which they interviewed experts in the travel industry who could share insights into what was going on in the constantly changing field and best practices. It was so successful that it led them to launch the WeTravel Academy, which is now driving sales and higher traffic.

For Mário, at MANZ, they launched an online training platform so trainers could learn new programs for their fitness classes. They also provide highly relevant content on their website, targeting personal trainers and club managers.

How do you launch a successful global marketing campaign in 2022?

  • Be connected to your audience, colleagues and customers
  • Don’t produce content for the sake of it. Stop and really look at how to build a long-term audience as that will pay off in the long run
  • Localization is essential for adapting your global content campaign to different markets, and there are budget-friendly ways to do it well

Learn more about Mário and Allan in our previous podcast episodes.

For more insights into global marketing campaigns, check out:

To read the full transcript, click on page number 2 below.