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By: Courtney Grimes on October 6th, 2020

How to Build Marketo Campaigns that Scale Globally

For marketing operations teams who are transitioning from local to global Marketo campaigns, there’s a right way and a wrong way.

For companies that have enjoyed consistent growth and success in North America, expansion into broader global markets is often the next big step. To support that step, marketing operations (MOps) teams need to ramp up to support a much higher volume of campaigns and engage leads in different languages, regions, and time zones.

If your team is being tasked with helping the company reach new, global markets, you’ll want to look closely at how it will impact your workflow and what you can do to anticipate and streamline it. A 10-email nurture program, for example, can suddenly balloon into 100 emails if you need to reach prospects in 10 languages, and every one of those emails still needs to be built, tested, and deployed. If you do the math, you’ll soon realize that creating new campaign assets in multiple languages is simply not a sustainable model. As you transition from local to global marketing, you’ll need to find new ways of doing things that tap into economies of scale or you’ll find yourself burning out quickly.

In this article, we’ll look at three essential steps for building Marketo campaigns that are capable of scaling smoothly across multiple locations, languages, and cultures.

Enrich Lead Data

Once your campaigns include multiple languages, it’s critical to identify those language preferences for every contact in your database. This means changing the way you collect data from leads and/or finding ways to backfill those details for the leads that are already in your system:

Forms can be updated to include language preferences or country of origin. If you want to reduce the number of fields in the form (always a good practice), data appending services like Demandbase or Google Places can be used to prepopulate the back end with location information based on the company the person specifies in the form.

IP addresses can be tracked to identify the location of both email recipients and landing-page visitors.

Webhooks can be used to backfill the location of existing database contacts by tracing the contact’s email domain back to the location of the business that owns it. While this approach doesn’t yield perfect results, it’s a very effective way to enrich the database with location data that can then be used to infer language preferences.

Leverage Dynamic Content

One of the most effective ways to reduce the labor involved in managing global Marketo campaigns is to use dynamic content. Building and maintaining separate campaign assets for each country you market to is likely to exceed your team’s capacity very quickly. Dynamic content enables you to keep the number of new campaign assets to a minimum by pulling different content elements into a single email, landing-page, or form template based on each lead’s location or language preferences.

At DemandLab, we use segmentations, JavaScript, and Marketo’s Apache Velocity scripting to achieve this objective for our clients. Triggered by a lead’s unique identifiers or IP address, these custom scripts pull body copy, footer text, links, images, and other content into a single template to create multiple, unique versions that meet the varied needs of a broad, global market. This enables MOps to scale up the production of multilingual assets without overwhelming the team.

Building these scripts requires some work up front, but it will save your MOps hundreds—and likely thousands—of staff hours over the longer term. It delivers other advantages, too, including more control over campaign quality and compliance, and the ability to measure campaign performance across all regions and languages.

Anatomy of a Dynamic Campaign

Many MOps teams underestimate how many variables need to be coordinated in order to create truly effective, compliant global campaigns. The ability to deliver campaigns in multiple languages, of course, is an essential part of the process, but there is so much more to consider and plan for. These are some of the core campaign elements that will ideally be dynamically loaded into your marketing templates in order to streamline operations and enhance campaign compliance and performance:

Language requirements. Too many marketers adapt their campaigns to global markets using little more than Google Translate. This will undermine their efforts to market effectively in different cultures and regions, and is likely to hurt the company’s brand and reputation. (For a deeper dive into some of the top cross-cultural mistakes MOps professionals tend to make, read this article.) Considerations must also be made beyond just showing a language with dynamic content: for example, when language codes are improperly set, your Spanish content can sound like a bad American tourist to screen readers.

Legal statements. Marketers who have finally mastered the complexities of North America’s marketing regulations will find themselves wading into even more complicated territory when they start to market globally. In many cases, these global and sometimes regional regulations require marketers to insert specific legal statements, privacy notices, and contact information into the footer of emails and landing pages.

Localized Website Links. Depending on the location of the lead, the links included in static parts of your email or landing page (including CTA links and the company link included in the footer) may need to change. In some cases, this will be a matter of convenience and accessibility (ensuring that email recipients are directed to digital properties in the correct language, for example). In other cases, including the correct link could be a legal requirement, such as showing German Data Subject Request links to German speakers in Europe.

Accessibility. Deliverability for campaign elements can be very different globally. Being able to dynamically adjust campaign content to accommodate location-specific protocols will dramatically improve your ability to successfully deliver campaigns to the desired recipients. For example, Google is blocked throughout the Great Firewall, so if you’re marketing to leads in China, you will want to be able to strip out code related to Google Analytics and dynamically replace Google fonts with a Chinese copy of that font.

Prioritize Scalability

Global marketing introduces two factors that will inevitably make campaign management harder for you and your team: higher volumes and greater complexity. Don’t assume that you can apply the same campaign techniques to your global marketing efforts. If you have been tasked with transitioning your team into global campaign management, it’s time to take a fresh look at the way you build and manage those campaigns. Focusing on enriching lead data and leveraging dynamic content will help you ensure that your process is scalable over the long term.

For more insights into the complexities of global campaign management, read part 2 of this blog post, 6 Mistakes That Will Sink Your Global Marketing Campaign.

For a real-world example of a successful, high-velocity global marketing operation, read this case study featuring the Adobe eCommerce marketing operations team.