Everyone who has studied marketing has likely been introduced to the 4 P’s of the Marketing Mix, which is as follows: Product, Promotion, Place, and Price. These 4 P’s were initially coined by E. Jerome McCarthy, an American marketing professor and the author of the influential textbook Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.
The 4 P’s have served as the cornerstone of modern marketing for the past century; in a nutshell, they are the core concepts for creating the right product at the right price in the right place with effective promotion. Sounds easy, but it’s hard to do!
I was so inspired by the 4 P’s that I created a riff for my book, Global Content Marketing in the form of: Plan, Produce, Promote, and Perfect.
Let me break down the specifics of each one and how it can help you leverage your content in the world of digital media.
Plan: Strategy Before Execution
I want to stress that it’s all about strategy before execution. BTW, technology is not a strategy. Strategy is all about planning: Identify what you want to accomplish first, then determine how you want to get there. A plan is a continuous process of planning; check out my blog on plan vs. planning.
It’s crucial to collaborate with relevant stakeholders on regional and country teams to create a global content marketing strategy that aligns target audiences, key success metrics, priority countries, and strategic editorial topics with your business objectives. Here is a two-pager template that you can use to align your team.
The alignment of objectives and strategy is vital because it ultimately dictates content creation, promotion, and measurement. Definitely don’t skip this step.
After publishing my book, I designed a template on how to create a global content marketing plan. Check out this video.
Produce: Create Content That Matters
As you roll out content, it’s important to think about relevant stories that meet identified countries’ needs with different formats based on strategic editorial topics; these should address the target audience’s pain points, desires, and challenges.
Producing content requires editorial planning. For global content planning, you need to take into account budget, country, and language priorities. In addition, you also need to take into account content formats such as PDF, audio, or video.
Managing content and producing content on a global scale is messy and complicated. The first step is to create a list of content that the Headquarters will create and review with the geographies.
At the same time, geographies should also have the autonomy to create their own local content as they see fit. It’s constantly going back and forth. Content planning and implementation is a two-way motion that never stops.
Having regular meetings between headquarters and geographies is a great way to keep communication going.
The key is that corporate needs to understand they can’t support every country. At some point, they will need to prioritize their support. At the same time, geographies or countries will need to step up with budgets and resources in order to scale.
Promote: Distribute Content In The Digital Era
Establish a market-driven content distribution process using paid and social media. Publish the appropriate formats of content with the optimal frequency in targeted channels.
Use tools and data to leverage your media buys and social media content distribution. This will make your content promotion process run very smoothly.
I firmly believe that promotion needs to happen at the local level. Let’s use social media as an example: social media in each country needs to be in the local language with local support.
If you don’t have the budget or resources to support it, I often suggest my clients skip local social media, instead focusing on different channels such as local events or email marketing which can be scaled a little easier. You need to determine what channels work for your company at the country level.
In some cases, the media agency of record in a company will manage a global media buy. Local still needs to engage with the local media agency of record to ensure media flights are executed accordingly.
Perfect: Measure And Optimize To Achieve Maximum Impact
Continuously optimize and measure the impact of content marketing as part of an ongoing feedback loop. Define goals and use tools and processes to maximize the effectiveness of content production and content syndication. The goal of this step is to improve the previous 3 P’s: Plan, Produce, and Promote.
Quantifying content ROI is hard. I wrote a blog post about this, check it out. You need to understand that content can’t stand alone. To showcase the value of content, it needs to be part of something else, such as email marketing, media buy, website, etc.
Therefore, it’s important for the content team to co-own some key marketing metrics, especially because some channels’ success is heavily dependent on content.
Global = Headquarters & Local Working Together
When we add the word ‘Global’ in front of ‘Content Marketing,’ it starts to feel like a Herculean task, but ‘Global’ doesn’t mean that we have to market to all countries. (Deep breaths.)
To make this more digestible, let’s break down ‘Global’ and ‘Content Marketing’ into two elements:
Global in this context simply means headquarters working together with local teams to prioritize target countries and audiences and to allocate budget and resources accordingly.
By the way, ‘headquarters’ isn’t necessarily the main office. It’s a group of people with organization-wide responsibilities who are not focusing on specific local markets. Corporate persons can also reside in the local markets, but they are responsible for organization-wide activities. In smaller companies, marketing may wear both hats of managing organization-wide and local market responsibilities.
Local, meanwhile, refers to regions or countries where the company has a local presence. Local presence does not necessarily mean the company has a physical office in a country. To be efficient and save money, some companies choose to handle an entire region out of a single central office, but regional marketing will assess each local market differently.
Think And Act Both Globally And Locally
In today’s world; it’s no longer efficient to “Think globally, act locally.” For content marketing to scale to different countries effectively, we need to think and act both globally and locally.
During the “Plan” stage, corporate sets up objectives and strategies, yet the local teams should weigh in and offer feedback. In other words, local isn’t responsible for just “acting” just like corporate can’t do all the “thinking.” The local teams must contribute to the overall global content planning.
During the “Produce” stage, there is active thinking and acting on what content should be created, localized, and translated from both the corporate and local teams.
During the “Promote” stage, the local teams are vigorously acting to implement regional or country-specific promotional tactics to align with the overall content marketing objectives and goals.
During the “Perfect” stage, the corporate and local teams may think and act collectively by determining the right measurement tools and metrics to use. In order to perfect local execution, the regional and country teams share promotional results and content measurements with corporate and other local teams.
In general, each company addresses global content marketing differently based on its organizational structures, budget allocations, corporate cultures, products, and services. Yet the 4 P’s of Global Content Marketing do not change. Global marketing requires close collaboration between headquarters and local teams to achieve corporate goals. Once we understand what “global” means in this context, the weight on our shoulders doesn’t feel quite so heavy, and we can see a clear path to globalize our content marketing efforts.
Reach out if you have any questions on how to scale content across regions.