My agency recently briefed a group of Ukrainian citizens on marketing as part of a Cincinnati-Ukraine sister city project. We spent a half-day discussing marketing, advertising and public relations. At a follow-up meeting, I worked more closely with two citizens who are also business to business marketers—one gentlemen works for an electronics manufacturer, the other works for a liquid petroleum gas provider.
We discussed their approach to direct mail, advertising, Internet marketing and trade shows and it was no surprise to learn that they face the same challenges we do. We also covered a wide range of public relations topics, from corporate governance and government relations to crisis communications and media relations.
The biggest difference was the challenge and frustrations involved with being a Ukrainian company. Ukraine is an emerging business market and customers make assumptions based on this fact. Before an international customer finalizes their first sale, they typically visit the manufacturing facility. Less to check the manufacturer’s quality assurance processes and technical capabilities, but more to confirm first hand that the company is presenting itself accurately. Both companies are ISO Certified. You cannot get ISO Certified selling snake oil out of the trunk of your car.
Both companies have international customers, Israel- and Poland-based for example. This means more than two languages, it means two of everything—including legal considerations. We discussed ways to address the above credibility concern and outlined steps to help customers do business with them more quickly and efficiently.
The truly international mechanics of their work reminded me that most North American agencies still do not truly conduct global marketing. They outsource it to a local firm. Think Global, Implement Local. That is how it should be done to leverage the cultural elements in each country. But it reminds me of earlier days when full-service marketing was a new, sought-after offering. Agencies would outsource the public relations portion of the business, or they acquiesced and hired a pr person, in an effort to get the ad business.
Speaking of the global marketplace, the bulk of public relations bloggers are getting together for a week-long, online discussion in July. Based on the program Trevor Cook has put together, it looks like plenty of interesting topics will be covered. The ever-prolific Steve Rubel will be interviewing San Jose Mercury News’ Dan Gillmor and NYU Department of Journalism Chair, Jay Rosen.
So bookmark it and mark your calendar. And if this is the first time you’re reading about this event, you should check out some of the great PR blog links to the right.