Centralize or decentralize?

The answer for this typical question revealed itself while executing integrated marketing programs in cooperation with international and multi-lingual teams across Europe.

Integrated marketing is centralised by design

Over the last couple of years we have seen many large international companies struggling with questions that concern the selection of tools in marketing automation and training marketeers for long-range planning. The general belief is that integrated marketing needs to be centralized in order to achieve end-to-end control.

Central marketing protects the brand. It designs the proposition and ensures consistent messaging. It dictates SEO and creates guidance with strategic marketing plans.

Centralised marketing appears to be the logical choice if your goal is to master control over data integration, consistency in brand exposure and growing complexity in communication.

But what happens when centrally developed strategies are executed into a multicultural market space where not only language but also regional business practice influences your original ideas?

Managing a sales dialogue requires a local approach for sure.

When you offer services in a multilingual market you are facing challenges that will immediately disrupt a centralised approach for digital marketing.

Once the centralized program is ready, execution and deployment are often perceived to be futile. But execution isn't just a 'simple' translation. Your market demands local interpretations of industry terms and customer buying cycles.

Performing keyword tests in various countries and languages requires a local expertise of the market. Legislation is different per country so your central concept may also require a regional approach. And of course sales engagement and distribution require regional interactions.

In short, you need a regional execution in every country.

What is the real challenge in a centralised approach?

Marketing tools today deliver personalised information to your visitors presenting the right content at the exact right time. Building this content requires substantially more time and new skills. Marketers need to become multi-disciplined customer buying cycle experts who can also operate the newest tools in content production and analytics.

So, of course you need a central strategic plan in order to create guidance for your local marketers. But be careful to assume that execution of an international program can be executed as just a simple standardised translation program. That simply isn't possible.


Why? Because digital means interaction and engagement. You are managing a dialogue so it's crucial to adapt to local circumstances. The customer buying cycle experience, as with any sales approach, demands a personal and local touch.

Therefore, you should deliver guidelines for propositions and standardisation in objectives, assets and tools in order to achieve the daily end-to-end analysis on business KPIs. But also give control to the local specialists, such as agencies that deliver the commitment to turn your program into a success.

Decentralisation and local control are absolute necessities for a successful execution in your regional markets.

Visualize the benefits of digital marketing for sales

Calling on many years of practical experience, our digital strategy experts are ready to help you address any challenges you have in online traffic and lead generation.

Together with you, they will inspire our creatives to create a distinctive online presence with one goal only: converting leads into sales.

Contact us to see how this is done using our unique, self-developed marketing automation tools.

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