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INTERNATIONAL MARKETING: Roundtable - Marketing without frontiers

David Burnand: Perception plays a big part in it. When we first started moving towards a global marketing structure there was a lot of resistance with people not believing it would work. But if you give people a framework and allow them to adjust for regional differences – but still work with a common messaging set – the reality is it can work.

Stuart Wheldon: There's a push to centralise marketing departments, especially in tech. And a lot of US companies centralise their global role, put in technology and provide the field with the tools they need. However, the problem is that the tools are not flexible enough to meet the countries' different needs. So, for instance, a lead in China might be different than what a lead is in the US. If you don't take that into account when you roll out to Asia or through Europe, it can cause friction.

Julian Burrand: This is a universal challenge, it's not just about B2B. When I was at Mars, power was very much in the regions, but there was a strategic committee that determined what a brand stood for from an essence point of view. The problems came when the leader of a particular brand would decide to make it too central. Trying to impose this solution was where it fell apart.