August 10, 2023

Going Global: An International Marketing Starter Pack

Have product-market fit, will travel.   

International expansion is an exciting B2B growth opportunity, but marketers have a mind-boggling set of variables to consider. From relocating headquarters to navigating language barriers to engaging analysts, there’s a lot to manage. Luckily, this episode with Jacques Botbol, Olga Noha, and Dean Nicolls dives into what it takes to take a brand global without getting lost in translation.  

Tune in as we hear from three experienced international marketers who know how to go the extra mile.

What You’ll Learn 

  • How 3 B2B marketers navigate international expansions 
  • How to structure and manage global teams 
  • How to translate brand and communications across languages

Renegade Marketers Unite, Episode 357 on YouTube

Resources Mentioned 


  • [4:03] Jacques Botbol’s international background  
  • [4:55] Verbit’s international expansion  
  • [9:05] On moving HQ and expanding abroad 
  • [11:50] Olga Noha: Global CMO of the Year 
  • [12:51] Relocating SplitMetrics to Boston 
  • [14:52] Gartner’s influence abroad 
  • [16:23] KPRs for global expansion 
  • [19:36] Dean Nicolls: Lessons from Starbucks 
  • [20:27] Oosto’s international expansion 
  • [21:47] Global infrastructures 
  • [22:33] Building channel partner relationships 
  • [25:50] On CMO Huddles 
  • [27:58] Translating global comms & taglines 
  • [35:02] Words of Wisdom: Expand internationally

Highlighted Quotes 

“It's a question of statistics at the beginning. You meet a lot of people, you create relationships, and the more aggressive you are, the faster you will get there.” — Jacques Botbol @TastewiseAI Share on X

“When talking about global expansion, I’d highlight 4 key pillars: Timing, Target Market, GTM Approach, and Brand Messaging.” —@OlgaNoha @SplitMetrics Share on X

“Where there’s a good product/market fit, really trust the marketers in that region, and listen. You shouldn’t assume what works in America will work in Israel or in Singapore.” —@Dean_Nicolls @jumio Share on X

Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Jacques Botbol, Olga Noha, and Dean Nicolls


Drew Neisser: Hey, it’s Drew. I’m excited that you’re here to listen to another episode of Renegade Marketers Unite. And if this is your first time listening then welcome. This show is brought to you by CMO Huddles, the only marketing community dedicated to inspiring B2B greatness and that has a logo featuring penguins. Wait, what? Yeah, well, a group of these curious, adaptable, and problem solving birds is called the Huddle. And the B2B marketers at CMO Huddles are all that and more. Huddling together to heat up the coldest job in the C-Suite. And now that CMO Huddles has three membership tiers, we’re ready to inspire B2B greatness at all levels. To learn more, check out

Now before we get to the episode, here’s a shout out to the professionals at Share Your Genius. We started working with him over a year ago to make this show even better and have been blown away by their strategic and executional prowess. If you’re thinking about starting a podcast or want to turbocharge your current show, be sure to talk to Rachel Downey at and tell her Drew sent you. Okay, let’s get on with today’s episode.

Narrator: Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, possibly the best weekly podcast for CMOs and everyone else looking for innovative ways to transform their brand, drive demand, and just plain cut through. Proving that B2B does not mean boring to business. Here’s your host and Chief Marketing renegade Drew Neisser.

Drew Neisser: Hello, Renegade Marketers. Welcome to Renegade Marketers Unite, the top rated podcast for B2B CMOs and other marketing obsessed individuals. You’re about to listen to a recording of CMO Huddles Studio, our live show featuring the CMOs of CMO Huddles, a community that’s sharing, caring, and daring each other to greatness every day of the week.

This time we’ve got a conversation with Huddlers Olga Noha of SplitMetrics, Jacques Botbol of Tastewise, and Dean Nicolls of the Jumio Corporation on international marketing and all of the challenges and ways to work around those challenges when you’re dealing with a global company, let’s dive in.

I’m your host Drew Neisser Live from my home studio in New York City. When I’m not reading about Ben Franklin, or drinking martinis with my wife or swinging a racket, most likely I’m talking to CMOs about their pressing challenges. And while I’m usually comfortable offering advice, often from firsthand experience, there is one area that is quite out of my league and that’s international marketing. In truth, the world’s a big place. And when you take into account cultural, social and legal issues, language barriers, differences in demographics, natural environment, technology, and even weather, marketers have a mind boggling set of variables to consider when you expand into other countries.

But lucky for you, we have three active international marketers with us today ready to answer your questions and mine. So with that, let’s bring on Jacques Botbol, CMO at Hello, Jacques, how are you?

Jacques Botbol: I’m good, and Drew, how are you doing?

Drew Neisser: I’m fantastic. So now where are you?

Jacques Botbol: I am in Israel in our offices here.

Drew Neisser: Well, perfect. So at least we have one international marketer who is in fact international. Speaking of that, I couldn’t help but notice, I’m trying to figure out this, you went to high school in Madrid, college in Israel, and have a typically French first name. Connect these dots please.

Jacques Botbol: My family is Jewish Moroccan. So that’s why we have the name, it’s from my grandfather. I’m actually named after my grandfather. I’m originally from Venezuela, actually, I was born in Venezuela, lived many years in Spain. And then I moved to Israel, for university and then I stayed in Israel because of my wife. And here I am.

Drew Neisser: Amazing. So your grandfather being Moroccan probably spoke French, because the French occupied Morocco, it all makes sense. But you are definitely a man of the world. Can I ask how many languages you speak?

Jacques Botbol: I speak four languages. I used to speak them better. But you know, if you ask my parents, they say that I don’t know how to speak Spanish. If you ask my wife, she said that I don’t know how to speak Hebrew. And if I ask you, you will probably say that I don’t know how to speak English. And then I have good friends that say that I do not know how to speak Italian.

Drew Neisser: All right, well, it’s more than most, so it’s very cool. So let’s set the stage now, you been at for over five years, can you give a bit of history on the company and how it’s expanded internationally and just make sure you mention how many countries you’re in right now.

Jacques Botbol: So we are a transcription and captioning solution. We are the leaders in the market, we are today in multiple industries. If it’s an occasion, if it’s the broadcast media, all the closed captions that you see, in the big channels or in the OTT, that’s probably us. In the legal market, and in several industries, corporate America and in the world. In general, we are a very young company five years also, I actually was the first person in the business. And we actually, as a Israeli company that started as an Israeli company, today, we’re an American company, but in general, you start small, you try to go to the local market. And once you see the you have something strong, you go very fast to the American market. So we went pretty fast to the American market and with a mix of great execution and, as always, luck, and we found our product market fit pretty fast. And we really penetrated every vertical that we wanted to go, specifically, education and media legal very, very fast. And then once we felt that we had a very good solid foundation, then we started to go to multiple countries. Today we are in Canada, in Europe, in Australia and New Zealand, as customers speaking. Globally, we have offices in a lot of places. We also have an office, for example, in Ukraine. And because we are a transcription company, we also have a professional network of transcribers that work in our marketplace. And we’re talking about people in more than 120 countries today.

Drew Neisser: Wow. So I know a couple of other Israeli companies that started in Israel and then move their headquarters. What’s that about? And what does that do for you?

Jacques Botbol: So in general, we’re pretty used to working with the American market. To be honest, I’ve been here and in Israel working eight years. In general, I work in American times, like to me working in the Israeli times. I work from eight in the morning, but my work finishes at 2am. We’re used to it right? What are the big markets are so Israel, you know, historically, it was a place where you like do a POC, but it’s not a place where you can do hypergrowth. United States allows it to be a hypergrowth company and that’s why we all target those countries. They’re all industries that security, for example, that is very strong in this side of the world also. But you know, in our industry specifically and the industries that I come from, it has been always US has been the first target because the biggest market always.

Drew Neisser: Got it, right. So you get the proof of concept in Israel, you get the credibility that you have technology, because certainly Israel is known for that. So talk about the hardest part of the expansion in getting from Israel, where you got the proof of concept to this.

Jacques Botbol: So looking in general, you know, you go to different markets. US when we did the POC here, the first market was really the US that we penetrated that we felt that we had started our real growth and everything happened very fast in varied. We say that a month in varied is like seven years in other places. So in general, when you’re going to new markets, what you’re selling in one market doesn’t fit the other a lot of times. It can be that they’re buying the same product, but they’re not buying it for the same reasons. And sometimes it’s the same persona, but they’re not buying the same product. So you really need to feed each vertical. And we’re very big believers that in order to go into markets, you need to know people that know the markets, you know, and historically, where we grew organically. And we’ve always tried to bring the person for example, in UK that knows UK, in the last year, we also start expanding very aggressively also by acquisitions. And we’re also expanding geographically by acquisitions. And one of the reasoning behind this is we’re actually buying domain expertise, not only national or local, but also how to sell in that country, transcription and captioning at the end of the day.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, that makes so much sense. As I think about it, every single country, and I know you must have dealt with this where they said, “Well, you know, Japan’s a little bit different than this one.” And so acquisition makes sense. That creates all sorts of other different brand challenges. But at least for the moment, as we’re focused on expanding internationally and making sure we sort of get this, it sounds easy. You come to the US, but you’re this little Israeli company. Talk about that first win and how’d you get in the door? How did you even crack it?

Jacques Botbol: So I’ve heard from my colleagues here in the CMO Huddles the same, if you have value, product value and as a marketer is much easier to enter anywhere you feel invincible. And I think that’s something that we have inherited from day one that I started the business. We had a really clear value that we were providing to the customer. So when you go to the customer with that confidence. And you’re also utilizing the product because I’m utilizing the product as a marketer, transcription and captioning. Obviously, you feel very comfortable. And I think it’s a question of statistics at the beginning. You meet a lot of people, you create relationships. And the more aggressive you are, the faster you will get there. I remember my first week in, it was pretty funny, because the CEO was like, “Okay, what are we doing?” I told him, we’re really hot in the two months that I was doing transitioning my previous company already set up Salesforce, all their marketing campaigns, everything and the first week, where they had 30 demos scheduled. So it was really, really aggressive in that sense. So I’m a big believer that as long as we have, as marketers, a real product value, it’s about messaging and positioning ourselves to the right people. And it takes time until you find the right personas, or geography or type of product.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, okay. Well, you make it sound easy again, but we know it isn’t. But we’re gonna keep moving. And we’ll come back to that. I mean, the key thing that I heard in this whole conversation is, you knew you had product market fit, you knew you had a competitive offering, and if you could just get in front of the right people, you would have success, and that proved to be true. Okay. All right. Well, let’s welcome Olga Noha the CMO of SplitMetrics. Hello, Olga. How are you?

Olga Noha: Hi, Drew, thank you very much for having me here.

Drew Neisser: Now, where are you?

Olga Noha: I’m in Boston, Massachusetts.

Drew Neisser: Got it. But I know that’s not where you’re originally from.

Olga Noha: Originally, I’m from Ukraine.

Drew Neisser: And that has got to be just a heartbreaking situation for you.

Olga Noha: It is. But at the same time, the global nature of our business helps a lot. And that’s why I’m excited to be able to contribute to today’s conversation, because that’s big opportunities for companies, they want to tackle anti-leveraging.

Drew Neisser: I couldn’t help but notice you were given the global CMO award of the year 2020 by Enterprise IT when you were with Creatio. First of all, that’s quite an honor. What did you do that resonated with the judges?

Olga Noha: That’s definitely an honor for me, and that was during my tenure with Creatio, I genuinely loved my journey with the company. And I think that’s a pretty unique case. And it triggered the attention of the judges of the award, just to give you a little bit of background. Creatio is one platform to automate workflows and CRM with no code. And the company has been founded in Europe, has got a large market share in that region, it’s got a great product that delivered value to our customers. It had great customer base, who loved working with a company, pretty robust channel network, but all of that was local in one specific region.

So at some point, we sat down and said to ourselves, “We have all these great assets in place, but we deliver them only to the local market. Why don’t we expand globally to deliver this value to companies around the globe.” And there we are. So we have committed to that path, we realized we need to have feet on the ground. I was one of the first people to get relegated to Boston to establish over US based and global operations, our Boston office and since then, the company with basically zero brand awareness outside of those local European markets, has become no customers, no partners in the US, has become a category leader recognized not only by our great customer base and expanding network of partners, but also by major research firms such as Gartner and Forrester. Gartner has named Creatio leader in two magic quadrants on par with multibillion dollar companies such as Salesforce, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, Adobe.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. So let me stop you there, because it’s such an interesting thing. And we’ve talked a little bit about analysts in the importance of those in our Huddles. I’m curious, though, when it comes to international does a Gartner naming you and a quadrant have resonance outside the US?

Olga Noha: Specifically with Gartner, they assess global players in their quadrants, the have a condition, dependent on the quadrant, but the company should have presence in more than two geographical regions. for example, India, Europe, and North America or AIPAC and Middle East. So yes, they are working with international players. They can happen in different countries or territories, but they should have global rather than just local presence to be able to be considered and recognized by Gartner.

Drew Neisser: I get that Gartner wants to show an international portfolio, I guess where I was going was do they had the same influence with international buyers that they do with US based buyers?

Yeah, it’s so interesting, because I didn’t expect as we were talking about building international, and it makes sense that you would end up that, analyst relations would be an important part of it, but I get it now. It’s all about credibility. And as you go into your market, they haven’t heard of your brand. But you can say, “oh, by the way, Gartner ranked us top in this quadrant.” That’s a big icebreaker, if you will, to get you through it.

Olga Noha: They do. Some regions, it can be even more than within the US because emerging markets that are only growing, they need some North Star, if you will, and the trade partner or some other research firms at that. So for some regions, the value or importance of it can be even more important than in the US.

We work with the segment of midsize and large enterprises. When such a company is considering implementation of enterprise information system such as CRM, for example, they will not necessarily just Google and base their decisions on the information found, right, but they need some validation from professional research agencies such as Gartner or Forrester, in order to make that decision. So it’s their go to research that they would consider in order to move forward with an enterprise information system.

Drew Neisser: So we’ve established that analysts are an important part of this international playbook. Can you give us one or two other things that you think have really been important that you would always put a steps in your playbook for expanding internationally?

Olga Noha: Absolutely. When we are talking about global expansion, I would highlight at least four key pillars. The first one is timing, it is the right time to make a move? What are the opportunities and risks? What are the window of opportunity? And how fast does it shrink? The second one is actual markets, what would be the best target markets? Is the product legal there at all? What are restrictions, compliance issues and which consideration competitive landscape? That’s pillar number two markets. The third pillar is what is the right GDM approach to working on this new territories? How do they want to enter the new markets? Do they want to build physical presence or sell remotely? Do they want to go direct or through channel partners? Do they want to go with unified or customized product and pricing? And the fourth pillar is the marketing mix itself, unified or customized? Do they want to deliver a single brand story or different messages in different markets? How do they want your distribution channels to differ? So all these things are important. That’s part of my playbook. And I can give you an example using Creatio as a foundation. So when we were talking about these aspects, the first one was timing, and reflecting on our process with Creatio’s international expansion, asking myself, what would I do differently? I always face the question, why haven’t we done it earlier? So why haven’t you gone global earlier? And that aspect, I think it’s important for every company that is growing global, the window of opportunity is there now in most cases, right, but it can shrink really fast. So you need to act fast, especially given you have the product that is ready, you have great product market fit. So you need to act now.

Drew Neisser: I love the story, we’re going to come back to it. The highlight here of timing markets go to market strategy and marketing mix. Great overview. I love that, in retrospect, your perspective is we could have gone earlier. But you know, that’s always the thing. It’s like, why didn’t we do this, but you only know that and feel that after you’ve been successful.

All right, we’re gonna come back to you. But Dean Nichols, CMO of Oosto has been waiting patiently. So Dean, thank you. How are you?

Dean Nicolls: I’m great. Thanks. How are you?

Drew Neisser: I am good. Thank you. Now I was digging in, and by the way, Dean is joining us from his vacation on his cell phone. So if his connection is a little shaky, please cut him some slack. The guy is here on vacation, not on vacation at this moment. So digging into your LinkedIn background, I noticed you spent four years at Starbucks. And so first question is, are you still a fan of their coffee? And if so, what’s your drink of choice?

Dean Nicolls: I actually never liked coffee.

Drew Neisser: That’s amazing. I can’t believe it. You’ve worked to Starbucks and don’t like coffee. Well, that’s dedication. But one of the things is so interesting about that company is every day people have a choice of whether they come back or not. And so many do. So I’m curious, what are some of the lessons that you learn perhaps, from that very B2C experience that you still apply this many years later in B2B?

Dean Nicolls: I think there’s a few things I think one is to test everything. So at Starbucks, I was part of the catalog, the online business, and the notion of testing subject lines testing, even the stock of the stationary, we tested everything. And from that you learn, you iterate, you get better. And so apply that as much as they can to the B2B world. That’s super relevant. The other thing is to think scale. Starbucks being a global brand, we thought, if we can reach 500 businesses, how can we reach 1000? How can we reach 5000? So how can we scale so that our reach is significantly more than maybe what our list would have started with?

Drew Neisser: Yeah, then it’s interesting, because that’s what we’re really talking about in this international conversation is scale. So let’s switch gears and move to Oosto. You’ve been there nearly a year and a half, where do things stand on the international front? Like, how many countries are you in? How is your team structured?

Dean Nicolls: So we were founded in Israel, we’re now headquartered in New York. So we’re very much international, at least 25 countries around the globe. And we’ll provide visual AI, which includes facial recognition, body recognition, you know, businesses, commercial establishments, whether they be stadiums, casinos, you know, and make them a safer place by recognizing either authorized personnel, in the case of corporate buildings, like you think about a stadium, or even a casino. So instead of having to memorize faces we leverage facial recognition, among other types of visual AI to identify those bad actors. Yeah, so we’ve expanded quite a bit since we founded about five years ago and we’re now in most of the international markets and Asia Pacific is growing strong as well. And we’re trying to obviously expand our footprint as we speak.

Drew Neisser: Interesting. So another classic Israeli cybersecurity story, probably folks that came out of the army in the tech sector, you and Jacques are going to have to compare notes offline. The company is still based in Israel they haven’t made the move to move their headquarters to the US?

Dean Nicolls: So we’re now based in New York, and the hub of the company is still based in Israel.

Drew Neisser: Got it. So the technology and so forth. Interesting, very similar story, five year period, but different categories and solutions. So talk a little bit about, from an international marketing standpoint, how is your team structured? And how does that work?

Dean Nicolls: We’re developing kind of a marketing footprint in each of the major GEOs which is Middle East, Asia, Pacific, etc. So we’re expanding marketers, we’re also expanding the footprint of channel managers. And so partners, something Olga touched on, but it’s super important to make sure before you go into the market, that you have the channel. And so right now, we’re primarily an English only site. It’s not just a matter of localizing the website, right. So it’s a big decision. And you got to have the infrastructure in place before you go into that.

Drew Neisser: Yeah. And we’re going to talk about that with everybody about the whole whether to translate or not, and how, but you mentioned channel, and I just want to provide some clarity. So what we’re talking about is, essentially organizations that can represent your product and help accelerate the growth by being, if you will, acting as agents on your behalf. And in Huddles, it’s come up a lot as a way of rapidly expanding internationally without having to put your own people on the ground or developing that local market expertise. But I’m imagining there’s some specific things that you need to do from your end from a marketing standpoint to support the channels to get there.

Dean Nicolls: And many of our channel partners are companies, you’ve heard of like Honeywell, and Johnson Controls, for example, and so you have a global footprint. So we still need to train them enable them and then enable like local sales team, they might be different, right? So the partners that we decide to team up with in Asia Pacific, may be very different. And so partner selection is super important. But then how we engage with them, ties into their own global scale, as well.

Drew Neisser: Thank you for that clarification. Because if you’re dealing with a massive global company, and they’re selling you as a complete solution, and you’re a component, if you will, an ingredient in there, the good news is they have the relationships, the bad news is they’re completely in control, right. And your brand, essentially, at that moment becomes an ingredient brand.

Dean Nicolls: It’s super important that you establish that upfront. All of that is super critical to the whole process.

Drew Neisser: So the other part of it is, when you’re dealing with, you’re a small startup, they’re a giant multinational fortune 500 company, how do you attempt to get value other than the product from your relationship? Is there anything that you can do that get you beyond, oh, you’re just part of this solution that helped them be a little more excited about including you. I’ve seen situations where a small company was the company that helped that larger company get the deal closed. So I’m just curious, in this, how you—at least in the case of Oosto—how you’ve been able to get them excited enough to represent your brand and the way you want it represented?

Dean Nicolls: There’s probably two parts of that. There’s probably their own product teams excited about your solution. So we often talk about one plus one equals three. First solution, work with their solution and enables them to have a lot more capabilities by embedding your solution within their. If you sell them on that value and that value prop and they need to be bought in, after they need to work with the individual sales team and that’s really the sales teams around the globe. And that, to me is the key to success in terms of working with larger channel players.

Drew Neisser: Got it. I think we could sit back and say that any channel partner, whether it’s a big company like that, or perhaps a distributor of some kind, or a reseller, it’s still one plus one equals three. Because you gotta, in a sense, get them to carry your product, you got to get them to understand how to market it in the context of their overall product or service bundle they’re providing.

Dean Nicolls: And they got to see how they can make money from it.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, and in some cases, is you’re going to get the deal, in other cases, it’s going to be, which is good, you’re going to help them close because you’re the sexy ingredient in this overall thing. And other cases, it’s just spiffs. Right? And it’s definitely a different perspective than we got before.

Okay, so this is the moment where I’m going to spend a little bit of time talking about CMO Huddles. Launched in 2020, CMO Huddles is an exclusive community of over 100 highly effective B2B CMOs, who share, care, and dare each other to greatness almost every day. Everything about CMO Huddles is designed to be a force multiplier, helping B2B CMOs to make faster better and more informed decisions. Where one inspiring hour a month delivers 10 hours of perspiration saved. Now since no CMO can out work their job, CMO Huddles is here to help you outsmart it, I want to bring back Jacques and Dean and Olga, because you’re all relatively new to Huddles. And so if you feel like adding anything about your experience so far, please jump in.

Jacques Botbol: In general, I think one of the key things is that I at least believe that I know everything or have done everything. And one of the things that I love about the community is that people are very available to just share their experience, maybe new events that may have happened on things that you just haven’t seen or haven’t done, or maybe don’t have the experience to do. And then people just share with you. I’m appreciating the help and learning from other Huddlers. So I think it’s great.

Drew Neisser: Awesome. Thank you. Olga, go ahead.

Olga Noha: Yeah, I shared that before and I’ll say it again, I’m very happy I became part of CMO Huddles. I get a lot of knowledge and a collaboration and support from the community, our monthly online meetups, our weekly updates and Slack channel for a community, that helps me progress my work as CMO. Basically, I know for sure that’s the community that likes to share, care, and dare. 100%.

Drew Neisser: Love it, Dean, any words of wisdom on Huddles so far?

Dean Nicolls: Yeah it’s been a great experience for me as well to meet and collaborate with my peers. It’s one of the few places where you can kind of serve as a support group for each other, but also just get a lot of best practices, what software have they explored. What’s working, what’s not working? So I just love having this community.

Drew Neisser: I love having all three of you in the community and if you’re a CMO who can share, care, and dare with the best of them, visit I mentioned at the beginning, there were all sorts of borders to success and barriers, including the differences in language and culture when marketing and other countries and we started to get into language translations. I’m interested, so I know where Dean is right now, they’re not translating. So Jacques and Olga, are you right now translating for every country? How are you approaching language?

Jacques Botbol: So in general, yes, we translate to the main language of the main countries that we have. So for example, websites and content are translated. We also have in some places, like, for example, in Canada, our communication internally and externally is also in French, not only because we want to but also because there are some laws that inherited and we were doing that already before even so in general, yes. I think that beyond the content and the collateral and everything, it’s also, depending on the region, also the people that are selling or marketing, there should be also local, and it’s really a specific type of countries.

Drew Neisser: This is where it gets really tricky, because in order to do that, you have to have people on the ground then in every one of those countries, it’s a little cart before the horse because if you’re just entering a new market for the first time, how do you manage that? If before you go into market, you need to secure somebody in that market, or don’t bother.

Jacques Botbol: So yes and no. You know, first of all, we’re very global world. So I don’t think that we need always to find the person who speaks the language in the local country. You can find it today everywhere in the world. In fact in Israel, we have a very international talent but we have it in almost in every country. In general, there are different ways depending on the country depending on the priority. You can go with contractors at the beginning you can go to part times, but in general, you do want to have some local understanding and be consulting at the beginning. But I’m on the suggestion that I would like to know where I’m entering in before entering in it.

Drew Neisser: Olga, what about you? I mean, in the countries that you’re operating in right now for the new company that you joined recently, are you mainly in English for that company? Or are you translating.

Olga Noha: So my response really depends on what you’re selling and to whom. With SplitMetrics, that’s the global company that delivers an ecosystem of solutions for mobile first businesses to grow faster. So we help marketers working on an app or mobile game development promotion with our tools. And on this market, there is no expectation that the product is going to be localized to a specific language. People working with this product are comfortable with having it in English, they do have other tools in English, and that works really well. So with SplitMetrics, we create in English and we do not localize our products or marketing communications to other languages. However, when we are talking about, let’s say, an application that is used company wide, such as a CRM, you don’t expect all your people who speak let’s say French or Bahasa in Indonesia, to be comfortable with the product in English. So with my previous experience we translate both product and our marketing communications into local languages for the market that required that most. So my response not on that depends on the country and territory, but also on what you’re selling and to whom.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, like so many topics that we talk in this show, it depends. But I’m gonna throw this to you Dean, we were in a Huddle—I don’t know if you were there—but a CMO mentioned, they were doing customer events in the native language. So when they were in Amsterdam, they were doing them in Dutch or about 70% was in Dutch, and in Berlin, they were doing it in German. But the story and the visual identity was the same, the CMO felt really good about that. And from your perspective, is that as good as it gets?

Dean Nicolls: Depends on the country. Some countries like Germany, they’re fine with a lot of content being in English. And sometimes they think that everything would be in French. Documentation, collateral content, in person events. You need to take your cues from marketers in those regions and follow their guidance. I do think the brand entity should be consistent across the board. So when I used to work at Microsoft, there was content messaging every region had to follow, it could be catered by the region, but there’s some things you have to stick to your guns on in terms of branding and messaging. But other things, you can absolutely deliver the tactics, you deliver the messaging, even things like positioning and stability.

Drew Neisser: I hear you. And I remember, I worked on IBM four different times and over the years, and it was always when you were on an international call, it was, “Well, we’re different Japan.” And there would always be the country that would say, “No, no, you just can’t do that. Or you can’t say that.” But at the same time, I have noticed a trend where with taglines—and I know this is very micro—but where a US company has an English tagline and they end up using that tagline all over the world. And I’m just curious, in your perspective, Jacques or Olga, do you have experience where that isn’t the case or where it would have been a bad idea?

Olga Noha: Speaking about taglines, for SplitMetrics the tagline is, “Unleashed the new level of proof.” We utilize it in English on par with the other communications that we have pretty much but we didn’t plan to complete it. With Creatio, the tagline was, “Accelerate”. And we did translate some of our materials, we had events translated to local languages and other communications. But it’s very hard to translate “accelerate”, which has this power and speed emphasis on it into some other languages without having negative connotation with it. Even despite the fact that we did translate our communications into French, Spanish, or other languages. We left the tagline as is in English.

Drew Neisser: I’m just curious from each of you, Olga, you provided your nice sort of four things. But Jacques, talk us through a little bit of, in thinking about international marketing and expanding into other countries. What do you think is most critical that CMOs really think about?

Interesting. So what happens in these circumstances is someone who doesn’t necessarily speak the language will look at a dictionary and you can’t count on that dictionary giving you a result that you were looking for. I’ll give you a story for Renegade Marketers, at one point we were owned by a Japanese company  in the early 90s. And we were going to change our name as we’re establishing the company and our vendor had suggested ‘Renegade,’ and we thought, “Oh, that’s true. We are the Renegades at Dentsu. So let’s go with that.” So when the Japanese looked up the word Renegade in the dictionary it just said ‘outlaw.’ They said, “Are you sure?” And we said, “Yeah, just trust us. It’ll be fine.” And part of me also wonders on this whole thing of how much of arrogance is there in the notion that you can I just be an English and everything and what the perception is in other countries have that. So we’ve covered a lot of ground. But we still have a little bit of time left.

Jacques Botbol: The first thing that I always think is, am I a fit? Are we a fit, and with that we have to go to that place? If we are, then we can go to the second point, if we’re not, I think about what we need to do in order to be. That’s the first. The second point, if we are a fit, or when we become a fit, then you say, “Okay, what do I need in order to go to that market?” It can be resources, can I utilize my same resource? Can I have that in my resources? And then once I understand, okay, what can I achieve if I have infinite budget? I always think of what if I have infinite budget. I start always with the infinite because I think it’s the best way to not limit the thought process of the team. And if it’s infinite, what are our maximum values, and is it good enough or value for the company to enter in it? If it is, then we start planning.

Drew Neisser: Okay, Dean, words of wisdom in terms of thinking about international expansion.

Dean Nicolls: I think to borrow a little bit from Jacques, I think really understanding the market, understanding what your product is going to be for that. So understanding so you can plug in today. Not down the road, but today where there’s a good product market. Really trust the people in that region, the marketers in that region, the salespeople in that region, and just listen and say, “This will work, this will not work.” That’s where you just have to listen and then take guidance. Lean on that, make sure that you can really make the best use of your marketing funds.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, I’m thinking about trusting the region. And boy, that puts pressure on you, the marketer to make sure you have good people in the region. And that’s got to be so tricky, because when it’s a small group, they need to be able to do so many things. They need to be able to grow, they need to be able to market, there’s a little bit of sales, there’s relationship building. So those are hard hires to make. But product fit, trust the region and listen, listen, listen. Okay, Olga. Final Thoughts or words of wisdom for your fellow marketers, in terms of expanding internationally.

Olga Noha: I would start with the reminder that global business and gloal marketing have big potential for many organizations, don’t underestimate it. Timing is important because, again, the window of opportunity can shrink faster than you think. And determining your unique go to market approach or overall market is an art. You need to invest sufficient time into that. And once all of that is defined persistence, and determination, that is my best advice and my personal motto.

Drew Neisser: Yeah, so glad you said that, because it is about persistence and determination. And by the way, on this show, we always do a, what would Ben Franklin say? Now it turns out, we waited towards the end of the show for this, but I can’t help bring him up because as Americans first Chief Marketing Officer Franklin would have enjoyed this conversation, and perhaps cited his success marketing the American Revolution to the King of France. Now, Franklin lived abroad for 25 years and visited many European countries. And many of his marketing efforts were long, hard slog they were persistent, like Olga just said. So I think he’d advise, “He that can have patience, can have what he will.” He could also say, “She that can have patience, can have what she will”, as appropriate for Olga, I want to thank you, Jacques, Dean, Olga, you’re all great sports. It’s been a really interesting conversation, and not one that you can get at it an hour. This is a complicated challenge. There’s no doubt about it. But I think what you heard here on the dare side—if we think share, care, dare—you’ve got a lot of good sharing in terms of what you can do. But there’s some daring here, you got to go for it. And you may not succeed the first country you’re in but you’re gonna learn a hell of a lot. And so persistence pays, and it’s funny, we couldn’t figure out how to expand Huddles globally. We figured it out, at least for Europe for now, although we’re still 100% in English. Anyway. Thank you, audience for staying with us.

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Show Credits

Renegade Marketers Unite is written and directed by Drew Neisser. Hey, that’s me! This show is produced by Melissa Caffrey, Laura Parkyn, and our B2B podcast partners Share Your Genius. The music is by the amazing Burns Twins and the intro Voice Over is Linda Cornelius. To find the transcripts of all episodes, suggest future guests, or learn more about B2B branding, CMO Huddles, or my CMO coaching service, check out I’m your host, Drew Neisser. And until next time, keep those Renegade thinking caps on and strong!