U.S. B2B Marketers Wrestle With Web Site Globalization Challenges

Limelight Networks, Inc. recently surveyed 200 U.S. based CMOs and Marketing VPs about their efforts to develop web sites tailored to various global regions. The results are interesting, and I certainly think they’re worth a closer look.

Here’s the short version of the full survey results: A lot of enterprise marketers already invest heavily in multi-regional websites with content in multiple languages, and most plan to double-down on those investments.Yet a lot of those marketers also encounter serious problems keeping the content on those regional sites relevant and up to date.

Big Plans For Regional Content…

I was surprised at just how many companies employ aggressive regional-content strategies. Here are a few key numbers:

  • 86% of the respondents manage at least three regional web sites, and just 1% don’t use any regional sites.
  • Almost 90% of these marketers plan to add more than two additional regional sites over the next year.
  • More than 90% of these projects will involve adding content in additional languages.
  • Nearly 30% said that they create regional-specific content for these sites.

Most of the respondents work at large enterprises; nearly half have annual revenue of more than $500 million. Even so, I have to admit that I was surprised at the breadth of these companies’ current regional-content activities, and even more surprised at their aggressive future development plans.

…And Big Problems Keeping That Content Maintained

These marketing organizations, however, are struggling with the processes they need to maintain these sites and turn them into effective demand-generation engines. Here’s how they rank the top challenges they face:

global

A final data point: When asked what percentage of the content on their regional web sites is out of date at any given time, 75% responded that at least 20% of their content is out of date, and more than one in five said that more than 60% of their content was out of date at any given time.

Looking at the chart above, it’s clear why these executives are struggling with their regional/global content strategies. More than half wrestle with multiple content management platforms, nearly half deal with budget or staffing constraints, and about 30% lack the technical resources to maintain multiple web sites.

In other words, there’s a major gap between what marketers want to do with their regional web sites and what they’re actually capable of doing. The fact that so many of them are pressing ahead with new regional content projects anyway makes me wonder whether this gap is going to keep getting bigger.

-Matthew McKenzie

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