Less Than One-Third of Marketers Believe Their Organizations and Agencies Do Well When It Comes to Creative and Timely Localization and Adaptation of Marketing Campaigns

Too Few Investing in the Tools, Processes and Teams Needed to Improve On-time Delivery of High-Quality Creative Tailored to Global and Local Audiences  

SAN JOSE, Calif. (July 11, 2017)—Marketing leaders and agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to keep pace with growing demands to localize and adapt their creative strategies. Facing a widening range of digital and physical channels that each require rapid adaptation in order to remain relevant to individual geographic, cultural and customer audiences, too many organizations are failing to take the necessary steps to improve their capacity and agility, according to a new study by the CMO Council.

The new study, titled “The Age of the Adaptive Marketer,” reveals that almost two-thirds of marketers rate their organizations and agencies below satisfactory in their capacity to translate and adapt brand marketing content across the markets and channels they serve. This has led to equally uninspiring marks in timeliness as only 30 percent of marketers rate their in-house and agency teams as either “advanced” or “doing well” in their timeliness and capacity to simultaneously support global and local execution.

Marketers admit these failures in addressing rapid adaptation are further amplified due to mounting pressures from a variety of forces and factors, led by requirements for geographic localization, the proliferation of new digital formats, the need for more visually enriched and engaging content, and operational cost pressures.

“At a time when the customer has higher expectations than ever for relevance and personalization of content and brand interaction, marketing organizations will need to step up their game when it comes to brand content adaptation to address geographic, cultural, customer and other differences,” said Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council. “Past research has shown that adaptation of marketing strategies and content can be a major enabler of sales and brand success. Yet most companies have a long way to go in order to get it right.”

The study, developed in partnership with HH Global, is based on an online survey of more than 150 senior marketing executives polled in the second quarter of 2017. Respondents hail from global industries that demand an omnichannel presence, including retail, travel, hospitality, technology, consumer goods and telecommunications.

Among the key findings:

  • Only 33 percent of respondents say their companies are either advanced or doing well in adapting brand content to different markets, partners and geographies. Another 34 percent say they are at least improving.

  • Just 20 percent are satisfied with their creative delivery process and marketing supply chain effectiveness.

  • Respondents point to speed of execution as a major challenge; less than half say they are able to deploy localized content across both physical and digital touchpoints within weeks of a campaign launch.

  • Marketers believe their top five process challenges are shortening turnaround times, ensuring quality and uniformity with brand guidelines, end-to-end workflow management, delivering creative on time, and measuring the creative appeal and impact of content.

"HH Global is pleased to have partnered with CMO Council on this research. The findings—that marketers are struggling with finding efficient ways to adapt creative content for local markets at scale—expose a gap in the market that is quantitatively consistent with our qualitative experiences," said Robert MacMillan, Group CEO at HH Global. "We have seen marketers trying to expand into new regional markets with localized content, but, as demonstrated in the research, they have neither the time nor processes and tools to execute at scale. HH Global allows our customers to close this gap and can drive significant profitability and revenue growth. Targeted marketing—from localized languages to transcreation and digital channels—is key. Partnering with our creative execution experts and our “follow-the-sun” production process produces results. The message is in market, on brand and at a savings over agency costs. We hope that the report will ignite meaningful dialogue within the CMO Council community and beyond."

Change Is Too Slow

The study also finds that many organizations are failing to take important steps to improve their capacity to adapt and modify branded content. Just 18 percent have completed a formal assessment of their creative delivery process and marketing supply chain effectiveness although another 24 percent say they have begun one.

In addition, many companies are utilizing only basic project management and collaboration tools to manage these processes. Just 20 percent use online approval and proofing systems to accelerate modifications. Even more surprising, 49 percent of respondents say they spend less than 5 percent of their marketing budget for creative adaptation and cross-cultural localization. 

You can download the free report at

About the CMO Council

The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership, and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide range of global industries. The CMO Council's 12,500-plus members control more than $500 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include more than 30,000 global executives in more than 110 countries covering multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, India and Africa. The council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Mobile Relationship Marketing (MRM) Strategies,,, Marketing Supply Chain Institute, Customer Experience Board, Digital Marketing Performance Institute, GeoBranding Center and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). For more information, visit

About HH Global

HH Global Ltd., founded in 1991, is a leading, independent marketing execution partner to prominent brands in more than 40 countries. The company offers innovative and tailored solutions for the outsourced procurement of all types of printed marketing materials, packaging and creative production services that drive down cost, speed time to market, improve quality and increase sustainability. Every HH Global solution utilizes HHub, a best-in-class marketing execution application, an expansive list of suppliers, proprietary processes, and the deep expertise of more than 800 employees. The company also operates HH Labs, the center of its innovation program, which brings fresh, new ideas to clients. With more than $500 million in spend under management, HH Global maintains a razor-sharp focus on cost and quality, combined with an industry-leading sustainability program, offering improvements that provide both fiscal and environmental value. For more information, visit