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How to Become a Global Marketing Leader

By Kyle Hegarty

May 17, 2016

About 4 minutes

Advances in technology and new market opportunities have companies expanding across the planet faster than ever. But marketers who have been thrust into this new global role often struggle with the adjustment. Why?

Cultural Differences Matter in Sales and Marketingcircular graphic of the four part T.E.A.M. model - technique, mastery, act, experience

Behaviors and qualities that make a marketing leader successful in one culture may be the very reason teams fail in other parts of the world. And this hits marketing leaders in two different ways: internally and, of course, externally.

Marketing comes down to communicating ideas effectively with your team and projecting your messages clearly to your end users. 

The Marketing Nomad

Many of today's modern marketers have become marketing nomads. These nomads find themselves either working across the globe or managing work in new geographies based on client or market demands. 

If you've found yourself in this situation, you know that you can't just jump in and expect to replicate successful sales and marketing efforts from one geography to another. The problems that arise from communication breakdowns and lack of cultural awareness can stifle your best efforts and potentially lead to failed campaigns.

Communication Breakdowns

It’s common for teams spread out across multiple geographies to experience communication breakdowns. Someone misunderstands an instruction. Deadlines are repeatedly missed. These are often explained by things getting "lost in translation." But these common global miscommunication issues can be costly and grow into a much larger problem over time if not addressed.

If your message is being misunderstood internally, is the same thing happening with the audience you are trying to market to in different parts of the world?

Building Cultural Awareness

By building intercultural awareness, marketing leaders can begin to address both internal and external challenges at once. Communication challenges, cultural challenges, and team motivation challenges can be overcome with the right approach.

We've designed a four-step system called T.E.A.M to help current and would-be marketing nomads overcome these challenges. 

What Is T.E.A.M.?


Understand yourself and where you come from first.

  • How do you like to lead?
  • How do you like to be led?
  • How do you communicate ideas?
  • Are you direct or indirect?

It turns out these answers vary widely across individuals and across the world. By increasing your understanding of both personal and cultural behavioural traits, this will lead to new techniques helping you overcome communication differences within your team and your audience.


Take a step back to develop a deeper understanding of your own team and where they come from.

  • How do they like to communicate?
  • Which kinds of sales and marketing efforts are effective for your team and which are not?

Turn these same questions on your end users around the globe. How might your communication strategy need to adjust? Build a plan of attack based on these experiences.


Based on your findings from the first two steps, begin making changes and track your progress. From hiring and training, to ongoing coaching to rolling out world-wide campaigns, your new understanding of cultural variations will greatly impact how you engage with your team, as well as how you build your marketing plan globally.


Becoming a global marketing leader is an ongoing process of learning to adapt and adjust along the way. Mastery is only possible if you're improving your Technique, learning from Experience, and Acting with your newly learned best practices always in mind.

As cultural intelligence continues to grow and flourish within your team, you will discover new ways of understanding challenges and finding new solutions using a global mind-set.


The Path to Global Marketing Expertise

As more countries and regions become involved in your campaigns, it’s time to review your group culture and upgrade your team’s global communication skill sets. The four-step T.E.A.M. methodology provides a strong foundation for helping your team become better communicators, better leaders, and better marketers.

Are you a global marketing nomad? Are you challenged with expanding your business operations across the globe? Reach out to us for a conversation about global expansion. Visit www.tslmarketing.com/global-presence/apac or click the banner below to find out more about TSL Marketing's APAC team.

global marketing nomad logo


Tags: Marketing Tips, advertising, MSP