Marketers now have more than a thousand marketing technologies available for boosting productivity, scaling personalization, and simplifying and accelerating localization. We can now run more campaigns in more markets in more languages in a more personalized manner. The ease with which marketers can orchestrate campaigns – especially for digital brands - across borders has emboldened a new era of international marketing and organizational commitment to launching brands around the world. It’s truly a brave new digitally connected world.
But one challenge that worldwide marketing’s technology renaissance continues to face is that it’s trickier than ever to effectively deliver language and locally-aware content that’s on brand in every market you want to grow. Good marketers know that creating a personalized experience for customers in other territories means identifying and localizing every touch point, as the first order of “personalization” is speaking to a prospect in their preferred or only tongue. As the craft of marketing is performed increasingly via technology delivering content through many systems and channels, the number of brand touch points a marketer must now track, optimize and personalize globally is multiplying exponentially every day.
Marketing in multiple languages is an imperative for companies looking to build their brand around the world, and it requires commitment, time and energy. You localize content to increase demand in markets around the world, and to properly support a global sales staff in closing business. So depending on your goals for worldwide success, the number of languages that need to be considered for any localization effort will vary, but based on these statistics, the number is likely more than you might expect:
- Communicating with 80% of the total online population requires a campaign to appear in 14 languages, including unexpected ones like Indonesian and Turkish.
- A strategy that addresses 95% of the world’s online wallet requires communications in 20 languages.
- To reach 95% of business professionals, your brand must speak ten languages: French, Italian, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese (x2), Japanese, Korean and English.
Getting the language right is not just common sense and good etiquette, but also critical to maximizing the impact and conversion rates of the content you’re creating. Running into marketing collateral in the wrong language frustrates customers and makes brands look negligent and lazy. Customers may miss the subtle (or even not so subtle) nuances your content is trying to convey. Take for example the French consumer who enters a French site to find the landing page is in French, but all of the other associated pages are in English. The connections and deep links within the site are important, too; even if the site is in French, they will be annoyed if they are sent to outside sites that are in another language or download additional information that is not localized. How a lead is generated matters as well; nobody wants to click on an ad in their native tongue to find themselves on a non-translated website or landing page.
Marketers looking to orchestrate international campaigns need to set themselves up for success, and that starts with being prepared. You need to treat global content with the same care and craft you do for local audiences to maximize impact. The first step is to audit all of the technologies your organization uses, and then determine how connected they are – literally and figuratively – to your global markets.
Here is a set of questions that will help you evaluate your technology needs for international marketing campaigns and determine if you have what you need today:
- Is your marketing automation platform utilized in all regions? Can the emails, landing pages, and referenced assets be localized efficiently?
- Do your digital asset or content management systems contain a library of assets available to all marketers around the world? Do they also let others browse locally acceptable assets they’ve developed so that others may use them?
- Is your web content management system set up to allow quick and frequent updates in all languages?
- Are your personalization tools and algorithms set up to accommodate local nuances for each region?
- Do you have a marketing globalization platform that streamlines the process of transforming your marketing content into local languages?
Answering these questions will go a long way toward helping you manage your brand’s worldwide presence, reduce translation costs and get campaigns to market faster, all leading to increased demand generation and ultimately revenue. The challenge of marketing technology today is that it must be introduced to your organization in a way that syncs with your goals. Don’t let languages and localities be one of your obstacles to world domination.
About the Author
Scott Yancey is CEO and Founder at Cloudwords, Inc. Scott was a key architect on the salesforce.com platform and applications, and his technical leadership and expertise helped grow salesforce.com from 2,000 customers to an industry titan with 77,000 customers and $1.5 billion in annual revenue. His experience on the R&D frontlines during both the earliest and most explosive growth phases of salesforce.com forged a unique set of technical skills, best practices and historical knowledge. His roles included architecting and delivering mission critical areas of the salesforce.com service and he provided technical leadership at both the team and organizational level. He has 9 patents pending from his tenure at salesforce.com.
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