“Do you know the difference between a well-translated website and a profitable one? Localization.” Nowadays, Localization is considered as a Strategic Marketing asset as any mishap could potentially damage a brand’s name and consequently have a direct negative impact on sales.
From my early years in Marketing and Sales, I learnt fast that any content or product should always be adapted to a specific locale or market to avoid any intercultural-misunderstanding or faux-pas.
This is where localization comes into play as it will enable Companies to convey their message in a more effective and appealing way to a specific target segment: Localization goes one step beyond translation: it’s the key point of entry to successful market penetration within countries sharing the same language but where people don’t necessarily share the same beliefs, customs, cultures or values.
To localize or not to localize?
How to assess a good opportunity for localization? Will the target market be worth the investment?
Well that’s a tricky one. Localization Decision-making is a tough choice since you need to consider the money factor at all times.
We all know the challenges that Multinational Marketing can bring: how can one maintain a balance between market opportunities and financial constraints and operating costs? Whether you are targeting a new market or reconsidering an ongoing investment on a current one, not only do you need to comply with a different set of requirements, legislations and regulations but also with different users’ cultural and purchasing preferences. And let’s not forget about the competition and market structures that will definitely shape your Localization Strategy.
What is the best recipe for a successful international market penetration?
To ensure a successful international market penetration, make it relevant to your target market!
- Take a close look at your market segment demographics (age, income, ethnicity, gender, …) and identify whether they fit your target market. If there is no fit, abort localization.
- If there is a potential match, you can either identify a partnership with a local leading company that has experience with your target market or address it on your own.
- You need to project the cost-benefit and assess if there is a potential opportunity for growth and revenue.
How can your business benefit from a Localization Strategy?
From a Marketing standpoint:
Reaching out to existing and new international markets in their native language and without altering the initial Marketing content, must be at the core of your International Marketing Strategy. By emphasizing the intangible values of your product or service you will also improve the consistency of your Company’s global brand message, brand equity and increases brand awareness.
From a Sales standpoint:
According to a recent Smartling survey, “71% of the top marketing decision-makers who responded agree that sales increase in target markets when content is localized and …74% agree with the statement “Content localization is a revenue driver.”“
Localization strategy boosts sales leads: as the level of satisfaction for a product/service improves, it turns into referrals to other potential customers and consequently boosts sales.
From a consumer/user standpoint:
Nelson Mandela once said, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.” (Source: https://www.smartling.com/blog/3-business-benefits-of-localization/)
According to statistics from Common Sense Advisory, a research firm specializing in global market issues, “56.2% of consumers said that the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price” …” and 72.4% of consumers said they would be more likely to buy a product with information in their own language”.
Whether you are a Global consumer brand whose goal is to build a close and personal connection with your customers or a multinational corporation on a regulated sector such as Pharmaceuticals or Telecoms, trying to comply with the specific regulations and requirements of your target market, you will opt in for a Localization Strategy but for different reasons.
Not only will localizing your website or marketing materials show your customers that you respect and understand them, it will also strengthen their loyalty. Any improvement in their user experience, will potentially increase their satisfaction and engagement on your site.
In a nutshell, “when it comes to consumer markets, one size no longer fits all.”
As I am wrapping up this article, a book title comes back to me, it’s Rick Page’s “Hope Is Not a Strategy: 6 keys to winning the complex sale” (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/hope-is-not-strategy-6-keys-to-winning-complex-sale/id502273959?mt=11)
I highly suggest that you take a look at his breakthrough selling strategies and think about how to implement some of them in your business decision-making.
According to the Smartling.com site (Source: https://www.smartling.com/blog/big-plans-for-localization-in-2018/), 94% of multinational companies plan to increase their localization spending in 2018.
Localization is likely to remain a key factor into any International Marketing Strategy for many years to come. This is the most suitable way to address and convey a message to any specific target market not responsive to a Global Marketing Strategy.