It goes without saying that no marketing team wants to offend potential customers. Companies invest significant time and resources to ensure spot-on personalized sales and marketing content for target audiences.
Marketing to global audiences without localizing content, though, is dangerous to your efforts and perhaps even to your brand’s reputation; not only are you missing an opportunity to engage with personalized content, there’s a chance you’re actually offending your target audience without even realizing it.
Localization of content is critical for engaging audiences outside company headquarters because it represents marketing personalization in its purest form. Effective localization is, in fact, one of the easiest paths for increasing revenue.
A study of Fortune 500 companies showed that those that localized their content were two times more likely to increase profit and 1.25 times more likely to grow earnings per share year over year. Companies that invest in localization also reinforce the perception within a region of its commitment to doing business there, communicating stability and permanence.
Localization is not simply translation, which is just a tactical step within a full globalization strategy. Translation is the process of transforming text from one language into another, while localization refers to the process of adapting content for a location with consideration of its language, customs and values, cultural references, and local jargon.
Some exceptionally vivid examples of translation errors have come from taking American colloquial taglines and porting them to new territories; KFC learned this the hard way in China when it introduced “Finger-lickin’ good” and later discovered the literal translation was “We’ll eat your fingers off.” Other errors come from not considering alignment between cultures and customers. If you were looking to market leather goods, for example, a culture that considers cows to be sacred would not be a good target market.
Get Better at Marketing Globalization
Driving engagement in new markets is a “low-hanging” opportunity for nearly every company to expand its customer base. Localizing the right marketing and sales content to suit each territory’s audience is a key step for getting it done and doing it right. Here are five tips for getting started with helping your company rule the world:
1. Know every audience
When it comes to globalization, you can’t start with parochial knowledge of your home office’s market and extrapolate from there. It means really understanding the distinctive audiences, needs and values of every country you serve.
2. Keep control of the brand
Promote and maintain a consistent global brand by leveraging multilingual assets, including corporate style guides, glossaries, and translation memory.
3. Localize every touchpoint
Digital content means customers come into contact with more varieties of content than ever. Create a personalized, strongly localized experience by localizing every single one of your brand’s touchpoints, including its websites, marketing collateral, landing pages, and advertisements.
4. Review locally
Get the meaning right without confusing or offending customers. Have translated materials reviewed carefully by someone who has deep language and cultural expertise for each target market.
5. Leverage technology
Increase scale, decrease costs, and get to market faster by localizing content where it already resides. Modern globalization platforms can integrate directly with CRM, marketing automation, CMS and Web CMS platforms.
Localizing sales and marketing content makes it personal, meaningful and engaging. Once your marketing is truly global, your business will have remarkable new opportunities to drive demand and grow revenue.
This originally appeared in the Salesforce blog.