Mastering Marketing Localization: Challenges & Best Practices
Language is more powerful than we think. The language we speak has a huge impact on our psychology, emotions, and even buying decisions. People tend to feel more connected with the brands that speak their native language. According to research, around 60% of people prefer to buy from brands featured in their native languages.
There is no doubt that language gives you a sense of belonging and brands that speak your language make you feel like an insider. Understanding the importance of language, now businesses go for professional translation and localization services to modify their product to the interests and cultural preferences of locales.
Marketing localization is a powerful tool to help international brands connect with their targeted audiences globally. But you must do the marketing localization the right way; otherwise, your efforts will be in vain. This article will discuss the significance of marketing localization, its challenges, and the essential steps one has to follow to successfully do marketing localization.
What is Marketing Localization?
In simple words, localization is the process of transforming the pre-existing content in a way that is more relatable to foreign audiences; for instance, by translating the content to their native language and making changes to the illustrations and designs. The purpose of localization is to offer a more optimized experience to local audiences considering their interests, tastes, and cultural intricacies.
Most people think localization is the same thing as translation, which is not right. The translation is part of localization, but there is certainly more to localization. Marketing localization is not just limited to text, but it also caters to all aspects of content, be it images, design, buttons, CTA, or multimedia. Minor modifications to the content can optimize the user experience to another level and also enhance the credibility of your brand in foreign markets.
For example, in some countries, it is common for people to have just one legal name, they don’t have any second name. In this scenario, suppose your signup form requires you to enter both first name and last name can offend the user, as you are asking for something that doesn’t exist for them. These are little things you have to be careful about, and for this, you might need a localization expert.
When it comes to marketing localization, you have to be extra careful because marketing content is directly selling your product to the customers. Having done it right can literally skyrocket your product sales in foreign markets.
Why Does Marketing Localization Matter?
Marketing localization expands your brand reach, optimizes the user experience, and gives your business an opportunity to target new audiences. If you are thinking of conducting a promotional campaign in multiple regions, you have to localize your original marketing content for all areas without altering its meaning. As you are targeting a diversified group of customers, you have to consider their distinct cultural activities, and buying behaviors to effectively localize the marketing content.
Simply translating the text may alter the intent, tone, and context of your promotional content, so you must hire a transcreation expert to localize your content without changing the context and emotions attached to it. It will allow you to influence your foreign audience the same way as your local customers.
Some businesses think localization is irrelevant for them, and they can go well into the foreign market with their original content, which is mostly in English. Well, they are assuming things that can cost them not just their brand reputation but the money they are spending on their marketing campaigns.
Even the big giants like Pepsi, and KFC accepted the importance of localization and translated their famous taglines and slogans to native languages of audiences. So, to survive and flourish in this fast-paced globalization, you have to ace your marketing localization game.
3 Major Challenges to Consider
Marketing localization comes with a lot of business benefits, but there are also some challenges attached to it that you have to consider before planning your localization strategy. Here are 3 major challenges you might face in marketing localization.
1. Translations Would Take Time
As you are doing marketing localization, translations are going to take more time than regular translations. No matter how short the sentences are, it will take you a fair amount of time to translate them. First of all, it wouldn’t be word-to-word translations, because you don’t want to lose the intent, content, and actual promotional message of your content. You have to translate it in a way that wouldn’t alter the meaning of the content. The original marketing content is written to trigger specific emotions in targeted customers, to create a desire in them for your product, and to increase their likelihood of choosing your product over other competitors.
The same result you must expect from translated content; it should convey the same message, with the same emotions, and affect the targeted audience the same way. So, you have to be mindful of the fact that marketing translations are going to take more time than usual.
2. Fewer Words, More Creativity
This is what copywriting is all about; you have to grab the attention of customers in minimum words. But, the transcreation of original marketing content would be even more demanding than the actual copywriting because now you have to be creative – that too staying within the limits of the original marketing text.
Well, how creative you could be? This should be the real question to ask. For this, you have to understand your brand voice, your targeted audience psychology, the intent of promotional content, and of course, the space your client is giving you to be creative.
3. Is Your Content Translation-Friendly?
You’re lucky if it is because most of the time the original marketing content is not written keeping in mind that it is supposed to translate to other languages as well. This makes the job of translators even harder because they have to make their translated content feel original. When it comes to marketing content translation, it is not meant to look like translation.
It is better to be invisible than to produce a bad marketing translation and put it out in front of your potential customers. So, you have to be very conscious while translating your marketing content as it is going to make or break the image of your brand in the international market.
An Ultimate Guide to Do Your Marketing Localization Right
Following are some key steps you should be following for doing your marketing localization right and avoiding any costly mistakes.
1. Identify Your Target Markets
It would be a deliberate decision for your brand expansion, so you have to choose your target market carefully. You can conduct a SWOT analysis to evaluate the opportunities and challenges of entering into a new marketplace. There are a lot of factors you have to consider while choosing to enter into a new market; for instance, customer acquisition cost, competition, market trends, potential customer’s interests, and desire for your product or services.
Existing competition in the market can help you determine the desire for your product and what marketing tactics they are using to grab the attention of customers. For competitors’ analysis, you can look at their social media profiles and reviews of their products. Doing this would give you an idea about the dos and don’ts of entering the foreign market. After conducting in-depth research and getting insights into different markets, now you can choose the markets that have more potential for your product.
2. Create Your Localization Strategy
Once you have identified your target markets, you have to start with making a robust localization strategy keeping in mind the scope of your localization project, your target audience, and some other factors. Your foreign market expansion strategy is going to take a lot of effort, resources, and investment, so you have to make a scalable localization strategy.
One thing you have to keep in mind is that the marketing message and experience you are creating for your local audiences might not always work for foreign audiences, that’s why you do localization to make your marketing efforts resonate with international audiences.
If you are doing marketing localization to enter into a new marketplace, you should first focus on your brand voice through slogans, CTAs, and other key messaging. Depending on the response of targeted groups, you can expand your marketing efforts and broaden the marketing experiences for your potential customers.
3. Assemble Your Team
As your localization strategy is ready, now it’s time to assemble an experienced team of translators and localization experts. It is crucial for your team to understand not just your product or services, but also the intent of your brand message. You need to hire someone who is well-practiced in localization and give your marketing efforts a boost through their remarkable services.
You can hire an in-house team, approach freelancers, or contact a full-service localization company to do localization for you. No matter how you get your localization done, you must make sure that there is no communication gap between you and your team, and that your needs are clearly delivered to them.
4. Humanize Your Translations
At the end of the day, you are dealing with humans, and the emotions you are stimulating in them through your marketing have a direct impact on your brand’s value and product sales. The aim of localization is to surpass the language barriers and understand the cultural sensitivities of locales to deliver the brand message in a way that people can emotionally connect with. Your mission should be to resolve human problems and fulfill their needs through your product.
Not just the textual message, illustrations are another way to trigger emotions in people and promote your brand more intelligently through sensory marketing.
5. Design and Development Localization
Localization is not just about translations; design-stage localization is an imperative fragment to localize your brand completely. For instance, if you are working on mobile app localization, web app localization, or game localization, then based on different translations you have to modify the designs and layouts accordingly. Your designer has to adapt the images and designs to fit the interests of different regions. This should be done before starting coding stuff, so if there are any potential errors or design issues, you’ll detect them on time.
Keep in mind that you are doing the designs for global audiences, so make sure your translated text is well-fitted and your designs complement the cultural intricacies of different regions.
6. Build A Localization Kit
Preparing the translation document will make the localization process hassle-free for your team. The localization kit is a style guide and instructions from your side to your team, to make sure that everything is well communicated. This kit will also make the translation and location task less time-consuming for your team. By making a localization kit, you’ll be able to deliver your project requirements and other details clearly and accurately to the translation team.
While creating your localization kit, make sure you include the following information:
- Commonly used idols, acronyms, and company terms and their meaning.
- The tone of your content, whether you want to keep it formal, casual, or something else.
- Your brand voice, and the key messages your company wants to convey to targeted groups.
- It’ll be better to add a glossary, so your team would know the terminologies used throughout the content, this will be helpful to maintain the brand’s consistency.
A localization kit will help your localization team get a clear understanding of your project and your overall expectations from it. As you have conveyed all necessary information, there’ll be fewer chances of edits that might cause missed deadlines.
7. Measure Result
Now, as you have put your 100% effort into your localization project, you must keep measuring the results of the localization strategy. The following are the KPIs of your localization strategy:
- SEO rankings in diversified regions.
- Has the market share increased after marketing localization?
- Any increment in sales in newly targeted marketplaces.
- Compare the website’s page views, before and after localization.
- Social media engagement- Are there more content shares and likes after the implementation of the localization strategy?
By measuring your KPIs, you are more likely to understand your localization ROI.
As now you have developed an understanding of marketing localization and how you can do it right, it’s time to make an actionable localization plan for your business. Marketing localization improves your international customers’ experience and makes them feel connected to your brand. You can easily find language service providers that can help you expand your business into the global marketplace and increase your customer base.