Why Localization Matters – Part 2

May 17, 2012

Vya Staff

Part one of this series addressed trends in marketing localization as measured by CMO’s pushpinonmap-iStock-000018888268XSmall_thumband reported in a recent CMO Council study. In this blog, we discuss how to adapt your content to local buyers and markets. Below are some tactical suggestions for localizing your marketing efforts.

 

1. Segment customer groups into personas based on available demographic data and serve different content to each persona. Heidi Cohen’s 12 point marketing persona checklist is a helpful questioning roadmap in defining relevant customer segments. Once you have your grouped your customers into personas, marketing resource management systems can be used to create target lists (groups of personas) based on segment data. Campaign content can then be localized and tailored to each customer segment.

2. Check your context: Is your message relevant and localized? As you plan your messaging for local marketing campaigns, consider ClickZ’s example of context (see link point 5), which often varies by geographic region. As the article states, an airline marketing its services nationally needs to recognize that a palm tree means different things to a person in Hawaii than in Alaska. Don’t overlook the frame of context when you’re localizing content.

3. Consider which channels you’ll use to deliver localization. In addition to the most commonly utilized channels for localization cited by the CMO Council study – the top five include relationship-building events, direct mail or free-standing inserts, websites, social media and public relations – you should also consider multi-channel strategies. For example, a direct mail campaign with an integrated QR or PURL component that serves localized content and incentives based on geographic location effectively leverages segment data to personalize content.

4. Use a marketing automation toolset to localize your messaging. A marketing resource management system can be used to empower your field sales force to localize marketing templates. Automated workflows ensure that the correct parties can review and approve customization prior to campaign launch. According to the CMO Council study, such marketing automation technologies provide competitive advantage because they enable agile coordination of marketing efforts:

[The] CMO Council engagement program reveals huge upside potential for brands implementing localized marketing strategies that enable their sales and customer-facing networks to be more adept in connecting and communicating with consumers and prospects on a more personal and relevant level. Early adopters of hosted platforms and cloud-based services in this area will gain competitive advantage in their ability to execute campaigns more effectively, provision their channel and field organizations more efficiently, better control their brand assets, and track the performance of their marketing content investments.

 

Global caveats

As we mentioned in part 1, globalization increases the complexity of localization. The following steps and suggestions can help ensure your marketing messages are effectively translated and adapted to local markets and buyers.

1. Consult local experts. Engage your distributed sales force to help translate marketing messages and navigate cultural subtleties. If you’re entering a new market where you don’t yet have local field support, it’s also a good idea to consult an in-country linguist to help you understand local cultural tastes and preferences and adapt your message accordingly. For example, a marketing translation partner can help you through lesser know facts such as these: Red is associated with good luck and celebrations in China, but in Russia it is associated with Bolsheviks and Communism, and in South Africa it is the color of mourning. When localizing your messages, find experienced partners to help you understand these subtleties.

2. Use Hofstede’s cultural dimensions as a litmus test to gauge whether your localized messaging is on target. You should always use in-country experts to help validate and adapt your local approach, but you can probably shorten the path from campaign ideation to execution by improving your awareness of cultural preferences and motivations around the globe. Hofstede’s research is a helpful guide to localizing messages in any culture, but should not be applied in a vacuum.

 

Conclusion

Marketing localization is gaining increasing momentum as customers are seeking more personalized and relevant content. Segment data and insights such as demographics, shopper-graphics, psychographics and ethnic composition can be applied to localize marketing campaigns, while marketing automation platforms such as marketing resource management systems can be used to build target lists from segment groups and coordinate campaign delivery. Additionally, marketing resource management systems empower companies to leverage insights from distributed sales forces in content localization and can also enable competitive advantage by providing a leaner and more agile path to campaign planning and execution.

 

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Tags: Blog, marketing campaign, MRM, personalization, data, localized marketing, marketing resource management

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