How Localization in Marketing Can Help Your Business in a Global Way
Technology has made the world a more connected place. Brands are taking advantage of this, and the many different tools available, to expand their reach and attract new markets. But to make this work, you need to first understand what localization in marketing is all about.
Marketing efforts to a London-based audience will be different from the process of attracting a Spanish audience, or a global audience. Why? Because what resonates with your target audience will vary depending on their interests, culture, location, and more. It is your job, as a brand, to understand those differences and offer a personalized and localized experience.
Keep on reading and find out how a localized marketing strategy will help your business grow beyond your local context and conquer foreign markets.
What is a localization strategy?
A localization strategy is giving your time to think and analyze how a particular foreign market will react to you and your business. It’s about understanding the cultural differences that your new potential customers might have.
In other words, a localization strategy is translating your brand communications in a way that resonates with your audience in a new market or country.
It’s essentially a blueprint for success showing how you’re going to deliver your product or service to your end customer. It states what outside resources such as sales force and distributors will help you deliver your unique value proposition to customers and offer an enhanced experience.
But to help you understand this concept let’s deep dive into how you can localize your marketing efforts.
What is marketing localization?
Let’s start first by understanding what marketing localization is. As we explained before, when you want to go from local markets to a globalized market, you need to do more than just translating your marketing messages and campaigns from their original language to the one used by your new target audiences.
Your marketing localization efforts are about thinking about the words and images, the expressions, tonality, inferences, and emotions. It’s about rewriting all your marketing materials for your new target markets.
Transcreation, not translation, is the name of the game.
Keep in mind that the best way to do this is having a marketing team for every market. We know, it sounds expensive. But the truth is that it will help you save hundreds of euros that could be wasted on advertising with very low conversion rates.
Working with a local team will help not only with localization services but to understand the target market. It puts you at an advantage when it comes to speaking the target language natively, website localization, gaining access to local search engines, and building great brand awareness from the very beginning.
Steps for a successful localization marketing strategy
With that said… How can you localize your marketing? Here is a nine-step process that will help you master your global marketing strategy:
- Step #1: Change your creatives to match the needs and interests of each region. Without a doubt, foreign consumers believe a brand cares about them and their needs when it creates specific, customized advertising and marketing campaigns.
- Step #2: Check your product categories. Are your products easy to understand by the new market? Do you need to generate additional information to make it easier for them to understand?
- Step #3: Localize across digital and print. Make sure that your marketing campaign is relevant and useful for your new audience. You must also study what product features need to be highlighted so they resonate with them and give you a competitive advantage.
- Step #4: Localize your website. Local audiences prefer to read (and buy) in their native language. The marketing translation process needs to go beyond landing pages. It should actually cover the entire website. But as this will take some time, and resources, we want to encourage you to start with the most read pages and move forward.
- Step #5: Update your SEO. In the world of SEO, language matters. It needs to be considered slightly differently depending on the languages we use. So make sure to check all your page titles, descriptions, meta tags, headlines, and ALT texts.
- Step #6: Check your social media content. Would something posted for a US market resonate with a Spanish audience? Would the same ads help you reach your local goals? As we said before, you should consider having digital channels for each of the different markets, that way your content will be more aligned with their needs and interests.
- Step #7: Don’t forget about local regulations. Covering as many bases as you can make your local marketing efforts work just that little bit better. So make sure you understand what the regulations are in terms of advertising, data, and personal information use and storage.
- Step #8: Think about your customers. When breaking into foreign markets, it’s essential to put yourself into your customer’s shoes and see things from their point of view. Your marketing materials need to speak to them in the right tone and with the right design. This allows you to cut through the competitors and get those new consumers to pay attention to you.
- Step #9: Take time to study consumer behavior at the local market. Shopping habits are different from country to country. You will find consumers who want information that’s short and straight to the point. Others prefer a softer and more conversational tone. There are those who are used to cold calling and those who will just get scared away. Even payment methods and the way they share reviews can vary are different. Get familiar with your new audience and how they like to get approached. Don’t let your habits get in the way of your successful marketing localization process.
Marketing localization is not an easy process. Clearly, this is not about translating your marketing materials to the language of your new audience. It’s about hitting the nail on the head with new messages aligned to their needs and ways of buying. It’s about standing out from the pack.
You should note that your global marketing efforts will require a lot of time, tools, and commitment. You could say it is as much an art as it is a science. As such, having local marketing teams who can help you plan and execute your marketing within your desired territory is key to success.
Examples of marketing localization in practice
So far this is all theory, but how does marketing localization is applied to real-life advertising?
BMW is one of those brands that have mastered this subject. In the next two ads, you will see how they promote the BMW xDrive system to the United States and German markets. Two different audiences, one same product.
The first ad shown here was created for the German audience. A couple of things stand out at the first glance: language and colors. It’s mostly gray, black, and white. But if you take a closer look you will see that it focuses on informing about the car’s quality, its added value, technology, and performance given a specific amount of snowfall.
The second ad not only is in English as it is targeted at the American audience but it’s filled with light and brightness. The color of the car matches the tones of the sky while it drives you through an open road. The message is directed to enhance the masculine side of driving through winter times.
Both ads have the same car. But the localization process helped make each one of them more appealing to its own local culture.
A few tips to keep in mind when deciding to localize
International marketing is not an easy task, but it is the “go-to strategy” when your goal is to conquer new frontiers. Here is a list of a few things that will help your localization strategy go without a hitch:
- You need to stay true to your core brand identity and ethos. But you also need to make your brand look and feel as if it’s been created specifically for your new ‘home market’, irrespective of their native tongue, culture, or religion.
- Consider launching country-specific social media channels to actively engage with the local community in their own language with their own culture.
- Take time to understand your market and overcome cultural barriers. One great way to do this is through simple market research. It gives you a clear understanding of the purchasing habits of your new target audience.
- Use local experts to translate and adapt your content. They will use a language that feels familiar and local preferences that resonate with your market.
- Do not ignore body language. Signs and gestures have different meanings in different places around the globe. Remember, something that might be considered polite somewhere can be insulting in other places.
Now that we have covered all the basics for localized marketing, there is just one question pending: Are you ready to start? Remember the key to success relies on understanding your new market, working with local teams, and transcreating your content.