10 Steps to Building Localization into Your Global Marketing Automation Program

Marketing automation platforms (MAPs) are a necessity for any B2B or B2C company. A marketing automation tool is software that not only allows you to market via multiple online platforms, it also helps to manage campaigns, nurture leads, track website visitors website and much more. Research suggests B2B marketers have an average 20% increase in sales opportunities from nurtured leads vs. non-nurtured leads after deploying a lead nurturing campaign.

Making sure your content is translated and localized to your target market’s specifications is unfortunately not one of the features MAPs automatically possess. However, building localization into your marketing automation program can be easy if you plan ahead and it is definitely effective for reaching a global audience.

Welocalize’s resident marketing automation expert Lauren Southers guides us through with 10 steps on how to incorporate localization into your global marketing automation program.

  1. Understand the importance of localization. Localization is key for successful global marketing strategies and communications. It’s quite simple, if you are trying to sell something to someone, you have to be able to speak their language. This applies to products, services, ideas and even internal programs. It’s all about personalization. How can you relay a message if you can’t even speak their language? Common Sense Advisory says that customers are six times more likely to buy something in their own language, so to become profitable in local markets, it makes sense to localize.
  2. Be willing to invest the time and resources. Good quality translation and localization are important for protecting your brand and message. It’s essential to commit to a good quality translation program and event better if it integrates with your global marketing automation tools. It is the optimal way to drive the best return on your content marketing investments.
  3. Segment buyer personas. As with language, buyer personas can vary from country-to-country. Sometimes it can vary region-to-region. You must make sure that the research is done into your target markets and you understand all the demographic, sociographic and behavioral characteristics in order to best approach them. Marketing style guides should also change according to buyer personas.
  4. Be aware of salutations and cultural norms. This really does depend on the chosen language and how the communicator, whether sales or marketing, wants to address their clients and prospects. Marketing automation tools should allow you to store salutations in several different languages. For example, we utilize the German Herr and Frau. Both are stored and ready to be used with German, Austrian and Swiss client communications. Graphics should be reviewed, as well as use of language-specific phrases and abbreviations.
  5. Be prepared to restructure your material. Languages are as different from each other as are humans. In some languages, words and sentences could be longer or shorter, or use completely different characters. When localizing, ensure that the content fits well on the page and screen. Don’t be surprised if you have to move things around based on different languages to get the right fit. This can impact some of your predetermined formats and templates.
  6. Make use of your allies – sales people. The sales department and the marketing department should always be collaborating. It requires a constant outreach effort to lessen the gap between the two and learn to work together. One way is to leverage your talented sales resources and their in-market and in-country knowledge and experience.  Let them review translated and localized content before going out to prospects and clients. Sales people know their market, and marketing knows how to speak to them. Global teamwork always pays off.  Did you know that 2/3 of the sale is already done before a sales person even picks up the phone – if marketing have done their job properly?
  7. Send campaigns out at different times to maximize reach. We send our campaigns out according to time zone. Not only does this let us choose the optimum time per country to launch a campaign, this staggered approach ensures that if there are any mistakes in the content we can correct the succeeding emails in the later time zones, minimizing any impact. It’s also a good idea to separate campaigns by language to observe the performance analytics and final return on content.
  8. Memory can improve quality. Translation memory (TM) can help your brand to keep consistent by recognizing specialized vocabulary throughout your content, increasing its quality. TMs also ensure that you are spending less money the more you translate!
  9. Test, test and then test again. As mentioned before, the different characters and lengths of languages can mean that you have to restructure your content. It can most certainly impact the quality of your communications. If you don’t test and test often, your MAP may automatically do it for you, leaving the user-interface skewed. Test, test and test again to make sure that your content fits on the page and on the computer, mobile and tablet screen. Formatting can greatly differ depending on the device used for consumption.
  10. Embrace the future of marketing automation. The future of marketing automation will be about value. MAPs will continue to move in a target-based direction. Budgets and ROI will be tracked and scrutinized as we become more dependent on MAPs to deliver our corporate and branded communications.  We will be able to see the cost of marketing more directly, down to the single click, in every language, across every channel, in all geographies. Monetary targets can be set for each campaign and we will actually know if we have met them in real-time. The cost per lead, click and open can also be set up to monitor performance. This can all translate into revenue, cost-savings and increase market share for your business.  This is a great opportunity to shift your globalization and content marketing programs into revenue recognition activities versus the cost-side of the business.

Sending marketing communications has never been so easy with the growing number of sophisticated MAPs. However, if your brand needs to take that crucial step that guarantees its exposure to the global market, then you will have to put in time and resources into localizing your content and even your systems. Localization should be an integral part in any global marketing automation program, and it is not a difficult task to make sure that it is included, if you follow these 10 recommended steps.

Another important tip is to make sure that you work with an experienced language services provider that can help you by connecting your systems through APIs and integration technology.  This will further automate your translation management and marketing programs.  Welocalize can provide recommendations and demonstrate how we have integrated and connected marketing automation and language translation management systems like GlobalSight for global brands.

If you have questions about how to integrate your MAPs program into your translation and content management programs and processes, please drop us a line.  We can also share our experiences in setting up automation tools to reach a global audience.

Louise Donkor and Lauren Southers, Welocalize Marketing Team