It’s no secret that consumers expect a consistent experience across all your channels. However, what that means for international marketers is often complex. How do you make sure your brand translates not only across channels, but also across regions, borders, traditions and languages?
Smart marketers never assume that what works in their home market will be effective in new locations around the world. So, what’s a good way to make that happen? Crunch the numbers and use the data about local markets as you form your global marketing strategy. For example, people in parts of the developing world may use older versions of browsers or different social channels specific to their markets.
And connecting with those in other countries through a focused strategy pays off. Companies that localized content were twice as likely to increase profit and 1.25 times more likely to show earnings per share growth, according to a Salesforce blog. Localizing a strategy also shows commitment to a specific market as well as company stability.
In a global, omni channel world, consumers are looking for the best experience that is tailored to their market, geography or cultural preferences.
Here’s a short guide to breaking down international barriers in 2015 and using data to create a winning omni channel experience:
- What’s in a name? Everything. Be sure you’re working to translate product names properly (and that might not mean literal translations). It’s important in order to connect with consumers as well as for search.
- Design matters (and also requires translation). Many marketers assume design translates. In the U.S. red is often seen as a high-energy color. In South Africa, it connotes mourning, meaning that a design heavy on red might “play in Peoria but not in Pretoria.”
- Check your specs. Will you need to provide different technical information or modifications for your product across different markets?
- Video may help bridge the gap. This holds true if it’s done with care and planning. Videos increase consumer understanding of your product by 74% and can make people 60% more likely to buy.
- It’s all in moderation. Stay on top of user comments and reviews no matter what the language. And you can’t always automate monitoring. It may be necessary to hire staff to make sure you’re forging the right connections.
- It’s a social world. And there are various sites where people connect in different countries. It’s not all about Facebook, so be sure to include local alternatives. Use geotargeting to pinpoint trends in diverse markets. The buzz in Chicago will be different from what’s hot in Tokyo.
- Support your customers—wherever they are. Good customer service is the first rule of doing business, which may require hiring people versed in the local culture.
- Tracking is essential. Be sure you can follow your customers across channels.
- Centralize your data and use it to draw actionable insights about what is working in each target market and demographic.
- Know the rules. It’s a complex legal and regulatory world. Know what the rules are in every market and keep an eye on changes.
“There are never-ending tradeoffs between creating global efficiencies through a more centralized structure and establishing a local environment that allows for innovation and flexibility,” says Harvard Business School professor David Collis. “These are the cycles and choices that companies go through.”
Smart marketers looking to play on a global scale will use data to better understand their customers and local markets. As products and services increasingly expand globally, it will be important to remain close to customers by connecting with them through the right channels and messaging.