Localization Marketing 101: How to Build a Global Brand
When your business is ready for the next big growth stage, it’s only natural to turn your attention to new markets. Entering different regions can open up massive opportunities, but you will need a strong marketing push to take full advantage. One strategy you might consider is localization marketing.
If you’re new to the global expansion game, localization marketing might be unfamiliar ground. In this post, we’re going to provide a complete introduction — from the terminology to the practical steps of implementing localized marketing campaigns.
What Is Localization Marketing?
When you launch a localized product in a new region, you will obviously want to spread the word. Localization marketing is a type of marketing that focuses on promoting your localized product through localized campaigns. This is in contrast to an overarching marketing strategy that covers every market in which you operate.
Localization marketing can lean on content, social media, affiliate marketing, email, and many other channels. However, these all fit within a localized strategy for each region. How you use content in one area might be completely different from your content marketing efforts in your home country, for example.
Alongside these elements, a localization marketing strategy may benefit from adjustments to your product. Localization itself can be a form of marketing, and it provides the ideal basis for localized marketing campaigns.
Much like any other type of marketing strategy, good localization marketing is based around careful research and creative thinking. You also need to understand your target audience, and create localized content that truly speaks to them.
Marketing Translation and Marketing Localization
It’s important to note that localization marketing is not about translating your current marketing content for a foreign market. That is a separate process known as marketing translation.
Although marketing translation is a very affordable way to improve your reach in other regions, it is generally much less effective overall than a full marketing localization strategy.
Why? Because translation simply makes content understandable. But that doesn’t mean it will necessarily attract your desired audience.
Another term you may encounter is marketing localization. This is different from localization marketing — confusing, we know.
Marketing localization is the process of translating and adapting your existing content to a new region.
Once again, this can provide an affordable stop-gap in your international marketing. But because you’re missing out on the strategic aspect, the return on your investment is likely to be significantly smaller.
5 Reasons to Adopt Localization Marketing
Hopefully, you should now have a clear understanding of what localization marketing is all about. But what benefits can it bring to your business?
By adopting a strategy that places localization as the focus, you’re likely to see improved results, both at local and business levels. Here are some key examples:
Improved Brand Awareness
Before anyone can consider making a purchase with your business, they need to be aware of your brand. To educate a new audience in this way, you will need to create a marketing strategy with significant reach.
In the U.S. or Europe, running some Facebook ads could be a good way to improve brand awareness. But in Nigeria or Argentina, where a smaller fraction of the population uses Facebook, a different approach might make more sense.
Localization marketing comes with this level of flexibility built in. Actually, it allows you to develop an entirely different approach for every region or locale — resulting in improved brand awareness.
Along with improving brand awareness, a finely-tuned localization marketing campaign usually drives much better engagement with your content.
Just as people around the world prefer different channels, they might also search for different terms, share different social posts, and enjoy different types of content.
By prioritizing localization, your marketing team is able to develop the perfect approach for engaging with prospects in each location.
In some cases, potential customers may even approach your brand with a different preconception. The German discount grocery store, Lidl, encountered this phenomenon when trying to build a brand in the U.K.
Initially, locals assumed the low prices equated with poor quality. In response, Lidl’s creative agency, TBWA London, developed a local campaign known as “#LidlSurprises” that showcased the quality and provenance of produce on sale in the stores.
According to most industry experts, the campaign was very successful in turning consumer opinion.
Reduced Barrier to Entry
One of the fundamental reasons to localize your product is that it becomes more accessible to new customers in your target market.
The same goes for marketing. By delivering content that is truly native for your chosen audience, you can reduce the barrier to entry for prospects.
Mobile network operator, Mobily, has seen rapid growth across the Middle East and North Africa, thanks to this approach. When a new customer visits the company website, they encounter content that highlights the best packages for users in that particular region.
Some businesses go one step further, and combine marketing localization with new localized features. Online fashion retailer, ASOS, introduced new region-specific collections and extra payment methods, in order to improve the customer experience for people attracted by its localized promotions and content.
Enhanced Brand Affinity
While global marketing campaigns can be effective, they rarely feel native in every corner of the world. Businesses that concentrate their efforts on a local level tend to see better brand affinity, because their marketing is more relatable for potential customers.
Even if you are going up against another company based in your target region, it’s possible to win over prospects by creating a strong localization marketing strategy.
Faster International Growth
If deployed well, the individual benefits of localization marketing can add up to tangible returns on your balance sheet. In particular, this approach helps to accelerate international growth.
Once again, ASOS provides a shining example. The combined moves made by this online store helped the company to boost international revenue by 158% in a single year, with rapid growth in markets around the world. In just five years, the company went from being UK-centric to generating 61% of sales from other nations.
How to Build an Effective Localization Marketing Strategy
As we have discovered, localization marketing has many potential benefits. However, adopting this strategy won’t instantly unlock rewards.
Localization marketing takes commitment, resources, and some careful planning. If you are considering going down this route, it’s worth taking the time to understand what it involves. Here’s a five-step roadmap:
1) Ask Yourself: Do You Need Localization Marketing?
For any business that operates across borders, applying some localization to marketing is usually a good idea. But localization marketing is something bigger — it’s for companies with a global marketing strategy that want to see better regional results.
Before you commit to localization marketing, ask yourself whether localizing your existing marketing campaigns would be more cost-effective.
As a general rule, the cost-effectiveness of localization marketing scales with business size.
2) Create Teams and Workflows
Should you decide that localization marketing is the way to go, your first action step should be to build region-specific teams or hire local experts.
Creating a bespoke marketing strategy for each local audience is a significant task, so your local teams need to be well staffed.
If you don’t want to create multiple mini marketing departments, you also have the choice of outsourcing. In many cases, hiring local firms will save you money and reduce the risk of investment. However, you should always have an in-house project manager to oversee localization.
It’s possible to standardize this process across all your local teams, but some companies allow working groups to develop their own practices.
3) Analyze Your Target Markets
Effective localization is always based on a strong understanding of your target audience. So, once you have assembled your teams and their respective workflows, the next step is to start analyzing different markets.
This should begin with a breakdown of your own data. What content types and forms of promotion are the most well-received in each region? Which landing pages perform the best in different countries?
Then, you can look at outside data sources. For SEO (search engine optimization) purposes, you need to study what people are searching for in each region. Your team can also look to other companies that have successfully deployed localized campaigns as inspiration.
4) Design Your Localized Marketing Strategies
All the insights you gather should go towards building a solid strategy for every target region.
Some of the points you need to consider include:
- Marketing Channels– Will potential customers respond better to social media posts, SEO content marketing, or SMS marketing?
- Paid Promotion – Where is the best place to spend your advertising dollars, and what kind of messaging is likely to be well received?
- Topics and Trends – What is fashionable or in the news within your target market? What are people talking about on Twitter?
- Resources – How many resources can you commit to your chosen market, and still get a good ROI?
These points should receive equal attention in each regional campaign.
As you start arriving at answers, you may discover some crossover between different regions. In such cases, it’s perfectly fine to combine your efforts. This is where your localization partner comes into play.
5) Partner With a Localization Service Provider
Much of the content you produce for localized campaigns will be conceived and created in the local language. But that doesn’t apply to every part of your brand. From taglines to your logo, there are many other aspects that may need to be optimized for regional audiences.
For this reason, it’s a really good idea to partner up with a localization service provider. These companies can offer translation, transcreation, and can help with localizing your brand. If you choose the right provider, they should be able to handle all of your separate localized campaigns.
Better Localization Marketing With OneSky
If you’re looking for a localization solution that is fast, affordable, and really easy to manage, OneSky is definitely worth your attention.
Our end-to-end platform plugs into your development workflow, meaning you can quickly import and deploy content to your website, app, or game. We have over 1,000 localization experts on call — having worked with brands like Airbnb and Microsoft, they know how to deliver high-quality marketing materials.
Sign up free to take OneSky for a test drive, and discover just how simple localization can be.