The number one question we are asked by companies seeking to expand abroad is: how do we develop a coherent, cost-effective global marketingmulticultural strategy that works in today’s multicultural, multi-device world?

In other words, how do we market our brand so that it appeals equally to a Russian and a Brazilian, to a customer with high-speed broadband internet and a customer tapping into a smartphone on a crowded train?

All brands and needs are different, of course, but there are best practices we can follow, and examples which can inspire action.

One such example is Hotels.com, whose multicultural content marketing strategy is ahead of the game, and moving fast. Michael Korkia and Malte Bunjes, Marketing Managers at Hotels.com, recently offered me some valuable insights into the brand’s strategy and successes.

Here are the take-home nuggets of advice; for the full interview please check out our white paper: Content Marketing for Ecommerce Success in a Multicultural World

1. Essential: a properly localized site

According to Korkia and Bujes, a properly localized and optimized website is the first step when entering a new market:

“First we get our product up to speed with a properly localized site. Then we focus on organic search with a variety of SEM tactics.

We view search engines as the equivalent of shelves in the supermarket, so we do our best to get our product displayed prominently before looking at other marketing channels.”

The key, of course, to creating a properly optimized site is to think not about search engines but about your customers’ needs.

2. “Properly localized” means tailored to local languages, cultures and needs

Hotels.com provides more than 85 localized websites in 35 languages around the world. How does the process work?

“When launching a new point of sale, we start with a localized version of the English site. As soon as we see that the market is growing, we invest more in tailoring content to the local language, culture and individual consumer’s needs.

For example, our Russian website used to be a direct localization from English. Over the last few years, we have continuously improved the Russian site with localization and are happy that it now has a really Russian look and feel, which makes it even more relevant to consumers – and therefore more prominent in organic search.”

At EVG, we always emphasize the need to tell real, truthful stories that are relevant to local customers. Make sure your marketing and your product descriptions are clear and sincere.

3. Strategies are based on real data

Website Conversion RateHow does Hotels.com measure the effectiveness of content marketing efforts in different countries and markets? Through rigorous analysis of real, solid data.

“We are a numbers-driven company. We track the performance of every single marketing channel, including offline channels where it’s more challenging to get firm data.

In emerging markets, once our basic marketing channels start performing and we see a positive development, we start optimizing other channels.”

In general, EVG always recommends supplementing quantitative data with qualitative surveys, reports and local insights. This helps create a more complete picture on which to base future strategy.

4. The future is mobile

The growth in mobile and smartphone use in emerging economies is something high on the brand’s list of priorities.

“Mobile is definitely one of the biggest future marketing channels. It is growing very rapidly, not only in new and emerging markets but in established territories.

In Russia, Turkey, the Middle East and South Africa, mobile is particularly important because more people have access to 3G via smartphones and tablets than to regular broadband internet.”

All content strategies should focus on mobile devices, their capabilities and limitations. Want a head start? You can analyze the sites – including mobile sites – of local competitors, figure out what’s wrong and what’s missing, and supplement your own content strategy with info gleaned from there.

We would love to see your comments and questions in the comments section below. 

Eric Ingrand – VP Content Marketing EMEA

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Our partner for the white paper, Axxonn Media, have produced other language versions of the above interview with Hotels.com. Please check out their article in:

 

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