At conferences such as Brand2Global—where I’ll be presenting a panel in October—I’m often asked for advice on marketing businesses internationally. Even hugely successful companies can struggle to break into new markets. They trip up over linguistic and cultural barriers, and sometimes just don’t have the local knowledge they need to market successfully in a different region.
My answer is two-fold. First, always take time to learn about your target market. Make sure you understand their language, culture, interests, purchasing habits, internet and social media usage. Then invest in multicultural content marketing—creating and distributing high-quality content in the local language which is relevant to the target audience.
Here are some best practices for any company considering launching into new and emerging markets:
- Define your goals and targets precisely. Think about your goals in terms of branding and customer service as well as purely commercial targets.
- Develop a style guide for each target language and region. This will keep your brand image consistent when working across borders with multiple partners.
- Localize and transcreate rather than simply translate. What’s the difference? See our previous article on the difference between translation, localization and transcreation. Localization is sensitive to local cultures and values. If you’re tempted by automated translation, don’t be. It will hurt your brand reputation in the long term.
- Use local social media. If people like your message, they’ll spread it through their social networks. Quality content can replace big advertising budgets. Remember, the most popular social media sites among your target population are not necessarily the ones you’re on now.
- Gather focus groups. Listen to what participants say and test their ideas in small areas before rolling them out to the rest of the population.
- Act quickly on insights from website and social media analytics. Website analytics can tell you a lot about how engaging customers are finding your content. However, remember that quantitative data should be supplemented by on-the-ground advice from real people. (Read more about creating a digital analytics measurement plan here.)
- Create a realistic website and social media publishing calendar. This will help you keep content fresh, relevant and timely, and your multilingual presence will grow at a sustainable rate. Include cultural events relevant to the target population.
- Keep campaigns local. If you want to roll out a global campaign, localize the message and validate it with your local team. Trying to impose the same campaign all over the world is a waste of time and resources.
- Identify influential local bloggers. Invite them to an event or offer them a scoop—they can help spread your message more effectively and convincingly than paid media.
- Analyze the results of your marketing efforts, develop new ideas and repeat!
Want more advice?
- Check out our white paper produced in collaboration with Axonn Media: Content Marketing for Digital Success in a Multicultural World.
- Come and join me for a panel discussion on “How do you globalize your content marketing strategy” at Brand2Global in London on Wednesday, October 1st, 2014.
- Contact me at [email protected].
Learn more about multicultural content marketing.
Eric Ingrand – VP Content Marketing EMEA