Marketing localization in your business (2023 Guide)

localization marketing

Technology has accelerated globalization, allowing organizations to connect with customers across the world with ease. However, it can be tough to know where to start when it comes to implementing a localization marketing strategy.

An older example, but still valid as it shows the importance of marketing localization, was that of Nokia. The company faced a major setback when introducing its Lumia phone in Spanish-speaking regions due to the product's name being colloquially associated with the term "prostitute" in Spanish.

Today you are going to learn exactly how to avoid marketing-localization mistakes and how to implement a localization procedure in your business.

Table of contents

What is localization in marketing?

Simply put, localization in marketing is the process of adapting your marketing material to ensure that it meets the interests and needs of your various target markets.

Working across a global market means you will be interacting with different cultures and customer expectations. Being able to understand their needs will allow you to effectively translate your material and maximize your chances of converting leads into long-term customers.

Why is localization in global marketing important?

Did you know that 50% of online shoppers purchase something from a company that is outside their home country? While globalization is a wonderful way to increase your business, competition is also incredibly tough.

Localization will help to give your brand the edge by ensuring you are reaching customers in their native language. Localization is much more than just translation, though. It is about using the cultural idioms, phrases, and symbolism, helping to increase trust and overall satisfaction.

Process Purpose What is adapted
Marketing Translation Create marketing messages that resonate in other markets Message (copy, text)
Marketing Localization Create experiences that resonate in other markets Message, visuals, UX elements
Localization Marketing Leverage localization for growth through a digital marketing strategy Systems and processes (to support the strategy)

How to implement marketing localization in your business

Now we have answered the question, “what is localization in marketing?” it is time to look at how you can begin to implement it into your business. This can seem a daunting process, but there are several steps to remember:

1. Hire the experts
Working with professionals is one of the most important steps, as they will have a clear idea of your demographics, the language of your target audience, their culture, and the nuances that will make you sound like a local.

2. Localize your website
Alongside your marketing materials, you should also localize your website. Over 75% of the world’s population does not speak English, so failing to optimize your website for non-English speakers will significantly restrict your reach and sales.

3. Humanize your brand
Another vital aspect of your localization marketing strategy should be humanizing your brand. When potential customers see your brand engaging in their language, using cultural elements, popular slang and words in their products and services, they are far more likely to complete their purchase.

4. Use local partners
Influencers now play a major role in marketing campaigns for businesses across almost every industry. However, when it comes to localizing your marketing plan, you should look at the partners you are operating with and adapt accordingly to influencers in the local market.

Potential mistakes to avoid in global marketing localization

Despite its importance, there are many common mistakes that organizations make in their localization strategy, including:

Focusing on a universal approach One of the most common mistakes is adopting a universal approach. Effective localization is not a one-size-fits-all and requires careful tailoring to ensure your brand is reaching the most effective touch points of your target market.

Not localizing every aspect Another common mistake is only localizing certain aspects, such as print advertising. Neglecting certain areas, such as your socials or website, can lead to customers heading elsewhere.

Poor translation Poor translation is another common mistake when it comes to marketing localization. Working with a professional localization partner will ensure that you are not using any embarrassing or incorrect phrasing.

Easily Create Prototypes for Multilingual Interfaces

Exploring successful global marketing campaigns: Examples from known brands

Transcreation is a term used in the advertising and marketing industry to refer to the process of adapting a message from one language and culture to another while maintaining the intended emotion, tone, and context of the original message.

It goes beyond just translation as it involves the creative process of rewriting and adapting the message to fit the cultural and linguistic nuances of the target audience, while still conveying the same meaning and impact as the original message.

Transcreation is especially important for global marketing campaigns, where the same message needs to be conveyed across different languages and cultures. It allows companies to effectively communicate their brand message and values to a global audience, while also respecting the unique cultural differences and nuances of each region.

When done effectively, a global marketing campaign can transform a business and propel them onto success. Some great examples include:

Red Bull One of the leading brands in the world, Red Bull can often feel like a local company. Their support of local sporting events, from F1 to Soapbox races, ensures they are continuously being placed in front of their relevant audience.

Airbnb Since its launch in 2008, Airbnb has grown from its San Francisco base to become one of the most recognized businesses in the world. Its “Made Possible By Hosts” campaign brought the company into the homes of potential customers across the globe.

McDonald’s The iconic golden arches of McDonald’s are recognized across the globe, and its marketing efforts are one of the best examples of localization. While the colors and themes remain similar, the fast food chain focuses on using region-specific menus; for instance, the use of flatbreads in the Middle East or Macaroons in France.

How to measure global marketing efforts

While there can be no denying the benefits that come from marketing localization, it is vital that you are effectively measuring your results.

In order to determine your performance, you should first set yourself some clear goals of what you want to achieve and by when. This will act as your benchmark and will allow you to track whether you are on course to achieve them.

Of course, one of the biggest factors to consider is your ROI.

In this "what is Marketing ROI-guide" you will find more information about how to measure it.

This is a very effective method of understanding the efficiency of your global marketing efforts as there is a clear correlation between your activities and sales. You should also regularly assess your results.

global marketing key performance indicators Source: 20 Marketing KPIs You Need to Be Monitoring

Progress and effectiveness in achieving key business objectives can be measured with the help of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Low-level KPIs focus on processes within departments such as marketing, sales, and HR.

The following global marketing KPIs can be used to assess marketing effectiveness and plan strategies and budgets for upcoming periods:

KPI Purpose
Sales Growth Measures the effectiveness of marketing strategies by looking at how much of the total revenue was influenced by marketing efforts.
Lifetime Value of a Customer Tracks the revenue a business can expect from one customer over a lifespan.
Cost of Customer Acquisition (CAC) Measures the cost of acquiring a new customer.
Customer Retention Measures how many customers continue to use the company's product or service.
Net Promoter Score (NPS) Measures customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Digital Marketing ROI Assesses monthly and annual performance to help plan strategies and budgets for upcoming periods.
Leads Indicates the number of sales opportunities and a better chance of sales growth.
Website Traffic to Website Lead Ratio Measures how many website visitors are converted into leads and indicates the quality of website traffic.
Website Lead to Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) Ratio Indicates the number of total leads generated by the website that are promoted to Marketing Qualified Lead.
Click-Through Rate (CTR) Measures the number of clicks on a link compared to the number of impressions.
Organic Search Traffic Measures the number of people finding the company's website through organic search results.

7 steps for marketers and project managers to effectively localize their marketing content

1. Select your target market: Before starting the process of marketing localization, you need to identify the specific market you want to target. This involves understanding the cultural, linguistic, and other unique factors of the new market.

2. Analyze and adapt your message: Once you have identified your target market, you need to analyze and adapt your message to fit the new market. This may involve changing the tone, language, and even the content of your message to be more relevant and engaging for your new audience.

3. Assemble a team of local translators: To ensure the accuracy and cultural sensitivity of your message, you need to assemble a team of local translators who can translate and localize your content into the native language of your target market. This team should be well-versed in the nuances of the language and culture of the market.

4. Hire a localization expert or project manager: To oversee the entire process of marketing localization, you should hire a localization expert or project manager. This person will be responsible for ensuring that the localization process is executed efficiently and effectively, and that the end result is of high quality.

5. Use a modern localization platform: To streamline your marketing localization efforts, you should use a modern and lightweight translation management system . This platform can help automate routine tasks and provide a single source of truth for all things localization, which allows for efficient collaboration, management, and review of translations.

6. Customize the workflow: By customizing the workflow, you can build a process that works for your team and use a dashboard to maintain it. This can help you achieve consistency in tone of voice and messaging through an updated glossary and translation memory.

7. Take advantage of platform features: To eliminate idle waiting time and streamline your marketing localization efforts, you should take advantage of platform features such as version control, chained tasks, and insights into bottlenecks. This can help you stay on top of your localization project and ensure that it is completed on time and to a high standard.