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The process of localizing your products and services for different countries and regions is critical to realizing the potential value of your target market. Market research company, Common Sense Advisory, has found that among global customers, “75% prefer to buy products in their native language”. North American companies have invested in targeted marketing strategies and expect revenues from foreign operations and sales to steadily increase in the future.
Localization’s Role in Marketing Strategy
When it comes to target markets, there are two elements required for successful communication: understanding exactly who your ideal buyer is, and learning how to reach them. This first part is usually handled by high-level sales and marketing strategists at your company who have thoroughly researched the locations of your target market. There are some important characteristics for deciding the key demographics: buyer’s age, job function, and understanding their biggest professional or personal challenges, etc.
A company must also devise an action plan for reaching their chosen target markets. This is where marketing localization becomes a significant factor. There are a number of elements to consider, such as choosing the best medium to broadcast marketing messages, and deciding what time of day to communicate with the target market. How does your target audience receive information? Via internet? From the radio? Through a mobile device? On printed materials? What are the most visited websites for these customers? The answers to these questions vary from culture to culture, so you need to be sure that your communication method matches the local preferences.
Hastily translating your marketing materials in order to reduce time and costs can be risky. It can lead to serious errors that may hurt your reputation. Consider the famous case of fast food chain, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and its popular slogan, “finger lickin’ good.” In 1987, the company opened its first location in China, but they failed to accurately localize their slogan. Unfortunately, KFC’s mistranslated marketing message implored Chinese customers to “eat your fingers off.”
Localization Provides Access to Target Markets
Localization is a powerful enabling tool that can bring your organization’s marketing or outreach strategy to new levels. Research indicates that over 56% of consumers say that “the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price.”
The modern world of business is no longer limited by geographic or political boundaries. After you have set a target market or ideal buyer persona for your offerings, you can leverage localization as a way to spearhead your marketing efforts in new locations. When properly executed, localization will be integral to your company’s international marketing plan.