LocWorld Dublin 2014

the cloud blog croppedA couple of weeks ago, I was honored to be invited to join a session on the Cloud, and how it was going to change the face of the localization industry. A message stated often throughout the panel was: “The Cloud – it’s just easy.”  While true in most cases, that really isn’t the main point.

The Cloud has brought many benefits: connecting important value chains, transforming customer relationships, simplifying user experience, and accelerating internal operations. Yes, the cloud application provider can update code fast and frequently, but that’s not what the customer ultimately cares about.

For the localization industry, what customers really care about is this: how can your technology, and more importantly their experience with it, allow them to get better insight into actionable data, reduce manual tasks of their teams, and connect with each other and external constituents better, improve productivity, and ultimately improve their time to revenue and customer satisfaction.

In short, customers care about one thing – SPEED.  Speed to market, speed to revenue, and speed to solving their customers’ challenges.  Speed is the dominant attribute enterprise customers need to fully take advantage of global opportunities—even above cost and quality.  Just ask the team at Cisco – it seems Tim Young has presented on this fact in the last 8 Localization World events.  Cisco doesn’t put the plight of the service provider, translator or even project managers above their ability to serve their customers well worldwide.  So why are we as an industry still talking about these challenges? They are old, boring, and really don’t materially impact the customer buyer’s experience.

I would humbly propose that we focus on the broadest definition of the Cloud – as a technology advancement that allows us to help our customers get to market faster and drive more global growth. Here’s what it’s not:

  •  It doesn’t require Professional Services to benefit from the experience
  • It doesn’t take you weeks/months of configuration to get started
  • You don’t have to get IT involved

What does the Cloud offer?

  •  Immediate utilization, instantly provisioned for your use, without IT involvement
  • Always on, always available
  • Easy access for all stakeholders important to a process
  • On demand insights and analytics
  • Cloud-to-cloud connectivity to other technologies where content is created, stored and delivered
  • Automation of processes and workflows that let customer teams complete their tasks in, at a minimum, 50% less time
  • Makes the purchaser look like a hero internally – because of the improvements to key performance indicators for the company

LocWorld is always great to connect with those people who are truly passionate about localization, translation, and all things global. The cool thing about this recent event is that it indicated the industry will truly begin to embrace the power of Cloud technology and improve the entire experience across the global content supply chain.

We have a unique opportunity as an industry not only to continue growing at exponential rates, but also to make sure we shift the focus to the interests of those who are investing in, and using, our offerings.  It is going to require a bit of a refocus, but I think this first session at LocWorld Dublin was a good start.

Ignorance is Not Bliss: Insight Into Localization Spend is Key to Global Success

A survey conducted by Cloudwords at Content Marketing World 2013 revealed that a whopping 69% of global marketers don’t have any insight into their current translation spend.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 11.20.50 AMThat’s not surprising, considering localization of marketing content is often a highly decentralized process in many global organizations, which creates inefficiencies in both time and money spent on globalization of marketing programs. For example, a corporate team might hold the purse strings, but leave regional teams to manage vendors and translation projects. This structure, or lack thereof, leaves marketers in the dark when it comes to insight into how much they actually spend on localization (including payments to translation vendors as well as employee time spent managing the projects), how efficient their process is when it comes to delivering content to market, and whether multilingual assets, such as translation memory, are being leveraged.

How can companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on localizing marketing content each year (much more for global enterprise organizations, which can reach upwards of tens of millions of dollars), yet have no idea whether they are getting a good return on their investment?

Entering new markets successfully—and maintaining market share in existing markets—requires ongoing analysis of the marketing budget and metrics to know whether you’re spending money wisely to reach the target markets and audiences that matter most to your company, or throwing it away. Analysis of your localization process and spend should be a priority as well. You might be surprised how many global companies are translating content into the top five or 10 languages because they think that’s the best way to reach the most customers. Do they have market share in Brazil? If not, why are they translating into Portuguese?

In addition to better understanding which languages you should be investing in, you need insight into how efficient your localization process is, or isn’t. How long does it take to turn around a simple localization project, such as an email campaign? What about a more complex project, like an entire website? An inefficient localization process significantly impacts your bottom line. Using outdated tools and processes to manage localization projects costs valuable employee hours as they try to keep track of multiple projects via email or FTP sites. Bottlenecks in the process, such as delays in the review phase, reduce productivity, increase project turnaround times, and effect critical go-to-market timelines. A delay in getting content to market to reach target audiences translates into missed revenue opportunities.

To get a better idea of how to measure your localization spend and ROI, we suggest the following metrics:

Spend Metrics:

  • Spend per language
  • Spend by content type
  • Leverage of Translation Memory

Efficiency Metrics:

  • Project completion time
  • Identification of bottlenecks in the localization process

To increase productivity and maximize investments, global marketers need better visibility into their localization process. Cloudwords offers advanced analytics to help you monitor your localization spend, time-to-market efficiencies, and translation memory utilization in real time. You can monitor your translation spend by content source, department, language, vendor and more. As a result, you can better understand your translation process, see the evolution and ROI of your translation memory over time, and track the speed of globalization efforts by market.

Marketo Summit

8 Signs You’re Ready to Adopt a Marketing Globalization Platform

Over the last decade, I have probably had well over 1,000 customer meetings or calls with some of the world’s leading brands and future global brands. Often during these meetings, the enterprise is already running global marketing campaigns to communicate with global prospects and customers, and they want to know: “Why should I start using a Marketing Globalization Platform now?”

Of course, there are many reasons to consider implementing a marketing localization solution – it all ties to your global ambition and global team structure, but here are my top eight signs that your company is ready to graduate to a Marketingmarketing_global_platform Globalization Platform.

Sign #1: Decreased Global Conversions

Dealing with one language isn’t easy, but what happens when you need to support 10 different markets and 20 different languages – the challenges are simply compounded.  Sending out those awesome campaigns in your native language, in my case English, won’t suffice.  If you knew that prospects are 6x more likely to buy if they see those campaigns in “their” native language, would you change your approach?  Well, you now know, so no more excuses!

Sign #2: Inability to Scale Globally

Your company is growing, and global is going to be a large part of that growth, but the manual effort required to deliver quality information to your clients is impossible to scale. Manually pulling reports, copying and pasting, and sending segmented global emails can only work for so long!

Sign #3: High Cost Errors

Due to the increased need for manual effort in scaling the traditional way, you’re constantly worried about the possibility of human error. An understandable mistake could result in a high volume of emails being sent to the wrong people – now multiply that one email campaign by the number of new markets you are targeting and you’ve just lost significant goodwill in that market.  As my mom told me, you only get one chance to make a first impression!

Sign #4: Global Brand Management

You’re concerned about how the Chinese, German or French market will perceive your awesome new product or service, but you lack the controls to make sure you are saying the same thing to each market, and to keep your global brand strong.  It is time to begin to think about creating multilingual glossaries and style guides – two very simple and cost effective approaches to ensuring your teams are communicating the proper message globally.

Sign #5: Increased Competition

Your competitors are using a marketing globalization platform, and are therefore getting to your global prospects before you do. Being late to the party in France, Russia or Thailand is not fun and certainly not profitable.

Sign #6: A Need for Visibility and Control

You are tired of those massive Excel spreadsheets, long email strings and FTP sites (where you’ve forgotten your username/password!) and are demanding more from your internal teams and external translation vendors.  How are you going to compete globally in the 21st century if your team is using last century’s tools!  Time to upgrade!

Sign #7: Global “Marketing at Random”

Global “Marketing at Random” isn’t really a strategy, but you already know that! You’re investing a lot of money on global marketing programs, but you can’t tell what’s working and what’s not. You need a way to map your efforts to pipeline, so that you can maximize your global marketing’s impact.

Sign #8: Not Enough Budget for Global

This ties in with #7, but if your marketing budget is too small, it may be time for automation. It not only helps you do more with your current resources, but if you want to justify a bigger investment in your marketing, you need to be able to demonstrate the impact your marketing already has.

Want to learn more? Download our eBook – Cloudwords Perspectives


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