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 Using outdated tools and processes to manage localization projects costs valuable employee hours as they try to keep track of multiple projects via email or FTP sites.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.


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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

Have You “Cracked the Code” to Going Global?

We are all keenly aware that the global economy is interconnected and dependent on the strengths and weaknesses of the countries that trade with one another. More so, trade and related activities are greatly impacted by government policies. Obviously, during the 2008-2009 financial crisis that affected this country and also shook most of the world, globalization weakened due to significant declines in trade and foreign investments. Beginning in 2010, once global economies began to improve, globalization increased as international trade and investment flows picked up, and since then we’ve seen global organizations continue to expand and benefit from opportunities abroad.crackingcode

However, according to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek, “Why Globalization Is Going Into Reverse,” the globalization upswing has stalled. Based on a study conducted at IESE Business School in Barcelona, the article states that while globalization was picking up momentum following the global financial downturn, the “depth of globalization” slowed down again at the end of 2012. The main culprit? Poor economic and trade policies put into place following the financial crisis.

Even so, we know the potential for increased global revenues still exists, particularly within emerging markets, such as in Brazil and Africa. According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the number of global consumers today is about 2.4 billion people, and MGI projects this figure will nearly double by 2025 to 4.2 billion consumers (out of a global population of 7.9 billion), at which point MGI estimates annual consumption in emerging global markets will increase to $30 trillion, up from $12 trillion in 2010. Clearly, reaching these global markets is critical to drive growth.

In the Bloomberg Businessweek article, the IESE study’s authors argue that globalization would continue to rise “if multinational corporations learned to ‘crack the code for competing in emerging economies’ where growth is strongest.” In other words, companies could increase revenue and further strengthen a growing global economy if they could successfully reach potential consumers in emerging markets. Bingo.

So what is the secret “code” to unlocking global revenue potential? Localization is surely a key element: organizations that develop and implement global business strategies to expedite the delivery of product information, sales materials, customer experiences, marketing content, etc., in a market’s local language, using culturally relevant references and images, are more likely to engage consumers and convert them into customers.

Our customers know the value of localizing materials to reach multilingual audiences, and, prior to using the Cloudwords application, were all too familiar with the challenges traditional approaches to the localization process entailed. Marketing on a global scale requires collaboration among growing numbers of stakeholders, communication among globally-dispersed internal teams and departments as well as outside translation vendors, and seamless management of sky-rocketing amounts of content that is created, stored and delivered in a variety of business applications (Web CMS, marketing automation, etc.) in a plethora of languages. (For more information on this topic, check out this recent blog post on “4 Essentials for Taking Your Content Global.”)

We recognize both the challenges to localization and the benefits of localization, and since Cloudwords’ very inception, we’ve worked to develop a very user-friendly application that takes away the complexities of going global and enables customers to optimize the translation and localization process more easily. By automating the globalization process with the right technology tools, our customers reach global markets up to 60% faster.

Regardless of whether globalization trends are reversing, smart companies recognize potential opportunities for revenue growth still exist in global markets—both emerging and otherwise—and know how to crack the code. Do you?

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